Published in El Pais, 31 October 2020.
This pandemic has been hard on everyone regardless of their circumstances. At the beginning of the stay at home orders some had hoped that if we complied, the virus would disappear, and we could go back to normal. Stay home, watch Netflix, bake some bread for a couple of months and then have a big party to celebrate. Of course, here we are 7 months later and with a large uptick in infections, the second wave appears to have arrived with more cases than ever. We will be staying inside for a while.
It is of no surprise that mental health is starting to take its toll on many as we remain isolated from our friends and family. It is for this reason the use of the term “Social Distancing” has been discouraged in favour of “Physical Distancing” as a way to promote socializing with your friends via Zoom or phone calls but we all know it is not the same. We want to go out, go to a bar, a restaurant, go dancing, anything to feel normal again.
It is for this reason I feel we should be examining ways we can socialize again safely. I do not know what might be the safest for each sector of the economy (restaurants, sport, educations, etc.), nor do I want to speculate for fear of giving people bad ideas and putting them in a dangerous situation. However, if we can figure out how to have some form of face to face (or mask to mask) interaction it can be helpful for our mental health.
I can understand this may seem like a low priority issue given what is going on right now but hear me out. As the lockdown continues people’s patience begins to thin and we are already witnessing that. Protests of lockdowns are worldwide. People are going to parties in defiance of local laws and speakeasies are opening. Socializing is going on whether we like it or not, and the way they are doing it is quite dangerous and will likely cause more outbreaks. If we find a middle ground for a low risk socializing event, these same people may forgo the parties, at least for now, and we all can socialize maintaining the distance necessary and we might be willing to stay at home a little longer without parties.
Be the first to comment