Responding to

What we hope ever to do with ease,
we must learn first to do with diligence."

Dr. Samuel Johnson
The easing of restrictions has meant that people are slowly coming out of their homes, venturing more and more into public spaces and attempting to engage in their pre-pandemic activities. It's seductive to think that things are "returning to normal." But it's a seduction borne of hope and not of fact.

The fact is that we are still in a high state of risk. Worldwide, more than nine million people have been infected with COVID-19 and nearly half-a-million have died. While most people recover, the disease is still an unpleasant one with potentially devastating and long-lasting effects.

Here at home, however, things remain relatively positive. As reported over the weekend in the Santa Fe New Mexican , New Mexico's current transmission rate, the rate at which the virus is being spread, is 0.93. An infection rate below 1.0 means the rate of spread is actually decreasing. But, as Human Services Secretary David Scrase pointed out, a downward trend does not reflect a change in the virus itself but of the precautions people are taking, such as wearing masks and social distancing. “There’s this general belief amongst the people in New Mexico that things are getting better and now we can all get back to work. The virus is going to be the same and we’re gonna be just as susceptible to it until we’re all vaccinated. Remember that, please.”
Since the data seemed to indicate that it was relatively safe to head out, I did a little shopping over the weekend. This was my first real foray into public in more than three months.

I was a bit dismayed at the number of people I saw in the single store I visited who weren't wearing face masks and seemed oblivious to any expectation of social distancing. While I realize the weekend is typically the worst time to go shopping, it nevertheless pointed out that a lot of us are slipping into the complacency that will inevitably lead to future spikes in infection.

Things in Santa Fe are pretty good, especially compared with the rest of the country. But the only way they're going to stay that way is if we all remain diligent and avoid being seduced into complacency.

All it takes is some simple steps. This NPR article talks about the effectiveness of wearing face masks and compares a number of studies on the subject. One meta-analysis that looked at more than 170 studies, found that mask wearing significantly reduced the risk of transmission of COVID-19, SARS and MERS. A recent modeling study concluded that if the majority of a population wore face masks in public, even homemade ones, transmission of the coronavirus could be dramatically reduced.

If you need some guidance on how to best wear a face mask, this article from New York-Presbyterian may offer some useful information .

The experts all seem to agree that it's going to be a while before there's a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Even with promising initial vaccine development studies occasionally being reported in the news, it'll be a long time before production, distribution and vaccination can occur on a large enough scale that we can begin to breathe a sigh of relief.

That's why diligence remains our best bet.

To keep yourself, your family, your friends, and all of the Kitchen Angels family safe, follow the science. To do otherwise is a huge gamble.

To each Kitchen Angels volunteer, thank you.

In gratitude,
Thank you for your vigilance. We want you to stay safe, healthy and informed.
Here's a handy article that offers some guidelines on everything from having repairs done in your home, to proper bathroom hygiene, to visiting salons for manicures, pedicures and massages, to spraying yourself with disinfectant (the short answer is don't).
If you want to return to volunteering . . .

. . . please first ask yourself if you are willing to adhere to our required social distancing protocols throughout all parts of your day, and not just while at Kitchen Angels.

In particular: 
  1. Am I able to work a full shift wearing a face mask?
  2. Can I hear well enough from six-feet away if the other person is speaking through a face mask?
  3. Am I willing to work a different shift than the one I previously worked?
  4. Can I commit to showing up to my shift on-time and without canceling at the last minute?
  5. Can I adapt to a new environment and new routine?
  6. Can I reliably communicate with the Volunteer Coordinator?
  7. Do I feel safe being back in the public sphere?

If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, you're not ready to return.