Politics, Moderate



Social distancing is a godsend for those who hate other people

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

One of the best things people across the country can do to combat the coronavirus pandemic is "social distancing."

It sounds like a new-age ritual you pay Gwyneth Paltrow $1,000 to learn about, but it's actually an effective public health technique aimed at slowing the spread of a contagious disease like COVID-19. 0%


Social distancing involves one of my favorite hobbies: avoiding other human beings. The idea is for people to make reasonable modifications to their lives -- avoiding large events, working from home if possible, steering clear of crowded public transportation -- to minimize the number of infections, thus keeping doctors and hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

It won't stop the coronavirus, but it will slow it down, an important step given that the total number of cases across the country is more than 1,000 and growing. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the global coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

Because I care about protecting America's most vital natural resource -- me -- I hereby declare myself all-in on social distancing. And with that declaration, I get to go first. (It's a bit like calling "shotgun" when you want to sit in the front passenger seat of the car. I don't make the rules, I just live by them.)


My first act of social distancing will be to ask everyone to please get away from me. That means you people reading this column, too. I would like you to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from your computer screen, newspaper or smartphone. Get binoculars if need be.


OK. One of the keys to social distancing, according to my epidemiologist friends, of whom I have none, is to move through public places loudly announcing you are engaged in social distancing.

I tried that at the grocery store -- shouting "PLEASE GET AWAY FROM ME, I AM SOCIAL DISTANCING!" while pushing a cart through the aisles -- and it worked perfectly, except for the security guard who refused to respect my social distancing and stayed an anti-social distance away from me until police arrived.


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