By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are a lot of things we miss with social distancing restrictions in place, including human contact.

Some people are asking if hugging is still OK, even if precautions are taken.

That’s what’s missing with social distancing. The person-to-person connection that we all wish we could have with loved ones, friends and even acquaintances. I know I miss it.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

But here’s what we all have to remember — social distancing, quarantine, lockdown, whatever you want to call it, is working. It’s saving lives.

In cities, states and countries where strict distancing has been in place, it clearly has diminished the spread of the coronavirus. In New York State, after just a few weeks, it is flattening the curve and should soon lead to getting on the down slope of the curve.

So what to do if you want to hug your daughter or other loved one?

Now we’re talking about playing the odds. If you are both wearing masks, both have gloves on and are wearing long pants and sleeves that you can wash later, then you’ve done everything you can to minimize the transmission of the virus during a hug.

But you are still taking a chance.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

How big a chance? Impossible to say.

Are either of you showing signs of being sick or have a chronic illness? Have you really been isolated from anyone who might have been infected? How long are you going to hug? How close will you be face-to-face? And a hundred other variables.

Only you and your loved one can balance that risk against the need for a human connection, which by the way, studies have shown to be good for your health.

RELATED STORY: Social Distancing Is Especially Hard On Huggers, And There’s A Scientific Reason Why

Look at it this way — our strict social isolation may be relaxed in a few weeks or so. It feels like a long time, but if one of you gets sick from your hug, that’s a lot of guilt you’ll carry for much longer.

For the top questions people have been asking about the coronavirus, visit cbsnewyork.com/max, and go to facebook.com/cbsnewyork to submit your question.

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