COVID-19 is forcing a new level of personal responsibility

HAND-WASH STATION: Emma Salanatin takes advantage of a hand-washing station at the entrance to the Cost-U-Less in Tamuning to help avoid getting the virus that causes COVID-19. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

If there’s any lesson to be learned from the global pandemic it is the responsibility we have for others.

Perhaps now, more than ever, as the restrictions that were originally placed for all of our protection are being lifted, and have more freedom to move about our daily business, there’s an added emphasis on our actions and how it impacts others.

These days, whenever you go out into a public place, you wear a mask. That mask doesn’t protect you from the virus but it will protect others from whatever germs or virus you may be carrying, unknowingly. It’s an extension of practicing good hygiene - which ensures that whatever germs you’ve picked up aren't spread to others.

We should all be as thoughtful about other actions we take - keeping in mind that everything from washing our hands to covering our mouths when we sneeze or cough - is all aimed to protect those we love and others in our community.

A look at the Department of Public Health and Social Services website, nearly 190 of the more than 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Guam were spread through household, health care or community contact.

Whether you believe government officials are handling this situation correctly or not there’s no getting out of the fact that we each have a responsibility to do the right thing. We, as a community, need to trust that we’re all doing what we can.

And yes, most of us have probably forgotten our masks as we rush to get into the store. But we’ve all made the mad dash back to the car to grab the mask - it’s not just an attempt to follow the rules, we’re also showing each other respect and common courtesy.

We are, in essence, saying we care about each other and we’re willing to take these steps to ensure you feel safe when you go out into our island community.

There are stores that have set up sinks near their front entrance. Let’s use those sinks and show our respect to the store owners and friends who are also at the store buying essentials for themselves and their families.

Can you imagine how much anxiety would be lifted if we all did our part?

There are people who’ve stayed away from family and other gatherings because they don’t know where people have been and whether they’ve been responsible.

There are parents who have expressed serious reservations about sending their children to school because they don’t know what their children could be exposed to in a setting that is out of their control.

There are many things about this virus and this pandemic we, as individuals, can’t control. But we can ensure we have spare masks and hand sanitizers in the car, in our bags. We can teach our children to wash their hands after using the restroom, and use the sinks in front of stores. Show that respect.

We can ensure that our elderly are provided safe and healthy environments, and if they need to go somewhere, let’s make sure they understand how social distancing works.

There’s a level of responsibility we’ve never really had to think about before. This moment we’re living in now, however, is calling for it. And we all need to do our part and step up - not just for ourselves for for all our sakes.

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