Today, the Covid pandemic has receded definitively. A large majority of people have been vaccinated. The case rate stays low. Death from Covid is vanishing. We are finally coming out from the emergency. With most restrictions lifted, what are we going to do now? Should we stop wearing masks? Should we go on long delayed vacations? Going back to the office? Jump back into events with large crowds?
Too much energy has been put into the mask wearing debate. It is neither the most effective prevention, nor is it too restrictive to use. I don’t mind continuing to wear a mask in some settings, like in public transit or schools, if only as a gesture to help people to ease back into normal. While there is an itch from the travel bug, I don’t have a strong urge to make up for the lost time. The offices will take more time to be filled again, more because of people’s hate of commuting than the threat of Covid. It was frustrating not to be able to go to restaurants, sports events, or traveling. But none of these is truly essential.
The most important change to make today is to end social distancing.
If you have not seen your parents or children for sometime, go see them now. Don’t skip your regular family gathering. Spending time with extended families is one of the most beneficial things you can do to your wellbeing.
Go meet your friends. What a delight it is to see them again after a long time?
We need hugging. Have we forgotten that? Two people embrace each other in their arms, chest pushing against chest. This is the proper greeting to someone who you have known for years.
Talk to your neighbors. We have acquired the habit to dodge others when they are approaching on the sidewalk, jumping off into the street if necessary to maintain six feet of space. Not anymore. Relax. Smile. There is no need to avoid other people like plague.
Go to a church service. Go to a group spiritual practice. While it is beneficial to meditate alone, meditating in a group reinforces and resonates with others. That’s why people practice in groups. The energy flows without even needing to talk.
I trust that you and your friends have made the good decision to get vaccinated. Do not feel guilty for hugging. Feel guilty if you are not vaccinated.
Human beings are social animals. Social interaction is essential to our wellbeing. We live in cities to be close to others. We trade, we learn and we socialize. When the pandemic hits, we responded to blunt its impact. Stay Home, Save Lives. We accepted the difficult bargain. But this bargain needs to be reassessed constantly. When it is no longer useful, it is unhealthy to continue the sacrifice out of fear or habit.
At the end of the day, I believe love and bonding will help to pull us through any challenges and catastrophes. We should never neglect to foster social connections.