It is a rare thing when an email – a single email, a word on the page – can help save lives, but in this collective moment, that rare thing is happening.
In our family, over this past week, we have made a daily practice of asking “what can I do to be of service?” For me that has meant things like reaching out by phone to those who may be feeling isolated, or hosting online gatherings to help preserve connection during this time.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized that one of the most helpful things I could do would be to voice my support for extreme social distancing here via this platform, which reaches many thousands of people around the world.
From everything I have learned from the epidemiologists, scientists and doctors, our primary work as human beings right now is to practice social distancing in order to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, so that our medical system will not be overwhelmed, and those who are severely sick can get needed medical treatment.
This is the time to practice social distancing, now, in small ways and big ways. That means not only avoiding large gatherings but also eliminating all nonessential in person contact with others – whether at a store, an appointment or even a small get together of a couple friends. Because of the exponential rate of spread, preventing just one infection today will prevent 2600 infections over the next three months. (See the links below for more on that.)
Our economy can recover over the long-term. We cannot bring back lives lost.
The amazing thing is that there is actually something very concrete each and every individual can do to slow the spread of the virus: stay home and reduce in-person contact with others as much as possible. Handwashing, keeping physical distance if you absolutely need to be around others, and disinfecting are also key, but the broader social distancing and staying at home if possible is critical.
Unfortunately, the importance of social distancing is not being communicated clearly or forcefully enough in a centralized manner; and so we now rely on grassroots, distributed sources – individual experts, outlets, and each other to relay this imperative. So I’m doing my part today to let you know where I stand.
If you are unclear on the reasons for social distancing, are worried about “overreacting” or “going too far,” or still think the need to distance may not apply to you (because you are young, asymptomatic, etc.) please check out one of these excellent resources to learn more.
Social Distance Game (see how many lives your level of social distancing can save)
The Math Behind Why We Need Social Distancing
One Simple Chart Explains How Social Distancing Saves Lives
Thank you for reading and for listening. I’ll be writing more tomorrow on my practices and ideas about how to manage fear and anxiety during this time (more my wheelhouse!) – stay tuned for that. But today’s note had to come first – it’s more time sensitive, and important.
Love you, and sending virtual hugs to everyone,