Humans are social creatures. We have evolved from couples, to clans to larger communities. Social interaction forms the basis of our families, our governments, and even our global economy. Social interaction even plays a major part in our mental health. For most, experiencing social distancing, being quarantined, or isolated, is just not in our nature. I thought this an opportune time to share the vernacular being used today and a bit of its history.
According to the CDC, social distancing involves remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance from others when possible. Some health professionals are increasingly encouraging the term physical distancing as a clearer alternative to social distancing as it underscores the importance of keeping physical distance between people to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The term additionally makes clear that people should still spend time with friends and family using digital technology and social media when they are physically separated.
People are put in quarantine when they are not currently sick but have been or may have been exposed to a communicable disease. Quartantine comes from the Italian word quarantina, a period of 40 days which even has Latin roots from the word quadraginta, also meaning “forty.” Historically, a quarantine referred to a period – originally of 40 days – imposed upon ships when suspected of carrying an infectious or contagious disease. This practice was done in Venice in the 1300’s in an effort to stave off the Black Plague.
Isolation is when someone or something is set apart from other persons or things. In a medical sense, isolation happens when a person is infected with a communicable disease and is separated from people who are healthy. First recorded around 1825-35, isolation comes from the same root as insulation: the Latin insulatus, “made into an island,” based on insula, “island.”. During these times, it is important to engage in activities that make you happy – read a good book, garden, binge watch your favorite shows, play an instrument, or just listen to your favorite music, and keep in contact with each other.
Solitude and Rotary are at opposite ends of the spectrum. This is a time for us to think outside of the box. In addition to compiling your anecdotes in a weekly format, I will be thinking of ideas, sharing ideas from other Clubs with our Board, to continue to connect with each and every one of you during this period of physical distancing.
We will get through this together! Be well!
Yours in Rotary Service,
Michelle Corradetti, President
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