Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Cynthia M. Allen, Tribune News Service
When social distancing was first suggested as a means of reducing the spread of the new coronavirus, several of my friends joked how great it is to have public health experts affirm their antisocial tendencies.
We now have a legitimate medical excuse to avoid playdates, parties and large crowds — all right!
Even for the socially challenged among us, cancelling public events, restricting travel and moving college classes online all seem like extreme measures, but the experiences of other nations prove that limiting social contact can be extremely effective, especially early on.
According to recent analysis of the coronavirus pandemic, a “25% reduction in contacts yields more than 50% drop in cases after one month.”
In a word, that is huge. If we can “flatten the curve” or slow the incidence of infection, especially serious cases, we are less likely to overtax our health care system, which should lower the mortality rate from the illness, as well.
All of this is good, and we should do it, full stop.
But we have to be aware of the cost of isolation — and I’m not talking about the economic impact, the pricey stimulus packages, or the plunging stock market.
I’m talking about the damage that occurs when communities disintegrate.
Americans already are a uniquely isolated people. Twenty years ago, sociologist Robert Putnam blamed that on technology and its atomizing effects on society in his seminal book, “Bowling Alone.”
In the ensuing years, social media, video games and streaming services have made everything much worse. People are spending increasingly less time interacting with neighbours and friends and engaging in their communities, and more and more time alone.
That’s had a devastating impact on our social institutions. It’s also been deeply detrimental to our personal and public health. Lonelier people get sicker, stay sicker and die sooner.
Still, you’d think that our cultural penchant for reclusiveness would serve us well in acute situations, like the current pandemic.
As it relates to our personal desire to sit at home with a book instead of attending a concert — yes.
But it ultimately means that in times of crisis, when communities should be coming together to serve the common good and our mutual survival, we are finding ourselves alone. We don’t trust the institutions that govern us, the ones we rely on for support, and we see each other as competitors in a zero-sum game.
That is even more destructive than a virus.
Two short weeks ago, a friend commented that if a family in our circle found themselves ill or short on supplies, the rest of us would happily pitch in to help, even if that meant sacrificing for our own families. (Yes, even toilet paper!)
“We have a village,” she said. But not everybody does.
Yes, it’s hard to build community when you’re self-quarantining.
It’s certainly not the ideal time to get involved in your church or start volunteering at the local food bank. But it is definitely time to turn our attentions to those around us.
That means checking in on relatives and friends. Making sure our neighbours, especially those in vulnerable populations, have what they need.
That might mean sharing or rationing our own supplies (I’m talking about you, toilet paper hoarders) or finding ways to support health care workers. We might seek ways to support families without child care.
Those of us able to use the extra time with our kids should do it profitably — less TV, more books and games.
None of this will be easy, and it will require some creativity. But it can be done.
We will ride this out. And it will be a lot easier to rebuild our communities if we never abandon them in the first place.
Social distancing is totally at odds with human behaviour and the construction of global capitalism. Our entire world is on pause, and yet there are still not enough TV series and podcasts in existence to entertain us.
Mariam Yaed Al Qubaisi, Director of Information and Communication Department and official spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), revealed that NCEMA in partnership with its strategic partner has a 24-hour mechanism to detect rumours and track those who promote them. The NCEMA takes the necessary measures that include responding to or denying the rumours through the official mass media and take legal action against those who promote them, she added.
The Sharjah Police and Sharjah City Municipality continued their efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all community members by taking preventive and precautionary measures to contain the spread of the Covid19 pandemic.
The true meaning of the Holy Month of Ramadan to share among the less fortunate members of the Pakistani diaspora in the UAE has not been forgotten by the social arm of the community. The Pakistan Association Dubai is distributing food packages among the underprivileged members of the community who have been affected by the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far 1,500 food packages, enough for a 4-5-member family for one month, have been distributed across all nationalities and emirates as part of the food drive.
Over 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow fell on California since Christmas. Now this is a scenario that no one, let alone Americans, would want to see repeated in future. The strongest of California’s storms from atmospheric rivers, long and wide plumes of moisture that form over an ocean and flow through the sky over land,
The smell of perfumed smoke turned my head on Tuesday morning outside the Monterey Park dance club where 11 people were gunned down on Saturday night. A man named Scott, seated in a wheelchair, was lighting incense sticks to honour the dead. “What else can we do?” asked Scott, 57, who requested that I not use his
A bold announcement, then, from parodical content provider GB News, that it is branching out into character comedy with a new show to be hosted by arguably the country’s most significant cultural creation of the last 20 years: Jacob Rees-Mogg. The very middle-class son of a very middle-class newspaper editor, he has been
Across our country, people are standing up and demanding fair working conditions. These debates are about more than just pay and hours worked. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fact that people’s lives do not solely revolve around their jobs. Workers’ wages, hours and paid time off should reflect their whole lives —