Where Do You Fall on the “Avoiding Covid-19” Scale?   

When we come out of lockdown, we may need to be very honest with one another.

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Coronavirus 2020

About Coronavirus 2020

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By Cathy Merrill | @merrillwilliams – After weeks of lockdown due to the novel coronavirus, one thing has become clear: We are not all following the same social-distance rules. Everyone I know is handling quarantine differently and has a slightly different attitude about what is acceptable.

Some people I know who are high risk have taken nearly every precaution they can—barely leaving their homes and wearing a mask whenever they do. As we all emerge from lockdown, they may not wish to interact with someone who has not been nearly as careful, and I can’t blame them. But how would you know if someone hasn’t been as strict as you?

It got me to thinking that our risk levels are now on a spectrum, and I set out to develop a scale that I could use to communicate with people when we start to go back to work and to life. My scale is not perfect, of course. But it will allow me to say,  “Hey, I’m an 85-percenter, you should know that before we hang out.”

The scale is below. My goal is not to judge others or have them judge me—everyone is trying to balance what is best for their own family’s mental and physical well-being, and people’s options are shaped by things such as where they live, whether their jobs are essential, and how much money they can spend. But I feel like if we’re going to get through this together, we need to be honest with one another.


  • I don’t leave the house except for walks, always with a mask
  • I don’t go to the grocery store
  • I  wipe down or UV light all packages and groceries that are brought to me


  • I wear a mask most of the time when I’m out but not always
  • I limit my trips, going mainly to the grocery store if I go out at all
  • I try my best to wipe down all packages and groceries
  • I wear a mask if out for a walk or exercise
  • I limit takeout and deliveries to the best of my ability


  • I  wear a mask most of the time when I’m out but not always if not required
  • I go to the grocery store when I need to but not much beyond that
  • I wash my hands after opening packages and putting away groceries, but do not wipe down everything
  • I may pop into the office or run an errand with a mask
  • I don’t always wear a mask if I am out walking or exercising
  • I  sometimes go on walks with others but stay six-feet apart 


  • I go to the grocery store, hardware store, and other shops as needed; I wear a mask if required
  • I don’t wear a mask if I’m walking or exercising outdoors
  • I go into the office sometimes even if I can work from home
  • I hang out with friends at a six-foot distance


  • I wear a mask when I need to while out, but mostly to protect others
  • I mostly just wash my hands regularly
  • I don’t wear a mask while exercising outdoors
  • I go about my business for the most part, but in a slightly safer way
  • I’m not wiping down groceries and takeout


  • I’m generally staying away from people, but I’m not wearing a mask the majority of the time


  • I lead my life as I used to, for the most part, unless required to do differently