Letter to the editor: Social distancing could be hurting our immune systems
Written in response to the letter “Social distancing should be reduced during offseason.” I’d like to start by agreeing that there are many unknowns about this virus. What we do know from biology is that our immune systems are built and strengthened by interaction with the environment around us. How is isolation affecting our immune systems? Are they being strengthened or weakened? Between reduced day-to-day interaction with the environment and other people, compounded by the stresses of secondary impacts (increases in depression, domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, financial, etc.) how strong are immune systems expected to be after six to eight weeks of staying at home?
Typically during a pandemic, the response is to quarantine the sick. In this case, we have been quarantining the healthy, as well. While this was an appropriate response in the absence of data at the start of the outbreak, now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some baseline on the infection and morbidity rates of this particular strain of “crown virus,” does this strategy continue to make sense? The longer this goes on, the deeper the sense of fear being instilled. This is not about personal inconvenience. Rather, it is about the overall well-being of everyone in our community.
Yes, we are beginning to relax, just a tiny bit. Again, the next five weeks present an opportunity to reengage even a little more in a mindful way that helps build our immune systems and begins to mitigate the wide range (and in many cases, long-term) secondary impacts of closing down the county.
Current limitations/requirements for many businesses such as personal services (especially spa, salons, yoga studios) food services, retail and day care are restrictive to the point that some business owners may not even open. This would be sad.
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