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Health scientists weigh in on when they will return to everyday activities

The New York Times polled more than 500 epidemiologists about when they plan return to a number of activities that would be considered normal prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s important to know the results of the NYT poll are not guidelines but personal decisions from participants.

And that’s the point: Everyone, even experts, are forced to make their own decisions about what risks to take.

It’s a new reality. Every day, we all consider the risk we are willing to take.

“You know what? It’s like a weird courtesy thing like in my mind,” said. “I’m still not shaking hands, and yesterday somebody put their hand out, and I shook their hand.”

“We go to the Gulf Coast; everyone walks up and grabs you and hugs on you,” said. “And you’re like, ‘Whoa.’”

The NYT asked epidemiologists, professionals who study diseases in populations, about what they’re comfortable with in their own lives during the pandemic.

“You know, really, it’s kind of strange because you don’t know whether they want you to respect their space,” said.

Their opinions, not guidelines, highlight a public situation with very personal choices.

Some of the experts said, this summer, they might bring in the mail as normal, book regular doctor appointments, vacation nearby or get a haircut.

And what some of our Twitter followers said they plan to do sooner rather than later is take a staycation.

“I could really use a vacation right now,” said Bill Reynolds in Fort Myers. “It may be a house that I could rent and be in control of the cleanliness.”

“Our daughter-in-law is tired of not having family over, so they want us to come,” said Debbie Trefry in Lee County.

Southwest Florida also wants to hit the gym. But community members might wait on playdates and weddings, and that is in line with what the epidemiologist answered too.

“I really can’t say how long,” Reynold said. “With that kind of crowd, I’m still not comfortable with probably.”

Many of the epidemiologists said they’re waiting a year or more for concerts, plays and handshakes.

“I’ll probably go right to the hand sanitizer afterward,” Reynolds said.

The polls on our social media pages are still active on Facebook and Twitter. Weigh on the polls if you haven’t already!

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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