Covid Points

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I walked in the door, arms laden with bags from my shopping excursion. 

“Ugh! I had to go to three stores. I have definitely used all my Covid points for the day!” I announced.

What are Covid points you ask? Well, I’m not sure how it first started, but we’ve fallen into the habit of planning and considering our potential outings (and exposure risk) in terms of Covid points, and we’ve placed ourselves on a sort of  budget. The higher the potential exposure risk, the higher the number of points spent. Our goal is to use a minimal amount of points, ideally zero. Covid points have quickly become a part of the household’s vernacular and part of our mental calculations as we plan our day. 

Determining the Covid price tag for each experience is a partially subjective process. You need to consider current guidelines and science, look at the risks, the benefits, your individual situation (physical and mental) and decide whether you’re willing to pay those hypothetical points. Of course, you do whatever you can to mitigate the risk–wear a mask, use sanitizer, social distance, etc. Still, those things don’t make you invulnerable. Keeping a casual mental tally of Covid points spent helps me keep this in mind. You may think it borders on paranoia, but it works for me. (On a side note, being paranoid in the midst of a pandemic isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)

As a household we are luckily in pretty solid agreement about what constitutes a risk and about the need to conservatively use our Covid points.  If we spend more points than usual one day, we try to spend fewer points the next day or two. Store exposure feels like one of our higher costs, but we have to eat and occasionally need something at the hardware store, so we condense our trips and go as seldom as possible. To be clear, going to three stores in one day was highly unusual for me and a huge Covid point expenditure. The cost of in-restaurant dining, even at 50% capacity, is out of our budget. We’re so frugal, we’re not even convinced that outside dining is worth the Covid points. We haven’t gotten haircuts since at least February, and don’t even talk to us about going bowling or to the movies. Flying somewhere? Ha!

On the other hand, hanging out on the back porch expends no points. Neither does cooking, baking, reading or spending time in the garden. Connecting with friends and relatives via letters, Zoom visits or phone calls is a freebie. Around here, going to the beach very early in the day or late in the afternoon is pretty low cost. Hikes and walks on less popular paths are, too. We’re fortunate to have many such options.

beach.jpg

day’s heat ebbs
the tide rolls in
evening beach respite

We’ve come to the conclusion that our safest bet is to continue limiting our exposure as much as we can. Maine, thank goodness, under the leadership of our governor, is doing well. Still, we play it safe–for both ourselves and for others. Until things change markedly for the better or until we have no choice (i.e., going back to school), we’re sticking to our budget.

So, what are you spending your Covid points on or what are your favorite no-cost or low-cost activities?

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Covid Points

  1. amyilene says:

    I love this! And we just came back from a lovely visit to your state of Maine (Brunswick). We spent a lot of points getting to and from our small corner of Central NY, but while there we lived happily with family, reconnecting and staying safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Travel is tough these days! I’m so glad you were able to visit your family, in Maine. There’s so much to explore in the midcoast area! (Brunswick is only about 15 minutes from me.)

      Like

  2. Adrienne says:

    You had me at COVID points! I have often referred to things as ‘ Making a deposit in the __(insert name here)___ bank”. It essentially means scoring points with someone, like your admins. When I first used it with my teaching partner she looked at me as if I were a mercenary. I explained to her that you don’t do something to make a deposit, you realize you’ve made a deposit after doing something good. Now, whenever one of us makes a deposit, she just says “Cha-ching”!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie Lynn says:

    I love this! While we do the same thing discussing what outings are more high risk, we’ve not coined our outings on a ‘covid points’ rating, but I love that name! 🙂 Clever and creative!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda Potts says:

    I love the idea of “covid points” – what a good way to think about it. We’re lucky that the cases in our community are low (our recent “surge”, while scary for us, is nothing compared to what my friends in the States are experiencing), but we’re still cautious. Your list of “free” activities is great. We’ve definitely spent a lot more time on our back porch, and I love my neighbourhood walks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The freebies are great but harder to access in the recent heat. Ugh. We’re all a bit grumpy right now with no desire to move or do anything…except maybe eat ice cream.

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  5. This is so me and then I count on 14 days from any “risky” day to see how I fared- did the points equalize again? I am so cautious and yet full of worry and I see others I really trust are not as cautious. You have explained a system that makes total sense to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I am so disturbed by people who don’t wear masks. I just got back from the Post Office and not one of the three people in front of me had a mask on. One woman carried her mask in and didn’t put it on! What’s that about!?!

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  6. margaretsmn says:

    I love this expression of Covid points. I haven’t spent many at all in the last week, quarantining myself. But I am getting a haircut today! I hate to think of how many points I’ll be using when we go back to school. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. humbleswede says:

    This phrase will become part of our vocabulary. Can you also earn covid points by declining invitations or finding a work-around to a costly encounter? I have found my canoe to be a great escape from the virus world. I hope that dog-walking is also a neutral, because we do a LOT of that. The only danger is that it’s quite obvious that our dog is still a puppy, and that has a magnetic effect. My most costly moments have been the haircut, the grocery store and the dentist, but like you, I try to separate those moments. Then there’s school, and it’s so hard to calculate the points.
    Thanks for giving us this new way of looking at our actions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Your cost free options sound good to me! Even with our “good” numbers, I’m daunted by the idea of potentially blowing my Covid budget out of the water when school starts. Sadly, I’m pretty sure you don’t get to earn Covid points or save them up. I’ll keep pondering that idea though!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bob Ferris says:

    Molly, I love this concept. I have already done this in the terms of rating places as high or low. Surprisingly Costco very low risk as they have done a great job with all the appropriate measures. My favorite coffee shop, high risk…teenage staff that do things like raise their masks to cough or sneeze!!! We even think of friends and family in risk categories as we try to do some physical distancing get-togethers. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Glad you like it, Bob! It’s amazing how much one coffee shop or grocery store can vary from another. I’ve only been able to find one convenience store I’m comfortable going into–though I have to say, most often the non-mask-wearing customers are the issue there.

      Like

  9. Lisa Corbett says:

    I was immediately connecting to the idea of carbon footprints and carbon offset points. I make a lot of decisions based on that! I think going shopping is the riskiest thing I do. I’m still trying to limit to once every two weeks. Like you, I try to maximize the trips – I go to 2 or three stores in one trip so I can offset my environmental impact and my cover exposure possibilities. Is this another example of gamifying our lives?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      There are definitely some parallels with carbon footprints–interesting point! The idea of “gamifying our lives” is new to me. I’m not sure how I feel about that!

      Like

  10. jaclynfre says:

    Great concept! I usually spend my COVID points at the grocery store. I also feel that supporting local businesses is “good trouble.” 🙂 I’ve done more walking with friends than I usually do. I have also purchased a COVID lawn chair with an attached table and cupholder . . . it also has a cooler attached which I found a bit extravagant, but handy.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for cashing some of your valuable Covid points down our way. You and all your colleagues on the midst of transcendent times. Keep the school stories coming so we know what’s happening on the front lines.

    Liked by 1 person

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