Social Distancing Will Have Long Term Effects

Isolation and distancing could transform fundamental aspects of our “social infrastructure” says one professor.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has sent the United States economy into an almost total closure and shutdown of public life. 

“There’s something extraordinary about this moment because everything is up for grabs right now.” — Eric Klineberg, New York University

Social isolation and distancing policies have kept people at home, and no amount of free, streaming entertainment can replace the “social infrastructure” that people have built it. 

Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson looked at what the longterm effects of social distancing could be.

Listen: NYU Social Science Professor On How Coronavirus Could Transform Society


Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Social Science at New York University, author of the book “Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.”

Klineberg explains that “we went from a society that prized social gatherings and interactions face-to-face into one where everyone is sheltering at home. People are living alone at a rate that we’ve never seen before.”

He adds that the aftermath of the pandemic could translate into huge systemic changes for society.

“There’s something extraordinary about this moment because everything is up for grabs right now. I think this could be a time of massive social change,” he says, pointing to the internet, which he believes could be turned into a utility after the pandemic calms down. 

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.