The Eight Day Formula: Visiting Family During a Pandemic

Lately, Liz and I have been discussing what it would mean to visit family. More than just a drive by, we were trying to figure out what criteria we would want, before we felt it was safe to meet or visit or stay with friends/family.

We’ve circled around the idea of eight days, as our marker. Let me explain what that means.

Curbside pickup? Doesn’t count. Delivery of food, doesn’t count. Going in to any kind of store, for any reason, counts. Going into someone else’s house, counts.

Our eight day rule is that if it’s been eight days since the last time anyone in the house went into a store or another person’s house… we would be comfortable coming over to visit. And to even stay.

I’ve gone back and forth a lot, on this topic. 14 days feels an unreasonable thing to ask, despite the fact that this would be the surest limit to know that anyone we’d be seeing would be free of Coronavirus.

I lean a bit towards ten days. But eight days feels reasonable.

The hard part for me is squaring the desire to see people, against what I think is the safest course of action. Nothing has really changed in the world. I guess folks in general are being more cautious, generally wearing masks and washing their hands.

What I can’t tell: whether my brain is being pragmatic or paranoid. Is this eight day rule something that can keep us safe? Or is the eight day rule something I’m willing to adopt/accept, despite the risks, because I’m getting tired of being in quarantine?

With the weather improving and the public’s tolerance for quarantine slowly ebbing… does this eight day rule seem reasonable? Or are we just succumbing to quarantine fatigue, and willing to “bend the rules” because things have gotten uncomfortable/unpleasant.

The latest articles I’ve read suggest that it’s extended time in close quarters that poses a higher risk. And that grocery store or hardware store runs are less risky, given the larger space and amount of time spent in proximity to others.

The eight day rule feels safe. But I honestly can’t tell if it actually is safe, or if I just want it to feel safe.

[photo via ThisisEngineering RAEng]

Related:
Anxiety in the Time of Coronavirus

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