Social Distancing seems to be a new term that has come into our cultural language since the onset of the Coronavirsis crisis. Wikipedia describes this as a set of nonpharmaceutical infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity, and ultimately, mortality. Why is this so important today? Read on …
The U.K. government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) says that the “stricter” social distancing measures would need to be in place half of the year in order to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed with Coronavirus cases. Yes, perhaps for six months!
The paper, dated from Monday but released on Friday, said that the consensus view of the scientists was that “the addition of both general social distancing and school closures to case isolation, household isolation, and social distancing of vulnerable groups would be likely to control the epidemic when kept in place for a long period.” A microbiologist predicted that going into the autumn, and possibly the winter, there will be “some more spiking, some more bumps along the road where, possibly, you’ll see the reintroduction of measures.”
Our thoughts turn to how culture will react after long term social distancing. Imagine spending six months, not hugging or shaking hands with your friends? Will the world then break out with hugs? Or the day the authorities say its all clear, will the fear be residual? It is sort of like if you beat a dog for one day and then befriend the next day no harm. But for six months you beat the dog, how would it react? Most likely not well. Often referred to as the Pavlovian dog effect. Humans are different than dogs, but nevertheless here are some ideas Right Wire Report thought of in terms of what may occur after this six-month lockdown:
- Loss of contact with previous groups and individuals (i.e., church, associations, friends, distant family, etc …) may be lost, or the restart of these relationships become problematic.
- People may become more desensitized, dehumanized, and become stone-cold – can it be recovered totally, or will a distance remain?
- Make communicative talking problematic – sanding several feet (meters) will teach people not to have communication.
- During the six months lockdown period, people may start online relationships, which tend to be less human. They may be reluctant to stop them in lieu of face to face relationships as before. Furthermore, the anonymity of online relationships causes/allows people to be less civil to one another.
- More unhealthy lifestyle development – less physical activity causing weight gain and unfit due to lack of sports activities.
- With nothing to do, alcohol and/or drug abuse, leading to addictions.
- Coping with the feeling associated with isolation may cause anxiety and depression that may only be partially recovered by some.
- Those with depressive symptoms may have a greater risk of quarantine PTSD.
- … if you can think of more please add to the comment section of this post.
Understanding the probability of long term social effects of social distancing can help each of us to bring a measure of healing to the communities we belong to after this Coronavirus crisis ends – and it will end one day. Right Wire Report will have more to say on this subject if this six-months long quarantine lockdown unfolds.