It’s never too late to stop the virus spread even if cases are surging and the authorities are helpless and/or incompetent. Hospital ICU bed capacity is nearing 100% in Lebanon as PCR testing sites are getting crowded, and numbers are expected to soar in the coming two weeks following the holiday break.

Still, this doesn’t mean that people should just accept the fact that everyone is going to get it and move on with their lives, because they’re putting themselves at risk and more importantly, endangering vulnerable people around them.

Having said that, and given what we’ve witnessed in the last week from parties/house parties/gatherings etc, here are five scenarios you MUST avoid starting today, whether there’s a lockdown or not:

– NO MORE GATHERINGS: Whether it’s indoor, outdoor, at your parents’ place, in a chalet up in the mountains, stop hosting or attending gatherings and stay home. I don’t care if everyone tested negative, this is not a reason to organize gatherings in such times, as one weak link or one false PCR could get everyone infected.

– NO FAMILY VISITS: Skip Sunday lunches and weekend family visits for your own sake and your family’s sake. “We’re not going anywhere”, “We want our kids to see their grandchildren”, “we are being careful”, “We are doing PCRs every week” are all failed arguments. Just stay home!

– NO OUTINGS: We don’t have that many public parks in Lebanon to begin with, so outings mean walking around crowded malls or squares or streets and this is also a bad idea. The best option is to go on a mountain hike or a simple walk in a remote area.

– POSITIVE Doesn’t Mean IMMUNE: If you got infected and recovered, this doesn’t mean that you’re immune or cannot contract the virus again. More importantly, this doesn’t mean that you can move on with your life as if there’s no pandemic. Be responsible towards others and yourself and stick to the guidelines.

– NO PLAYDATES: We still don’t know much about COVID-19 effects on children, and how children are helping spread the virus, which is why playdates are not recommended at all. If your kids are not getting sick, it doesn’t mean they’re not passing the virus to other kids and their parents.

Overall, no one is immune to this virus, and even if the majority are recovering and only showing mild symptoms, the real problem remains hospital capacity and endangering vulnerable people. What happened during Christmas and New Year’s Eve was scandalous and outrageous, but there’s no coming back now to fix this, but as mentioned earlier, it’s never too late to stop the spread.

Stay home, stay distant and stay safe until vaccination starts and cases start to drop.