By: Harris Allen
Even when its mid-summer COVID-19 numbers were trending downward, Georgia still had far to go to get the pandemic under control. Our cases are again on the rise as a new surge of COVID engulfs the country. Add the fall seasonal flu and the shared air that more of us are breathing as we return indoors amid falling temperatures, and our near-term population health outlook leaves little room for optimism.
Yet, simple as it sounds, Georgians can collectively work to improve this outlook with individual acts that foster greater, pandemic guideline-concordant, social connection – behaviors that are within easy reach in our daily lives. A systemic effort to cultivate social connection will benefit the desire we all share for a healthier, more wholesome Georgia.
The impact could extend well beyond our state. Even before COVID, the prevalence and severity of social disconnection sufficed to elevate it to a national public health priority. Its correlates, loneliness and social isolation, can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The pandemic has only worsened matters. Georgia could start now with this effort and become a leader on an issue that sorely needs attention across the country.