I know you want to, but just don’t. That quick walk to get takeout? Skip it. Traveling elsewhere to ride out the pandemic with family? Too risky. And don’t even get me started about spring break.
Social distancing has become the rallying cry of the coronavirus pandemic—a guideline from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has blown up into a social-media hashtag and even a line of Etsy attire. It’s an alluring prospect: Just cancel those plans with friends and stay six feet away from everyone, and we should be able to stave off a Contagion-style lockdown. But California, New York, and Illinois have now taken it a step further, compelling their residents to stay at home.
Don’t wait for your state to bar you from leaving the house. If you don’t have work or care responsibilities that absolutely require you to leave the house, put yourself on lockdown.
When the pandemic first hit, I had the same thought as a lot of other young adults: I want my mom. Instead of squatting for months in my cramped D.C. apartment with my roommate who refuses to clean, I decamped to my parents’ house in suburban Ohio. But I see now that that almost certainly was a big mistake.
I double-checked with Jennifer Dowd, an Oxford University epidemiologist and demographer. Should Americans be going out for anything other than the absolute basics? “No” was the curt response I got. “I think we should all think really hard about why we would need to leave other than for necessities,” she went on. “If you can, just hunker down.”