What we need to flatten the curve is physical distancing. What we need for our mental health is distant socializing. Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki explains:
We should think of this time as “physical distancing” to emphasize that we can remain socially connected even while being apart. In fact, I encourage all of us to practice “distant socializing.” Ironically, the same technologies we often blame for tearing apart our social fabric might be our best chance, now, of keeping it together. […]
FaceTime, Zoom and other tools like these are our friends right now. We know to use these tools for meetings and teaching but why stop there? In my opinion, we should also use them for much less formal interactions – digital “hanging out.” When we meet in person, we don’t expect every minute to be productive or scintillating. We kibitz, dawdle and goof off, and those “in-between moments” are vital to a sense of connection. Find ways to replicate them online.
A selection of links I have found useful. Please note that I am not an expert in contagious disease or pandemics. This is a post in progress, it will be updated as I come across information I find valuable for my own understanding.
In the end, the most honest answer to the question of why the Covid-19 virus is killing thousands of people, why infectious diseases ravage humanity and why there is suffering at all is: We don’t know. For me, this is the most honest and accurate answer. One could also suggest how viruses are part of the natural world and in some way contribute to life, but this approach fails abjectly when speaking to someone who has lost a friend or loved one. An important question for the believer in times of suffering is this: Can you believe in a God that you don’t understand?
But if the mystery of suffering is unanswerable, where can the believer go in times like this? For the Christian and perhaps even for others the answer is Jesus.