The dangers of eating ice cream

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) recently published a COVID-19 risk scale ranking entitled, “Be Informed: Know Your Risk During COVID-19.” The ranking of certain behaviours on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 representing the lowest risk and 10 the highest) was determined by physicians from the TMA COVID-19 Task Force and the TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases. Going camping ranks as a 2 out of 10. Playing golf is a 3 out of 10. Going to a beach sits at 5. Going to a hair salon or barbershop is a 7. Eating at a buffet is considered an 8. Going to a bar or a religious service with over 500 worshippers is a 9.

Interesting times, indeed! Pre-COVID, I certainly never thought getting my hair cut posed a particular threat. But here we are. (Sidenote: I now have a family member cut my hair – and you can tell!)

One of the challenges that we face is that we, as individuals, have different rankings depending upon the event and circumstances. And that our ranking sometimes shifts and changes! For instance, you might generally agree that having dinner at “someone else’s house” carries a degree of risk (say, a 5). But, does your scale change if you “know them” or “trust them”? Does your scale of risk then drop to a 3, without any guarantee where the people at “someone else’s house” have previously been or who else they have been around? If they’re not in your present “social bubble,” you simply have no idea, yet you are now operating on a “sliding scale” that depends upon your whims, preferences, compromises and unknowns. That’s risky. And, by the way, your sliding scale of risk now increases my risk factor if I am to come in contact with you.

So, how do we decide what scale we should abide by? One thing is for certain: NOT your own.

I have noticed that many people begin a lot of their sentences these days with the pronoun “I.” For example, “I don’t believe…”, “I think that…”, “I don’t want to do that.” Now, that is the problem. This entire COVID-19 situation is not about what “I” think. And, in many cases it is not for me or you to carry on our lives based upon our own fluctuating personal risk ranking scale. COVID-19 is about other people. It’s about those who are immune compromised. Seniors. Front-line workers. Health care professionals.

In this case, the “I’s” don’t get to decide to do what the “I’s” want to do. It’s necessary that the “I’s” do what is in the best interest of the “we.” For the community. Our community.

Simply put, medical professionals get to decide the scale. And, we need to respect that scale and act accordingly.

So, sure, have your ice cream. But it would be best if you ate it at home (0 out of 10 risk) or on a restaurant’s outdoor patio (4 out of 10), but not in a movie theatre (8 out of 10), please.

Be a “we” person. Not an “I” person.

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