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What is a #SDHH?

June 3, 2020



We have certainly entered a tricky time. I heard someone mention that we are at the end of the beginning. I think this is a great description. It also means we have a long road ahead of us. Let’s consider how we can restore some normalcy in this COVID-era. In continuation with the thought of harm reduction vs abstinence, I’d like to riff on a few concepts over the next few weeks... socially distant visits, expanding your isolation teams, and take-out and food delivery.

All of these topics will have the exact same principles applied. None of them will have any direct robust placebo-controlled studies to support them. For one reason, studies on these topics would be very difficult to design and not enough time has passed to accomplish this type of science. But, these conversations will be medically-minded and based on the best science available.

The following are the principles on which the conversations will be based: 

  • the more you interact with people that are not in your isolation group, the greater the risk of being exposed to Corona Virus (CV)

  • the more you touch surfaces or items in or from public places, the greater the risk of being exposed to CV

  • the physically closer you are to people not in your isolation group, the greater risk of being exposed to CV

  • inside locations are riskier places than outside locations

  • small unventilated rooms are riskier than big well-ventilated spaces 

If you don’t want to add any risk of getting COVID, then don’t do any of what I discuss. Certainly, if you are older or have medical problems, it would be wise to be more strict or perhaps you will decide to not experiment with any of these approaches. 

So, having made these disclaimers, the following seems like a low-risk visit:

  • Sit outside 

  • Stay at least 6 ft away (but really 10-15 ft would be better and when I have done these types of visits, this distance seemed very natural)

  • Don’t pass items back and forth 

    • if you are the visitor bring your own food, drinks, chairs

    • if you are the visitee (is that a word?) communicate your approach beforehand so there are no surprises nor any awkwardness 

  • Ideally don’t use the bathroom if you are visiting someone else. But, if there was a bathroom that had direct outside access or easy access, especially if it wasn’t used for 2-3 days by the visitees, that would be a pretty good approach. Or, just treat it like a public bathroom. Wear a mask, touch as little as possible, and wash hands frequently. Read this if you want a refresher on how to properly don and doff a mask. 

  • Limit the number of people. Maybe one or two friends or just another couple?

  • Advanced maneuver - think about whether there is a breeze and try not to have one group be downwind of another. 

As we start to wrap our minds around what the next chapter (likely a much longer one) will look like, let’s not forget that the number of deaths in the US now needs a 6th digit. While it appears the world will need the 7th digit, we can pray that the US avoids that dismal milestone.

I don’t need to remind you, but I will anyway. Those +108k US or +385k worldwide deaths are all people who will never get the opportunity to think about what a socially distant in-person visit looks like. Also, keep in mind, their families may look at this conversation differently than folks who don’t yet have someone close to them that has died from COVID. 

Stay emotionally connected and physically distant... and enjoy your Socially Distant Happy Hours (#SDHH) if you choose to partake,


PS: A 2 min explanation on how the virus travels on the skin. I love the simple mind-set here. 

PPS: Not that this group needs more talk of masks but an article came out in the Annals of Internal Medicine that reviews some of the literature and Medscape reviewed it. The way I look at it - they won’t be perfect but they are low cost, cause essentially no harm, help keep your hands off your face, and send a signal to everyone else. If it helps with transmission too, that’s gravy. I’m certainly not going to stop doing other safety measures nor am I going to start doing high-risk behaviors because of them. It’s kinda like all the safety features on a car… seat belts, airbags, antilock brakes, non-shatter glass etc. They all add up.