Chicago Report: Is It Time To Open Parks?

qLxBv1NFQK2GlOwFdmcD4AI am still in Chicago helping with my Mom who remains in hospice at our house on the Northside.  One thing that has brought joy to her is the blooming of her tree outside of her window. It is one of the small pleasures brought by Spring for many people who remain locked in during the pandemic.  I did encounter one dog however who shows that lack of freedom does not mean a lack of opportunity.

I personally found inspiration a few doors down from a dog that made the pandemic work for him. With the parks closed, side streets in Chicago are fairly crowded. This dog has learned to watch people approach and roll a ball in front of them. As soon as they kick it back, they are hooked (as I was) into an endless round of fetch. I have watched this dog for weeks ensnare strollers in a brilliant ploy for endless games of fetch.  He is a testament to confined canines everywhere.

The crowded side streets do undermine the logic of closing the nearby parks.  New York is facing the same problem and considering opening up streets (while closing them to car traffic) to allow greater distancing for people getting fresh air.  In Chicago, it may be time to consider closing certain parts of the parks while allowing people to use the great space for walking and exercise.  Otherwise, people will continue to do so in far more congested areas like the side streets.

Obviously, public health concerns must predominate and there are clearly major concerns to be addressed in a city with a high number of cases.  Chicago is approaching 50,000 cases and there are legitimate risks to be avoided.  Other cities are grabbling with these choices, including Minneapolis which just put some park areas under a new closure order. Yet, there is a serious public policy issue to resolve when park closures could have the unattended consequence of reducing rather than increasing social distancing. Experts are reporting that “quarantine fatigue” are leading to more and more people leaving their homes and defying guidelines.

There are also controversies in Chicago over parties held in defiance of the mayor’s orders.  My observations on the Northside (albeit limited) is that people continue to make efforts to socially distance and many are wearing masks.  However, more and more people are now going out and this means that people are moving into the streets to avoid passing close to others, creating a danger of being hit by cars. As these numbers increase, it may be worth considering opening up space for exercise while still imposing limits on gatherings.  People are already exercising along the edges of the parks in what seems rising numbers.  One option would be to open the park while keeping playgrounds, skate parks and other high-density areas closed.

Besides, I am interested in the next ploy of this dog if traffic slows down. Somehow I think he has a plan. Indeed, I am prepared to join his presidential campaign for 2020.

33 thoughts on “Chicago Report: Is It Time To Open Parks?”

  1. Aloha, professor:

    I wish your mom all the comfort, calm and peace medicine, science and knowledge can provide.

    May your mother live inside your mind and heart every day of your life and then she will never depart.

    If your mother and you were to “believe” there is something more than atoms and the void, then I truly wish for her and you that she breaks through to the other side.

    If you were to put magical thinking and superstition aside for a moment and understand and accept you have the power to think and speak of the mother every day, then your mother’s eternity will truly start.

    Peace, joy and love.

    dennis hanna

  2. What a cute interaction! Thank you for sharing!

    The best part was the dog’s ball reminded me of a coronavirus!

  3. After having been with my mom and wife as they left Hospice care to life eternal (2015 and 2017, respectively) I understand the bittersweet task of “being there to help.” It is an extremely tender time, and I pray for anyone who has that experience that they find their peace and solace in whatever faith the adhere to.

  4. Frist, as a dog owner, I enjoyed the post. We have a Lab who lives to play fetch. I could see him doing this. He already throws his ball through the fence for some reason even though there is no pedestrian traffic near it. I can only surmise that he is offering his ball to dogs who pass by with their owners on a path about 50 feet away. Now for parks and being outside. I live just out of Houston, the fourth largest city in America and very close to Chicago in size. We have a large international presence and a large Asian population. Yet the number of cases – actually, the number who have tested positive – in the Houston area is a fraction of that of northern cities including Chicago, Detroit and, of course, New York City, The reason? Houston’s winter climate is much different. Although we have experienced temperatures below freezing since last November, our temperatures have been mild and even hot since the beginning of the pandemic in January. We’ve had days when the temperatures approached ninety degrees. This has obviously reduced the spread, as the tests revealed at last Thursday’s infamous White House briefing indicate. Scientists, the ones who think outside the box, were observing that the incidence of the virus was far less in regions with warm temperatures and high humidity than in cooler regions. (Of course, pundits in the media like to bring up Singapore – which has a relative few cases.) The media and Democrats are attempting to obscure it, but it’s becoming obvious that sunlight kills the virus and the best place to be in these times is outdoors rather than cooped up inside buildings where the virus is everywhere.

    1. I live in NY. We have not had a winter but Spring since January—no snow where we are on Long Island’s north shore. We’ve had a couple of 70’s yet a very mild Winter—one of the warmest in history. So why the high numbers? Your weather theory is debunked! This is a virus that does what it wants, in case you haven’t noticed.

      Why did India get Covid-19? What about Indonesia and Australia? Temps there are higher than Houston! Red Bull may give you wings but also dulls your brain cells and may leave you without an ability to have an independent thought.

      Must be hard for you to comprehend information from all those scientists and doctors not on Red Bull. They need their brains for Facts.

