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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 3: Social Distancing in a Time of Crisis.

Pandemic Log: Wednesday, 18th March 2020

Today, we took our dog into the vet to get her glands released (I will spare you the details) because if we did not, they are likely to get infected. Veterinarians, like most hospitals and Emergency Rooms, have also cancelled all routine visits and procedures and are only treating emergency needs.

As we walked into what is normally a warm and inviting atmosphere, we were greeted with a sign on the front counter. It was a very strange feeling to come face to face these words, even though I have been hearing and getting acquainted with the term ‘social distancing’ for a few days now.

What makes this notion hard to enact and come to grips with, is that fact that it is asks us to do the exact opposite of what we, as humans, do to deal with any crisis.

The day after 9/11, a good friend and I made our way down to within a couple of blocks from Ground Zero, and we spent the entire day doing water runs for fire, police and other emergency service women and men, who were working to find survivors and remove bodies.

We ran up and down those streets all day long, collecting and passing out bottles of water donated by big companies, small businesses, delis and ordinary people. There were many others like us who volunteered because they needed and wanted to do something to help their city in this dark hour.

The streets were lined with people of all stripes; standing arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder - cheering every service woman and man coming out of Ground Zero. I cannot count the number of hands I shook or strangers who hugged me that day, or the number of pats we gave and received as a show of solidarity.

I remember thinking - I have no doubt our city will not only survive this reprehensible attack but we will come back stronger than before. We will show the world that a cowardly group of men can never break our will, our spirit, our unity and our sense of shared humanity.

In times of hardship, grief, panic and fear we find respite and calm through comforting each other physically. Couples hold hands, friends hug, grandparent’s stroke heads and we all squeeze our little one tightly to our bosoms’ to reassure them that everything is going to be okay.

We are being told that we must not submit to our most innate human instinct, to reach out our hand to someone in need, because doing so would be nothing short of catastrophic. Succumbing to touch will only serve to prolong this pandemic and worse yet, spread the virus and kill many more people.

More than words, it is these acts of physical assurance that let people know that we are there for them, and that we will stand by and support them us no matter how bad things get.

During this crisis we cannot. We will need to find new ways to comfort each other and navigate it.

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