I was just getting to work when I received a text from one of my chiefs, “can you call me?”. Not usually the start of a conversation you want to have. A person I had been exposed to had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and they suggested I put a facemask on and head home to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Walking to my car, I realized I couldn’t stop at a friend’s apartment or my parent’s house for coffee or to decompress. The social distance hit me.
At home we had already been staying in, washing our hands, and seeing the “flatten the curve” graphs floating around twitter and online. But going to work still provided a sense of normalcy, and my social distancing felt more like a choice than an obligation. Over the next few days, keeping in touch with friends, family, and co-workers via iMessage, Whatsapp, or Zoom really helped close that social gap I felt as I was driving home. Keeping my social distance from others has given me a new found respect for what our global community is really doing to fight this thing.
This past week I’ve been amazed not only at how empty the roads have been, but by how many more people I’ve seen out walking their dogs, jogging, or riding bicycles. When I get back into the clinic, I’m looking forward to talking to patients about how they’re incorporating physical activity among the other AHA Life’s Simple 7 lifestyle changes into their new routines . Unfortunately, in many places around the world curves aren’t flattening yet. All the more reason to stay home and give our healthcare workers and their patients a fighting chance.
- Attribution: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Covid-19-curves-graphic-social-v3.gif
- The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7” cardiovascular health risk factors that people can improve though lifestyle changes https://www.heart.org/en/professional/workplace-health/lifes-simple-7
“The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.”
William Aitken is an internal medicine resident at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. He is a member of the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. You can find him on twitter: @williamaitken