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Discussion: Drawing the line

in: veinbuster; veinbuster > 2020-04-01

Apr 3, 2020 12:38 PM # 
Wise thinking. I had that conversation this week with a friend who asked Facebook for input on his idea to sneak out to paddle on a lake that is mostly within a closed recreation area. Of course he was planning to do it safely, which is what everyone plans. Here’s what I wrote. In the end, he decided not to go.

First of all, I totally get it. These days, the time I spend outside is even more therapeutic than usual, and I acknowledge the privilege of being able to walk out my back door into our forest. I'm trying to limit my outings to places that are very close to home where I am unlikely to see a soul.

I worked in public health IT during SARS so I think about the collective impact of our actions. If you or I drive somewhere for an outdoor activity, we'll have to visit a (potentially infectious) gas station a little sooner. There's a small risk of a car accident requiring help from first responders and health care providers. There's a small risk of a paddling accident. There's a small risk we might accidentally touch something or be approached too closely by someone.

For any one person, these risks are extremely small. But across a population, the risks become meaningful. And every infected person has a significant effect on the curve.

Also, even though I believe I know how to reduce risk to a very low level, I think about whether I'm being a good role model. If people see me out somewhere, they'll be more inclined to think it's OK. Maybe they'll go out too because they see other people doing it. Maybe they'll use other parts of the park. Maybe they won't be as careful as I was. Maybe they'll bring a friend because they figure they can be 6' apart in a canoe. Or maybe they'll touch a washroom door or forget to wash their hands or visit Grandma afterward. I might trust myself but do I trust all of them?

I think we are less than a week away from a more formal lockdown where outdoor activities will be even more restricted. So this will likely be a moot point soon.
Apr 3, 2020 5:41 PM # 
That was pretty much my thought process. I see so many variations on social distancing from the house that I don’t want anything I do to encourage a looser standard.

I have access to quite a bit once our isolation period expires. Depending on what else gets closed off. Traffic on our end of the river trail has been pretty light. We rarely see half a dozen people over the course of a meal.

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