Humans are inherently social beings. Being cut off from coworkers, lovers, and friends can make shelter-in-place lonely and frustrating. However, in order for this disease to die out, we need to abide by the six-foot rule. The problem is, though, that people aren’t. High schoolers are still taking walks with friends, despite the federal government practically begging us to stay inside.
Some excuses people may use for their recklessness can be rooted down to coping mechanisms such as minimizing or denial. Downplaying a deadly threat allows people to maintain a sheer layer of calm when the world threatens to topple. Saying things like “it’s just another flu”, “most symptoms are mild”, and “ it only transmits to older people” become excuses for people to openly disobey laws meant to keep other people safe. These words morph into a false sense of security that has no place in a world where self control can save lives. Refraining from seeing friends and being close can truly make a difference. Even one lapse in judgement can lead to new cases. Behaviors like these not only prevent people from taking adequate precautionary measures but also put those at a higher risk for being infected by the virus in danger.
Yet despite the name, social distancing relates more to physical space than social divide. People can still stay connected to friends and coworkers despite not meeting up in person by texting, calling, or FaceTiming. These alternatives for in-person contact may not be as effective, but greatly reduce the sacrifice we must make to keep people safe. With these technologies, we can both maintain social interaction and avoid disastrous consequences. This time period apart may prove difficult, but we will emerge from it with a better appreciation for our loved ones, having been forced to be away from them for so long.
Failing to abide by carefully-set rules and recommendations presents a certain recklessness that voids all that has been done to protect other people. Even if some people don’t live with high-risk individuals, others do. With the asymptomatic and presymptomatic characteristics of coronavirus, simply feeling healthy is not enough. Transmission is easy and deadly silent, and our actions have consequences. One outing with a friend may lead to transmitting the virus to 3 more people, beginning a chain reaction that can only be stopped by respecting the distance. Not respecting social distancing means that more lives are lost. In a time where it matters most, everybody should be cautious and exert some necessary self control to do our part in limiting the spread of the virus and keeping our community safe. With everybody being aware of their actions, we can soon hope for freedom to see our friends again and a quicker return into our normal lives.