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Age-restriction of interaction for well-being

When a driver could be at risk from age and health, their licence application is carefully screened. We don’t slow down all the traffic to make it safe for them.
If 92% of road deaths were aged 60+, would it be more logical to stop drivers aged 60+ from driving, or reduce traffic by restricting everyone’s social and economic interaction? To March 30th 2020 92% of World deaths from COVID-19 were 60+. Social restriction of 65+ would enable 65- to have a life, economic recovery and the community to pay for the panic.


Suppose an imaginary country has 92% of road deaths aged 60+. To March 30th 2020 92% of World deaths from COVID-19 were 60+. Would they close the highway to all traffic? (Shut down the economy). Or would they restrict maximum speed of drivers of all ages? (Social distancing). Or would some age-specific control be desirable, e.g. driver licensing age restrictions on 60+? (Restricted by quarantine, some of the 60+ group would die of non-traffic causes anyway. In Australia in 2018, 87.5% of all deaths were 60+).

Considering only 8% of people who die are 60-, equal speed restriction on all ages might be unfair to younger drivers. Could driver licensing exclude those incapable of looking after themselves in accident situations, as well as those causing others to have accidents. There could be a speed limit for 60+.

The COVID -19 corollary is that in the 60+ age group, anyone unwilling to isolate or socially distance voluntarily, could have to pass a health and fitness test. Alternatively there could be mandatory restrictions on 60+ years.

60+ people who want more protection could restrict themselves voluntarily. For example, if it was known to be foolish for an elderly person to enter a shopping crowd, they would have a choice, like waiting for a gap in traffic before crossing the road.

My comments do not oppose current restrictions. When restrictions come up for renewal, could a return to voluntarism be considered? Any restriction could be by age. This could restore social, economic and education opportunities to 60- people who are hurting.


Restrictions on social behaviour could change how we act and think for long after the COVID-19 epidemic ends.

Proxemics is the study of how interpersonal distances and spaces affect human interaction, regulated by body language and communication. Individuals have intimate, personal, social and public zones, at increasing radii. If access to each other’s intimate zone up to 0.50 metres away is denied, intimate interaction would be reduced, affecting particularly relations between family members. Keeping people more than 1.0 metres away would exclude them from the personal zone, with a diminution of correspondence about matters of personal significance, such as observations and opinions. At social distances beyond, out to 4 metres, exchange of acknowledgement, greetings, humorous quips, retorts and peremptory comments are more likely. Further away, in the public zone, information might be broadcast by a speaker, or received by an audience member, without having individual personal content.

Besides reducing transmission of the virus, social distancing will reduce intimacy and personal expression. A role of near-distance interaction is to maintain and build a relationship, with communication of beliefs and negotiation of differences with others. When individuals are less closely involved and have to deal with each other less intimately, with others looking on, there could be winners and losers. Winners could be individuals who prefer to operate alone and at a distance from others without being closely questioned. Losers could be without familiar advice and encouragement from intimate relatives and personal friends who they rely on for satisfying interactions.

Remedial alternatives for social distancing are talking remotely, phoning, texting, messaging, posting on social media, email letter writing, representation by another or even engaging in identity politics. Compared with face-to-face talking and listening in a chat, they lack emotion, spontaneity, nuances, vernacular and inflections. Their communication may be more reflective, cerebral, figurative and empathetic. Consequences of substituting superficial interaction at nearer distances, with more deliberative distant modes, would be significant for well-being, independence and creativity.

Isolation would have different effects.

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