The difference between policy and assessment

I couldn’t help but find myself writing about this in the middle of a COVID-19 infection (even after booster shots). Reinfection was also seen among my family members who had been infected with a different variant previously. The key message is “be aware of your options, assess your health conditions and do not blindly follow the recommended protocol”.

Given the trend to “live with covid”, a significant number of countries are easing up to revitalise the economy and move towards a more sustainable means of managing the virus and people infected with the virus. Depending on the country’s healthcare facilities, capacity and resources, the recommended protocols could vary from country to country. High risk individuals would tend to be given more attention, while the lower risk ones are typically advised to self-isolate at home. Majority would be classified under low risk. Well, the official advice is not to visit the doctor if you show no symptoms. However, if you are feeling unwell and show signs of mild symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, sore throat), you should take a private transport to a clinic (not hospital) for an ART.

There are even more detailed protocol such as a standardised issuance of medical leave for 5 days, and as long as you are tested negative, you should return back to work or school from day 3 onwards. From a broader perspectives, you know that these changes mainly help to counter manpower constraints given the expected rise in infection rate due to the easing of the covid measures.

That said, how the virus affects an individual is difficult to be generalised with the recommended protocol. As an individual, we take responsibility of our health and life. Suppose the recommended protocol states that you can return to work or school after 7 days regardless if you are tested positive or not, every individual would interpret that sentence in their own words. If I am still showing symptoms (fever, cough, flu), should I return to work or school? You can, but it doesn’t mean that you should if you are still not feeling well. However, that would mean a revisit to the clinic. It could raise some eyebrows but you ought to do it if you must. For your safety, and the safety of your peers who work or study alongside you.

Yet, there could be many of us who aren’t in that privileged situation where the above is a viable choice because it will be a choice of “having earn enough to live by” or “being in debt” or similar. If you are still able to trust humans, that’s good because you can still try to reach out and hope that you voice is heard by someone out there who could assist. Otherwise, you’ll probably be left alone suffering in silence as words no longer matter regardless of who you are speaking to. This group of individuals always exists.

As our immune system responds differently to the virus, it’s important for us to be at least aware and cognisant of our own condition and determine the right course of actions to take. Visit a doctor when you are unwell. Don’t suffer in silence. Follow the recommended protocol when it make sense. If it doesn’t, negotiate with your employers, schools or revisit the doctor for a reassessment of your condition. After all, as an individual, we only have one life to live.

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