Uncertainty during the pandemic can add to everyone’s stress, but we must stay the course and remain positive.
Is this our new “normal”? Is this really it? To me, that definition means we have some ability to predict the future. Before, everything was up in the air. Now, dental practices are open. Schools are learning how to teach online or in person during a pandemic. Businesses are reopening—or unfortunately closing. And basically, people are trying to figure out their next steps.
But Dental Products Report® does not ask me to write articles based on my predictions because I do not have a degree in magic ball forecasting. But I am going to do it anyway.
Below are my predictions for what lies ahead:
I foresee that the medical profession will respect that dental practices are essential. I do not think we have to worry about being shut down again. We have proven that we practice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines quite successfully. I believe this because there are no reports of infection being spread from a dental practice. Additionally, while dentistry is considered one of the professions with the highest risk of contracting and spreading an airborne virus such as the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19), new research published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) finds fewer than 1% of dentists in the US have been infected with COVID-19.1The key though, is to just keep moving forward and to not get lax with following the recommendations. Yes, it is more work, but it’s also keeping our doors open and keeping all of us safe.
I forecast the weather will be a big problem. Here in Ohio, as the weather gets colder, fewer people are journeying outside. They will probably go inside restaurants, health clubs, and shopping malls. This is a big problem. Taking off your mask to eat or drink is putting your family and friends at risk. This is an extremely complicated issue. Restaurants cannot survive on takeout food purchases alone. Expect to see more closures. Whether the governors’ step in or the owners decide to close, it is heartbreaking but probably going to happen.
I speculate that people will take more risks. I am sick of this new normal. I want my life back. When is that going to happen? I know some of us are tired of being home. One woman said she is quarantining in a bubble with her children and grandchildren. Yet, she is on a hiking trip with her girlfriends in California per her Facebook page. Explain that one to me. Does the bubble includes airplane rides? Restaurants? Pictures arm-in-arm with friends? I just don’t get it. I am trying not to be judgmental, but at times it is not easy.
I anticipate people you know may still get coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). More and more people are getting ill in my suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Denial is not working. Some people feel entitled and think this illness will not touch them. Guess again. I am watching entire families come down with COVID-19. One 23-year-old whose entire family is ill said, “…it wasn’t a big deal.” He just has been blessed not to need a hospital or a ventilator for himself or his family. Do we have to wait until our loved one suffers before we wake up and realize how serious this is as a society?
I predict mental health issues will continue increasing at an alarming rate. Some people are struggling right now. Alcohol use is up. Domestic violence is as well. People are losing their jobs. And depression and anxiety coming from this roller coaster of emotions is taking some of us over the edge.
Am I all gloom and doom? Yes and no. Yes, we have a lot of problems now. But do not forget there can be silver linings in nightmares.
For me, those silver linings include the following:
I am closer to the people I love. Things have slowed down, so we now have time to spend on the people who mean the most to us. I now see my son and nephew in New York at our weekly virtual family Sunday dinners. We have had these dinners since I was a child but never included the out-of-town family.
I have prioritized what is important to me. Some of us have helped our communities by sharing personal protective equipment, sharing resources and information, and working as a team because, quite frankly, we must. I do not know about you, but some of my frivolous spending has changed because I am not spending the way I used to. It just is not important to have more stuff. Maybe we are growing up as a society.
I have been forced to change. Many of us hate change. I mean really HATE change. It can be overwhelming. These changes came quickly. Things shut down. I did not know what to do first. But I survived. I learned a lot—I had to. But it is not over yet. Look at the innovative things that have been going on during this pandemic. Entire companies went virtual. The NBA figured out how to have a safe season. School teachers learned how to adjust teaching styles overnight. As stressful as this has been, look at the bigger picture. Some of us have thrived.
As evident, I am not a Pollyanna. I do see the real world—the unemployment, the racial tensions, and the election we may be talking about for the rest of our lives. But I believe that we are learning from this and growing both individually and as a society. My heart goes out to those who have suffered from this illness and to their families. But I must have hope. You must have hope. If you do not believe it is going to get better, then it will not. Believe in change. Believe that things can get better. They will.
So stay the course and follow CDC guidelines. Have a virtual Thanksgiving so that you do not infect your loved ones. And don’t give up hope. If you need help, talk to someone. We are here to help each other get through this.