As with everyone, Covid-19 has touched our family, this time close to home. A couple of weeks ago, Laura tested positive for the pandemic virus. At work on Friday, she was notified that the patient she had seen the day before had a household member that had tested positive for the virus. She had been feeling sick that day and by the weekend she had the classic symptoms of the infection.

As a family we immediately quarantined and took steps to contain the spread. By Sunday, her symptoms had worsened and the test had come back positive. We thank God that her symptoms were mild, comparatively speaking. She is still feeling the effects of the virus and she is also back at work. We are also done with the quarantine.

But the experience brings up some interesting issues that I would like to address.

As a healthcare professional, Laura provides face-to-face services in a high-risk environment. Her job exposes her to a higher risk of being infected by the coronavirus. We have been dealing with this reality since the dangers of the virus were acknowledged in March.

As a family we took steps to mitigate, as best as we could, the dangers of Covid-19.

But we did not isolate and put ourselves into a box. We accepted that life had changed and that we needed to overcome the problem as best as we could.

Like everyone we first limited our exposure by isolating until we better understood the situation. We stopped going to public places like social events and limited our public exposure.

When we ventured out, we took the precautions of wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. School went virtual and thus our exposure was further limited before the summer.

But we realized that we could not continue in self-isolation.

It was unsustainable for everyone. As a healthcare professional we understood the inherent risks involved with Laura going back to work. Like other businesses, my business also suffered because of the pandemic crisis. I could choose to hunker down and hope for the best or be proactive and create in preparation for when the economy reopens.

Some of you may have noticed the results of my reinventing my business endeavors by this publication, the El Paso News, Amitor®, Workspace Kit and the social media platform launching on Monday.

Laura went back to work and I developed a new business model in preparation for the reopening of the economy.

Our son was starting high school, so we had to decide if he would go back to school or continue with virtual schooling.

Virtual school is a disservice to children. In some places it needs to happen, but it should be as limited as possible.

We decided on in-school instruction even with the inherent dangers.

We stopped isolating but we kept protecting ourselves.

Face-to-face school continued. We both went to work. We dined out, although we used the drive-through more frequently. We attended sporting events for our child. In other words, we continued to live.

We Protected Ourselves

But we did so by understanding that life has changed. We wear masks even outdoors. We frequently wash our hands and we keep social distancing.

We understood that the responsibility was ours and not the governments.

Therein lies the solution to the problems.

Personal Responsibility

There is much public discussion about forced business closures, stay-at-home orders and even whether the government should mandate wearing masks.

Those debates miss the fundamental solution to the problem.

The solution is not government intervention but rather understanding what we individually must do to protect ourselves.

Forget whether bars should be open. Forget whether shops should be forced to close. Forget mandatory closure orders.

The power to protect ourselves is in our own hands.

As a family we avoid places like restaurants that are crowded, although we eat out. We avoid bars as well. Our family doesn’t care whether the bars are open or closed or whether the local cinema is showing a movie. We keep our distance and we avoid places that are dangerous.

We wear masks and we practice social distancing.

We know it works because even though Laura works in a high-risk environment and we are not completely isolated we have been relatively safe, even though she got infected.

The power lies in us. Stop demanding that the government do something for us.

I realize that there is the issue of overwhelming hospitals with rising outbreaks. But the solution is not shutdown orders but personal responsibility. Address those and the problem is mitigated. Stop cuddling people by ordering shutdowns. Instead make people responsible for their own failures to be responsible.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...