When Can You Hug Again? 511 Epidemiologists Have the Answer.

The post-coronavirus return time for 20 everyday activities, from school to concerts

Marco Bianchetti / Unsplash

When can you safely hug a friend outside of your isolation bubble again?

About a year from now, according to 511 epidemiologists surveyed by the New York Times. The newspaper surveyed epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists about when they personally expect to resume 20 activities of daily life, “assuming that the pandemic and the public health response to it unfold as they expect.”

The good news is that they’re all for getting outside, starting now. “Fresh air, sun, socialization and a healthy activity will be just as important for my mental health as my physical well-being,” as Anala Gossai, a scientist at Flatiron Health, told the Times.

Note that these are personal opinions, not officially recommended guidelines, and that they do depend on the area of the person surveyed (available testing, percentage of infected, safety measures, etc.).

A few activities that most epidemiologists feel comfortable restarting now or soon include: non-urgent doctor appointments, bringing in mail without precautions and driving-distance vacations. Later in the year, the majority of the specialists would be comfortable in a shared office, riding public transportation, eating at a dine-in restaurant or taking a flight.

As for things to wait on? Attending a funeral or wedding, going out with someone you don’t know well, attending a sporting event or, unfortunately, not wearing a mask.

Interestingly, there was some disagreement, primarily with haircuts and salon visits: 41% of the health experts said they’d make an appointment this summer, but 19% would wait a year.

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