Ruta Tangiiau Mavé : Sustaining a new normal

Monday April 27, 2020 Published in Editorials
Pepper represents germs sticking to finger without soap. 20022402 Pepper represents germs sticking to finger without soap. 20022402

OPINION: It's not the end of the world as we know it, sings REM, and I feel fine. When all this is over, we can all go back to normal – in fact, most of us want to go back to normal as soon as possible.

The reality is what we thought was normal, back in January after the New Year’s Day storm, was not working for the world.  And part of the reason we are now facing lockdowns and dramatic life changes and health challenges, is because the world as we knew it was not working. 

The second reality we need to start accepting is, with or without a vaccine, Covid-19 is not going to go away. But we can easily increase our ability to stay virus-free by continuing on the new ways of health and social distancing we have put in place now.

By maintaining good hygiene practices of washing hands with soap after handling all manner of dirty things at home and work, by avoiding people with sickness, and by keeping away from friends and family when sickness symptoms occur, we can do a lot to all keep safer. 

For a good visual example of how soap works, fill a bowl with water and shake black pepper onto the top. Put your finger in and you will see the pepper stick to it, like bugs would.  Now on another finger put a drop of liquid soap and put it in the water: you will see the pepper move away from the soapy finger immediately. 

This is great for children to understand how important washing hands with soap is. Vaccinations have not eliminated diseases but they have protected the more vulnerable. 

The SARS outbreak was 17 years ago and they still don’t have a vaccine for it. Every winter thousands of people have a flu vaccination, and some still suffer from the flu – it’s a calculated risk.

Others never have the vaccination and never get the flu. 

Going to the bank and Vodafone last week, I found myself in a spacious line, no pushing or cutting in, clear plastic hung between myself, the teller and help desk.

It was comforting to know there was a barrier there, that we would not be infecting each other if one happened to cough or sneeze.   Watch a slow-motion video of someone coughing or sneezing and you will see the droplets fly a good two metres away and land on everything around.

These are some of the changes we need to maintain in the new normal: cleanliness, good hygiene, safe, preventive practices, in our everyday lives.

It’s been known for years that phones, keyboards, and handles carry germs. There are people like in the movie Nim’s Island obsessed with hygiene, ordering sanitiser by the case.

Interestingly, this character transits in Rarotonga and hires a guide, portrayed by an Aboriginal actor – not normal, but what’s normal?

Leave a comment