Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)

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Living at a Social Distance by Randy Best

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 1:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Over the weekend concern about Coronavirus COVID-19 continued to accelerate.  I posted a Facebook Live mini-platform Sunday morning and the NoVES Board met Sunday afternoon to consider ways of moving forward.

I drove back to Durham on Monday intending to fly to St. Louis on Wednesday to visit my mother and sister.  Initially I thought that this would be all right.  I last visited in October.  I rationalized that my visit was past due and could be considered necessary travel.  After discussing it with Sarah, I decided that I was being selfish.  Traveling would go against the necessary social isolation needed to make it less likely that COVID-19 cases would spike and exceed the capacity of our healthcare system to provide necessary treatment.  I canceled my flights (a time-consuming process) and car rental (just a click of a button).

A pandemic simulation article from the Washington Post appeared in my inbox.  It illustrates the effects of unchecked spread, quarantine, and various levels of social distancing.  It can be found here:

This article reinforced in my mind the need for effective social distancing as a means to decrease the number of people who are ill at any given time.  The main benefit of social distancing is not so much as decreasing the spread of the pandemic (although this could be part of the outcome), as it is spreading it out over time to avoid exceeding our ability to care for those who become seriously ill from COVID-19.

I am hunkered down in Durham.  My daughter Madeline, her husband Jon, and their two sons, David (5) and Orson (3) along with their day care person Laura, escaped from New York City, driving through the night on Monday to join us.  Like other families, we are social distancing as a group from the world outside of our yard.

I realize that I am privileged in my response to the necessary social distancing.  I am not by myself and am actually experiencing more social interaction than usual.  It is great to be in the company of others.  I realize that many people are much more isolated and, over the next several weeks, loneliness and depression may become issues for them.

I am also fortunate that I can work from home, exploring ways to connect with others through social media.  I am also fortunate that my financial resources are sufficient to keep me going over the next several weeks – or even months if necessary.

As I said in my Facebook Live mini-platform, there is opportunity in this crisis.  I wish this was true for everyone.  There are many who will lose income, or even their jobs.  It is not surprising that social distancing will have the greatest impact on the poor.

The Federal Government was slow to respond, initially meeting the crisis with misinformation and denials.  Legislation that can provide relief is now being considered.  I hope that it is directed at those who are financially struggling rather than corporations.  It remains to be seen.  I will certainly contact my representatives to advocate for assistance to those who need it most.

Meanwhile, our community can try new things, new ways to socially interact at a distance.  New ways of encouraging and supporting each other.  Expect to see announcements of specific events in the near future.

Also, please let NoVES know if you need help by reaching out to our Caring Committee at  We will figure out how to get you the help that you need.

Call or e-mail friends when you think of them.  Stay more in touch than usual.  It can lift spirits and help us get through this time of social distancing.

Take good care of yourselves.

Yours in Ethical Community,


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