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28 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 1 Don't Let Your COVID Guard Down To Mask or Not to Mask Has Never Been the Question By Cal Cates best practices | MASSAGE THERAPY AS HEALTH CARE As massage therapists, we have chosen to be a particular kind of human. The kind who puts the safety and health of the people we serve ahead of our own preferences and politics. I recently spent a few days working with palliative care colleagues in the intensive care unit. One patient I was not able to support due to a personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage was a 38-year-old man being treated for COVID. He was vaccinated but had previously undiagnosed health challenges that made him vulnerable to complications. The resources it took to care for him were astounding. He was the only patient on the unit being treated for COVID, but it was not hard to imagine the impossible task of caring for a unit filled with such patients. Sedated, ventilated, clinging to life—every moment a potentially fatal turning point. If you're feeling bored or finding yourself rolling your eyes at "yet another COVID story," snap out of it. COVID is very much alive, and it is still very much our responsibility as people who care for people to . . . care for people. STAY RESILIENT Critical thinking remains key in keeping ourselves and the people we serve as safe as possible, but sometimes it takes some resiliency to think critically. We have to get our heads right. Being mad at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for "constantly changing its mind" or allowing your judgment to be clouded by frustration at the way politics has crept into our understanding of COVID can lead to fatigue that results in straight up negligence. Ruth Werner wrote an excellent piece in July about the Delta variant and why we need to keep our heads in the game and pay attention to infection control measures ("COVID-19's Delta Variant Means Business," available at -posts/covid-19-s-delta-variant- means-business). Read it. I know you're tired. Splash some water on your face, take a deep breath, and read it. Vaccinations are essential and not enough. If you come into contact with a person infected with Delta (and you probably won't know when you do), you are at risk even if you are vaccinated, and so are the people you're touching. DENIS JUNG/UNSPL ASH.COM

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