Barking at the Big Dog

You say together, I say apart… the semantics of coronavirus

Is it really social distancing we're after?

Is it really social distancing we’re after?

I may be splitting hairs here, but the guidelines clearly call for physical distancing for people in public and private spaces and physical isolation for those with symptoms or returning from travel abroad. That will also probably apply to domestic travel soon, if it already doesn’t given the lag between press and distribution.

We are social animals and in stressful times, when we are physically isolated, we need those social connections more than ever.

Fortunately we live in unprecedented times, when the vast majority of us have access to technology that makes it easier than ever to stay connected socially while we are physically apart.

Individually, we have telephone, text, email and even myriad apps that allow for face-to-face conversations with our loved ones and, of course, numerous social media platforms where we can connect to our extended circle of family and friends and the broader community.

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As an aside, is it just me, or has the tone on social media improved in recent weeks?

We saw great examples of the power of social media and other technologies last week. A new community support Facebook page for Smithers and area swelled to well over 1,000 members in less than a week.

Two yoga studios in Smithers did trials of online classes and have plans to offer them regularly.

Several churches have started online services.

And hundreds of individual entertainers, bands and symphonies started announcing live streamed concerts. We can only hope this will soon extend to some of our local favourites as well.

Currently, health authorities are rapidly increasing their capacity to provide remote medical care.

That brings to mind another misnomer that has entrenched itself in the lexicon: “virtual.”

We’re hearing a lot about virtual medical care, virtual concerts, virtual education etc., when, in fact, they are actual medical care, concerts and classes just done remotely.

Perhaps it is a professional hazard that I care what we call things. Or maybe I just love the mental gymnastics of words and language, but I am nothing if not pedantic about semantics.

In that spirit, I will leave you with one final thought. Our leaders appear to have become very fond of saying, “we will get through this together.”

We will get through this… apart.


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