Physical Distance, Social Connection

By Charlie Darling

Our community is well served by physical distancing and wearing masks, as well as by the many efforts around town to maintain our social connections despite the need for physical distance. Kudos to all for committee meetings via Zoom, a virtual Community Coffee House each month, neighbors helping neighbors, etc.

But what I find confusing is the nationwide use of the term “social distancing.” Six feet is a measure of physical distance, not social distance. We need the physical distance (backed up with masks) to control the spread of the COVID virus. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to strengthen the social connections that physical distancing makes more difficult.

The phrase “social distancing” seems an inept and misleading way to refer to the twin imperatives we are living with in these extraordinary times. Referring to “physical distance” and “social connection” separately — and therefore accurately — might make it easier for us all to maintain our focus on each.

Charlie Darling