The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for social distancing, quarantine and isolation so that vulnerable individuals are not exposed to the virus and health care systems are not overwhelmed.

Collectively, we understand the goodness of “flattening the curve” by each of us doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is not the only epidemic we are facing. Separating ourselves because of COVID-19 comes at a time when America and many other countries are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness — and the antidote is greater positive social connection.

Our current situation — the simultaneous need to reduce physical distance and to increase social, or relational, connection and not see a further rise in loneliness — presents a challenge for us all. Ignoring the need for connection at this time is not an option.

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