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Saturday, 4 April 2020

What’s your Social Distancing Score?

Like many people, I’ve had a little extra time lately and I came to wonder if I am doing enough social distancing to help curb the spread of Coronavirus.

I thought I was doing pretty well. I made my own hand sanitizer before our president even addressed the nation for the first time. My husband and I avoided contact for a week before he moved out to care for his mother, who is a primary target for Covid-19, having reduced lung function due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. We shopped for essentials, and tried not to overdo it. I hand sanitized and washed hands multiple times a day. I continued to go to work in line with policy and observing hygiene protocols. Then I chatted to a friend.

He has been self-isolating too. He had made an online grocery order and had it delivered. He had avoided contact with the courier and sanitized after the delivery. He had sanitized all items delivered before putting them away. I realized that I hadn’t actually been doing that well after all.

I then remembered listening to the audio book of The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. While I am no expert at the Four disciplines, I remembered the principle of Lead measures and Lag measure in the execution of any goal.

I realized that a many of us are focused on the lag measures (the statistics that are spread on every news channel and social media network) and while we are given lead measures by governments who are scrambling to implement the advice of the World Health Organization while trying to save their countries’ economies, we aren’t even sure how well we as individuals are doing in the fight to slow the spread of the virus.

I figured that we need a scorecard to measure ourselves, to quantify how we are performing on a day to day basis. This scorecard is another concept from The Four Disciplines of Execution where they talk about creating a compelling scoreboard.

Since there is a limitation on testing available in different countries and often testing is done once symptoms show, we must assume that any point of contact is an opportunity for the virus to spread. Our aim must be to minimize points of contact. So we score ourselves according to how many points of contact we expose ourselves to on a daily basis and how long we can maintain below a certain threshold (ideally zero, but practically probably somewhere low but positive none the less). I have come up with the table of scoring through extremely rough estimates. Anyone who decides to use this can adjust it accordingly as it’s a tool for you to use to evaluate yourself. This also applies to family units or groups of people who isolate together. Each person who accumulates points affects the score of the whole group since the whole group will be affected.

Start each day at Zero.
Full Quarantine = 0 (Absolutely zero external contact)
Receive a delivery = +10
Sanitize each item delivered = -5
Leave the house = +10
Every person whose 2 meter space you enter = +1
Go to work = 50 + number of people who also attended work.
Sanitize work space = -25
Visit a hospital = +400
Go to a Pharmacy = +300
Go to Gym = +300
Go to a store = +200 (Adjust for how large the store is/how well they are sanitizing)
Sanitize on entering the store = -10
Sanitize when leaving the store = -20
Sanitize when getting home = -5
Sanitize each item purchased when getting home= -10
Wipe down surfaces at home = - 10
Every time you touch something that someone else has touched = +2
Sanitize immediately after touching it = -1
Cough/Sneeze without cover/on hand = +20
Cough/Sneeze into shoulder/elbow = +10
Cough/Sneeze into face mask = +5

I’m sure many people think they are doing their bit in this fight, as I did, and are simply not aware of the extent to which we need to be going. I hope this tool will help.

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