For all the advice that is available from public health authorities about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it still seems like we’re on our own out here in the real world.
Do you wear a mask or not? All the time or only indoors around other people? If so, how many people? Is there a difference between slipping into the drugstore to pick up a prescription and spending a longer period of time at Costco?
And what are you supposed to do about anything you bring home from a store? Wipe it all down with disinfectant before using it or just leave it be? I find the advice on this one to be particularly fuzzy.
And then there’s one of my favourite subjects — newspapers. Is it safe to pull a newspaper out of your post office box or mailbox and immediately begin reading it, or is that old-fashioned yet still wonderful means of information dissemination teeming with COVID-19 germs?
The safest thing, I suppose, would be to ditch the paper all together and just get your news online.
However, I’m a sucker for the rather quaint idea of letting a team of professional journalists sift through current events and curate a package of information that I can then digest on my own time.
Of course, these organized packets of information — what used to be called newspaper pages — can now also be read digitally on a smartphone or tablet.
However, there’s something about folding out a newspaper, grabbing hold of the edges and getting down to the serious business of “reading the news” that I’m still not ready to abandon.
This explains why I still have the Globe and Mail delivered daily to my home. I’ve worked in newspapers my entire career, have read newspapers even longer and am not about to give up my love affair with them.
But can the relationship survive in this age of virus avoidance? Am I allowing disease into my “COVID bubble” simply because I still like to read a newspaper?
Again, there is very little advice out there on what to do.
I know a guy who actually lets his Western Producer sit in a basket for five days until he considers it safe to touch.
I’m not willing to go quite that far. I read it, recycle it and wash my hands.
For me, it’s an acceptable level of risk if it means staying in love with newspapers.