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Social Distancing without being Anti-Social

Unfortunately, the term social distance is likely to be the word/phrase of 2020. There are many resources that can give you guidance on what social distance is and how to practice it to flatten the curve during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Washington Post has a great simulation of how social distancing works to slow the spread of disease, and the New York Times has one that shows how slowing the spread and flattening the curve can give our health care system time to manage the care of those who get sick. If those are too academic for you, Joshua Potash has a very simple, yet powerful demonstration of how social distancing interrupts the spread of contagion.

Social distance in the context of contagion is important, but it doesn’t have to mean that we become anti-social. In fact, it is now more important than ever that while we should maintain a healthy physical distance, we have to be careful that we don’t increase the distance between friends, neighbors, and communities. We still need social connection, we just need to do it with less physical contact. Here are some positive things that we can do during this extraordinary time to strengthen our social ties and build our communities up.

  • Take more walks in the fresh air and while you are walking, carry a garbage bag and (with gloves or a stick) pick up the trash that seems to be everywhere

  • Check-in with your elderly neighbors - if you don’t have their phone number you can still knock on their door and see if they need groceries or anything

  • Have a “Social Distance Happy Hour” in your neighborhood - outside - with appropriate space

  • Have a Virtual Happy Hour with friends

  • Get on the phone and call (or FaceTime) friends and family

  • Buy gift certificates from local businesses to help them stay afloat

  • Donate to your local food bank

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