#40: Walking in the Days of Social Distancing

#40: Walking in the Days of Social Distancing

As I write this here in Sunnyside, Queens, there’s a growing consensus that New York City will be completely shut down within a day or two. That would mean we’ll all be home for at least a few weeks, and perhaps longer. We don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t know right now. But one thing we do know is that we need to practice social distancing and stay away from each other as much as possible. As a proud introvert, this will not be a problem.

As the news flowed on Twitter this week, and the conversation picked up about ways to alleviate anxiety while self-isolating, I noticed people recommending getting outside for a daily walk. Of course, this is common sense advice but there has been some confusion about whether we should go outside for leisure activities. It seems the consensus is that we can definitely get out for a walk or run if we keep our distance. Naturally, I’m all for people getting out to walk and it seems that fresh air and the sun might help us fight off the virus as well. (If you are sick though, take care of yourself first and please seek help if it progresses after two days)

Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff.[1] There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.

I plan on taking a daily walk as long as I feel healthy. I’m following a few rules though. First, I’m not touching anything unless I’m buying groceries, and I’m keeping my distance from other walkers. My hunch is that we’ll start seeing more Tweets and conversation about walking. It’s the only thing people will be able to do outdoors other than buy good. I will be following the conversation closely on Twitter.

This is going to be a tough time for photographers and artists (COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources.) It sucks. I’m sorry. I don’t have any words of wisdom other than to stay connected, try to stay focused on doing some work. Dream up new ideas. Make a book dummy. Walk and just make photos. Focus on the present. Art will help us get through this and on the other side, we’ll be ready for amazing things. Stay safe! Drop me a line if you want to talk about walking or photography or maps or ideas!


Catch me on Twitter and Instagram as well.