AC WP RSCN4338 ENH2Last night I watched Jake Tapper and Dr Sanjay Gupta on CNN discussing a video of people walking and jogging in the sunshine along San Francisco’s seafront.

They were deeply disturbed at what they perceived as a lack of social-distancing. In fact, most people were more or less 6 ft/ 2 meters apart most of the time. I think they were just disturbed at how many people there were, and maybe at how happy they looked. When Tapper saw a young couple walking together holding hands, he said he felt enraged.

Now wait a minute. First of all, given all the experience we have had over the years with other diseases, it seems very apparent to me that most transmission, aside from direct contact, occurs indoors, not outdoors. Being outside has always been known to be healthy, staying inside unhealthy. I doubt that that has changed.

As for the joggers, it used to be known that exercise is healthy. Among other things, it strengthens the immune system. We are going to stop now? Or we are all going to run indoors somewhere? Where might that be? Run on our home treadmills? Have we forgotten that many people can’t afford such things?

I have been running all my life, and 99% of it has been done outside. I stopped running in gyms long ago because I didn’t like the bad air. Although I am 73, I’m still running today, mostly jogging now of course, and I’m not planning to stop. If I have to, I will run at 3am, as will those in San Francisco.

Re the young couple holding hands, what are Tapper and Gupta suggesting? That love should be put on hold? What if the two are married? Should they only be allowed to hold hands at home? Or maybe not even there?

And, if holding hands is so alarming, what is their position on sex? Should that stop too? We have had serious diseases from sex throughout history – syphilis, Aids, etc – and yet we have never before contemplated a ban on sex. Yet, of course, there isn’t a more efficient way to transfer a virus.

Those people in San Francisco were just doing what people have been doing for thousands of years after a long depressing winter – getting out in the sun.

Have we suddenly forgotten that there is also mental health? Depression impairs the immune response, allowing diseases like cancer and corona viruses to get started.

Where is the medical/psychological community on that? I think it’s time we heard from the psychologists. Psychiatrists and medical doctors may be no help, since they’ll probably just say they have drugs available for depression.

Here in Canada where I write, we are following the same path. Just this morning, after a notice urging passengers to keep extra distance between themselves on GO trains which bring commuters into Toronto, they said they are reducing the number of trains. So passengers will be closer together whether they like it or not.

There is an air of insanity about all this. An image keeps coming into my mind of a man who has caught the measles, so he shoots himself in the foot hoping that will help.

Do we really appreciate what we are doing? It’s one thing to close down the world economy for 2 wks or a month, but if it runs to months – if this lock down is still going on in August – I think we may be surprised to discover that we will have severely crippled it. Economic recovery may not be as easy as most people seem to think.


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