Tags: Coronavirus | covid19 | coronavirus | socialdistancing

COVID-19: Separation From Outside World, but Closeness to Loved Ones

a spot on the sidewalk tells people to stand here to maintain social distancing guidelines
(AFP via Getty Images)

By Thursday, 02 April 2020 10:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Just a few weeks ago, about 6 million of us every day were jamming onto airplanes escaping to who-knows-where — and spewing enough carbon to kill the air people breathe and kill the planet.

And we were also spreading this plague, different from the biblical plagues, because this time it is us, human beings, who are the conduit.

The invisible virus follows us on our flights, but also made more virulent because of the net that made us feel that we were in some way immune from catastrophes — able to experience a form of life without exposing ourselves to the flows and currents of the outside world.

This feeling of being removed from dangers led us to believe that we didn't need to take measures as radically different and constraining as social distancing and confinement.

The life we have been propelled into in the Spring of 2020 is separation, but also closeness.

In a past that seems so distant although measured only in weeks, we had been distancing ourselves from our families by moving faster and faster or isolating our social and even intimate lives into Tinder or Instagram virtual connections. Closeness had been slowly steadily whittled away over decades.

Our abrupt lightning flash forward is indeed also a flash backward to closeness to family members. Today, many are experiencing simple family closeness — closeness to our kids, to our books and paintings, to stored away family letters and photos, and closeness in bed with one wife who posses all the qualities any one mortal man could need or want.

A telling introduction to this crisis was the French Presidential Party candidate for the office of Paris mayor having to withdraw two weeks before any viral infections were reported in the country because of an extramarital relationship. He was caught, not in bed with another woman, but on a computer screen sexting! Sex became sexting. Faster, easier, no need to sneak out on your wife, no chance of AIDS, no risk of bad breath.

Our speeding and virtual world does not mean that we got what we deserved. But we can say that amidst our suffering that Fate/God/Destiny brought us what we couldn't master ourselves.

Sadly we have been fast forwarded to this rude transition in a way that is devastatingly painful.

Let us pray that with wisdom and strength the United States will take the hard decisions on social distancing and confinement early enough to slow down the spread of the virus. We also pray that the medical research now being pushed ahead with the extraordinary resources of the United States in conjunction with other research centers in the world, will reduce the number and severity of COVID-19 infections.

This crisis has also brought about a heartfelt compassion for those who are suffering and will suffer from sickness and economic and social hardship, like frontline wartime soldiers. It also brings admiration and deepfelt thanks to those doctors and medical workers who are on the front lines and sacrificing their own well-being.

Mark L. Cohen has his own legal practice, and was counsel at White & Case starting in 2001, after serving as international lawyer and senior legal consultant for the French aluminum producer Pechiney. Cohen was a senior consultant at a Ford Foundation Commission, an advisor to the PBS television program "The Advocates," and Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He teaches U.S. history at the business school in Lille l’EDHEC. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Our speeding and virtual world does not mean that we got what we deserved. But we can say that amidst our suffering that Fate/God/Destiny brought us what we couldn't master ourselves.
covid19, coronavirus, socialdistancing
Thursday, 02 April 2020 10:10 AM
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