Let’s keep up washing our hands frequently!

It’s uncertain how long we will endure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As more testing is done, the more that epidemiologists can learn about this coronavirus, and how we should deal with future outbreaks. 

There are five things trends I’d like to see continue when we put COVID-19 in the rearview. 

1. Frequent Handwashing and Covering Coughs

Seriously people, did it have to take a pandemic for us to recognize we need to do this? As more people took this recommendation to heart, several places saw a drop in influenza cases: surprise, surprise. 

A YouGov poll in January showed 40 percent of Americans didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom.

Gross. An AP-NORC poll in March showed 90 percent of Americans increased how much they washed their hands in response to COVID-19. 

And people not covering their cough (with their elbow or sleeve, not hand) is rude. Nobody wants their germs. Also nasty. If more people do this, consider it a silver lining. 

Let’s keep it up. 

2. Stay Home When You Are Sick

Can we make this a regular thing? I recognize some people have employers who must want to encourage the spread of illness in their workplaces through policies that encourage people to come into work while sick. Lower-income employees disproportionately lack this benefit

That should change, but not by government compulsion. I hope that this pandemic will help employers to recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce.

We should do this as much as we can (when truly sick, don’t play hookey). 

3. Working From Home

I hope that many employers will learn that, “hey, my employees can be productive when working from home.” Also, if somebody is sick and contagious, but still able to work, that means employers have the benefit of their work, and the employees receive the benefit of avoiding their germs. 

Also, working from home helps families with young children save on child care. Telecommuting can save money spent on larger office buildings, etc.

Glassdoor found three out of five employees believe they can efficiently do their job remotely. Also, 71 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 feel the same.  

Yes, I recognize that not everyone can telecommute, and not everyone wants to, but there are a lot of people who can and would if it were an opportunity. 

4. Homeschooling

We are all homeschoolers now. I hope that many parents who have school-aged children at home will find that while challenging, perhaps homeschooling is something they can do.

I suspect that we will see the ranks of homeschoolers grow as schools open back up. I’m also confident that Drew Barrymore and Kate Middleton will not be among them. 

At the very least, I hope this experience gives Americans newfound respect for those who homeschooled before and will continue to homeschool after the pandemic.

5. Virtual Ministry

While livestreaming will never replace worshipping corporately with your church in person, I think churches improving their virtual outreach is a good thing.

For members of your congregation who are sick, traveling, or who are shut-ins, livestreaming your service allows them to stay connected when they can’t be there. 

Connecting on FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Zoom allow us to stay connected throughout the week as well. No, it doesn’t replace face to face fellowship, but it can be a great supplement to check in and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

What would you like to stick around after we get through this pandemic? 

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  1. Because all of us been significantly impacted in multiple ways by this world crisis, I hope we can continue to look at and appreciate each person as a fellow vulnerable member of our human group…valuable individuals with unique gifts, perspectives and needs to consider. I hope we can continue to find ways to bless others, like the little girls in our neighborhood who chalk cheery messages on the bike path and leave painted rocks to be discovered along the way. Like Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.”

  2. People praying. No professional sports. Cancelled church meetings of only peripheral importance. Jimmy Fallon broadcasting from home and collecting for charities. Everyday heroism. Reading books.

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