Whether you take it with “a spoonful of sugar” or gulp it down fast, some medicines still can be nasty. However, when a prescription says to take it until there is none left, the patient is wise to do just that. But if, on the seventh day of a 10-day dosage, the patient decides he feels just fine and foregoes finishing the medicine, what happens? As often as not, he may well find himself back in bed with the last thing he wanted — a relapse. And as eager as he may be to get out of bed, he can barely lift his throbbing head.

For the past few months, our country has been a hard-hit patient. Fortunately, the great majority of us have been following doctors’ “prescriptions” by staying home as much as possible, washing our hands more times each day than we likely had in any previous month, and faithfully maintaining appropriate social distance. (By the way, I’ve heard there’s a university study documenting a significant increase in the number of parents of teenagers who are quite happy with this last instruction.)

The medical experts now tell us they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Good news to be sure. But let’s not make the mistake of the patient who stopped his medication on Day 7 — because, though we see that light at the end of the tunnel, the reality is, we still are in the tunnel. And we don’t want even one life to be in jeopardy. That said, neither do we want to keep our all workplaces closed and return too late, finding many jobs did not survive. Fortunately, there can be a reasonable balance.

As we gradually return to a semblance of normalcy, would it be so terrible to limit — temporarily — how many people may be in a restaurant? A waiting room? Is wearing a mask in supermarkets and other stores truly a hardship? As for social distancing, we’ve actually seen it work effectively. So why would we want to stop it on Day 7 of the prescription and risk that wretched relapse?

Wouldn’t we be wise simply to adjust our mindset, and with a spoonful of positive-attitude sugar, follow the medical experts’ advice until we are indeed out of the tunnel?

Millie Anderson