Top 5 social symbols in the time of COVID

OUR use of social symbols is adaptive; this means that humans can learn to associate new symbols to an idea or new world views with a symbol. Humans, knowingly and subconsciously, are always struggling to make sense of their surrounding world. Social Symbols --- such as actions, ciphers, objects, signals and words --- help people understand that world. They provide clues to understanding experiences by assigning familiar meanings that are shared by our communities.

In our desire to cope with this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the emergence of “new social symbols” in our transition towards our “new normal”.  Everyone must prepare to succeed in the “new normal” and need to focus on what has changed and what remains basically the same for their personal and professional lives. The result will be an environment that, while different from the past, is no less rich in possibilities for those who are prepared to change. Here are the TOP 5 Social Symbols evident around us today:

FACE MASK AND SHIELD: Besides the President invoking public safety in the stricter implementation of the protocols, stressing the need for every individual to wear a facemask as protection against the disease (cf. DILG Circular No. 2020-071); a study by a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor has found that not wearing a face mask severely escalates a person's chances of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. Mario Molina, a professor at the University of California-San Diego and a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, explains “our study establishes very clearly that using a face mask is not only useful to prevent infected coughing droplets from reaching uninfected persons, but is also crucial for these uninfected persons to avoid breathing the minute atmospheric particles (aerosols) that infected people emit when talking and that can remain in the atmosphere tens of minutes and can travel tens of feet”. Face Masks Save Lives; Wear One Always!

LINES AND ARROWS: Directional arrows and markers/cues for proper social distancing now characterize public places.  By now, you've probably heard that to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, people need to adopt social distancing measures — including remaining at least 6 feet (about 1.8 meters) apart from anyone we meet outside our homes. The purpose we need to preserve this kind of space from each other at all is because of how easily COVID-19 spreads between people. It can theoretically remain viable in aerosols for 3 hours, can be transmitted through contaminated surfaces, and it easily spreads through coughing and sneezing. The 6 feet of distance is designed to put up a barrier to the aerosolized and droplet methods of diffusion. These LINES and ARROWS will help maintain a safe distance between each other and will aid in avoiding large crowds in order to avoid the possibility of being infected by asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

PLASTIC AND ACRYLIC BARRIERS: Sec. Lopez citing a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) survey conducted from June 4 to 17 of this year said that out of the 2,135 companies surveyed, 25.9% have closed operations (including temporary shutdown), 52% are in partial operation, and 22.1% are in full operation.  Seeing therefore PLASTIC AND ACRYLIC Barriers are symbols of adjustments done by business and transport enterprises to slowly modify to our “new normal” and to resuscitate their business. Physical barriers like acrylic or plastic partitions are thought to provide some partial safety for individuals sharing the same space, first by averting people from getting too close and also by preventing particles or droplets respired by one person from entering the breathing zone of another. If a physical barrier is being used in lieu of a mask for close interfaces, then it is necessary that the partition has been designed with wide margins to ensure that the breathing zones of both seated/standing users is safeguarded. Even when designed properly, physical barriers must still be used in conjunction with other critical infection prevention and control measures, including environmental cleaning, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and wearing of facemasks. Business establishments should likewise look for local health guidelines to understand how partitions fit into their overall infection deterrence and control strategy.

FOOD SUPPLEMENTS: In a research carried out by Adrian Gombart of Oregon State University‘s (OSU) Linus Pauling Institute and collaborators at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the University of Otago (New Zealand) and University Medical Center  (The Netherlands). Findings have been published in the journal Nutrients which stipulates that Dietary supplements containing micronutrients and vitamins C and D are a safe, low-cost, and effective way of helping the immune system fight off COVID-19 other acute respiratory tract diseases. When vitamins (most especially Vitamin C) became scarce at the local pharmacy due to high demand amid COVID-19; people started using herbal supplements, which means the “new normal” will include such food supplements to help boost the immune system.  Personally, I tried Ampalaya plus and Guyamax (produced by the Nattural Quality Corporation) & Curcumin, Piperine, Duhat and Malunggay (produced by the GlobaLeader Inc.), all of which greatly improved my overall health and wellness. Vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, are critical for immune function.

And finally, ROSARY AND BIBLE: Based on the results of the nationwide Veritas Truth Survey (VTS), 89% of those who participated in the text and online survey conducted from June 20 to July 10 believe that faith is “very important” in battling the health crisis. “Most of the respondents believe that God is much bigger than this Covid-19 health crisis. They believe that God can surmount all. He is intimately involved in every part of our lives and is concerned with our afflictions. He will never forsake or overlook us,” said Fr. Anton Pascual, Radio Veritas president. To fight an “invisible enemy” brings a lot of anxiety and fear. Leaving the safety of our homes will definitely take a lot of courage for most of us.  In so doing, we will muster all the strength needed through the “gift of faith” --- ROSARY & BIBLE.  “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

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