  5. I wish your family well. It is a wonderful thing to be able to sit with one’s parent and be able to say goodbye. I lost my mom a number of years back and though I wanted to be with her I could only visit at short intervals because I was sleeping at the hospital next to my wife for almost 3 weeks.

    Even on my wife’s return she couldn’t get to my mother’s side immediately but family is so important my mother who wanted to let go didn’t until my wife was strong enough to say goodbye. My mother finally passed peacefully just a couple of hours after our visit.

    My prayers are with you.

  6. My prayers to you for your mother. We went through this with my mom a year ago. It is wonderful that you are able to be with her at this moment. I was just in the city on Sunday visiting with two of my daughters and people were in the parks and in the forest preserves near North Park University. The reason the parks were shut down on the lake was that people were not keeping the proper distance.

  7. Dr. T – In your next writing can you address the censorship by You Tube of Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massih. I listened twice to their very measured (nonviolent, nonhateful) discussion of their findings on COVID and their concern that isolation orders are prolonging and adding harmful repercussions to the US. This censorship needs to be addressed and you should address it.

  8. I. Think it is wonderful you. Are with your mom and wrre able to get to Chicago. I am here in the beautiful Coachella Valley were many retirees. Are totally isolated by strict rules that keep getting more rigid. We have had a heat wave with 100 plus temperatures and the city imposed stricter rules on capacity in stores. Yesterday people were standing outside in 105 temperatures waiting for their turn. We cant even use pools let alone drive two hours to the beach.

  9. The dog there is much like my German shepherds here, throw stick, throw ball, just throw something & play/have fun, but it’s a trap you see. lol;)

    I could be the dog is attempting to get the professor to stub his toe kicking the ball under the gate or break someone’s window throwing the ball.

    And like around here my dogs know my wife won’t blame them for whatever is next that gets broken next she’ll blame me because for some reason she thinks that I’m supposed to be a grown up.

    On the larger topic this US lock down is very troubling legally as there is no such legal authority granted in the USC for this blanket theft of all of our Rights by the Local/State/Fed govts.

    Atty Robert Barns again dives into some of these legal issues last night.

    One could skip ahead to the last 5-10 minutes & get a piece of his summation of the effects, but that makes difficult for most to under the contest of the larger narrative & the Rights we’re losing to the Tyranny of the Medical/White Lab Coats.

  10. God is Dog spelled backwards. Watch what you say to a dog or you may have to answer when you get your interview at the Pearly Gates.

  11. It’s time for a constitutional scholar to start scholarly analysis of this terrible situation. Let’s start with the statement : “Obviously, public health concerns must predominate and there are clearly major concerns to be addressed in a city with a high number of cases” THis is just meaningless statements.

    First, why should public health concerns “predominate”? We rarely let them dominate our decisions on a micro or macro basis. On a Macro basis, we know there are significant amount of fatalities and long term injuries due to automobile accidents. We have never “quarantined” Americans from driving, taking buses, taking taxis. We all know that people who use drugs recreationally have significant changes in their attitude, work ethic, ability to be productive, and other social issues, however many people are encouraging (not quarantining) recreational drug legalization. On a Micro basis, no consults a doctor when they make a home purchase, one of the biggest economic decisions. Everyone calls their banker, appraiser, title analyst, home inspector, maybe even your decorator, and your in-laws. But almost no one makes health the dominating factor in decisions – we constantly weigh it as one of many factors in our decisions – and often it is relatively low on the factor analysis.

    Secondly, the statement conflates the amorphous “cases” with some impending doom – death. Cases can mean everything from people who died to people who were asymptomatic and will NEVER even feel ill but were tested. For context, the CDC estimates there are between 50Milion and 100Million “cases” of flu each year. We aren’t even close and we now know even the death reports have been falsified by governments in almost every state, many who’ve had to retract death numbers due to their counting of UNVERIFIED probables.

    Third, the statement assumes that the hysteria was warranted. Instead, we’ve seen that our health institutions could MORE than handle the COVID situation and that people like Cuomo consistantly lied and misrepresented the health system’s ability to manage it. We created an amazing amount of waste based on his false statements, retrofitting and moving huge military assets, rerouting manufacturing, and ruining the economy and peoples lives with that economic catastrophe.

    Fourth, the whole policy of quarantining the healthy is prima facie wrong! We quarantine the SICK or at risk (though never with this amount of government intrusion on civil liberties) Healthy people are being inhibited from the natural biological property of developing immunity and by closing society we are prolonging the situation. The policy was reactive and far over-reaching, and no civil libertarian or constitutional scholar should continue to endorse it in any way.

    Dr. Turley – you are smarter than this writing suggests. Lose the logical fallacies and apply logic to the situation. It’s not just time to open parks – it’s time to admit that the government policies are in complete opposition to our constitution and civil liberties. Please address this in your next writing!

    1. Why didn’t you come to NYC and ramp up your immune system. No one stopped you in February. Then you could have demonstrated what you “know!” By the way you can go to Iowa now and and join the Purdue family of workers. Iowa is open and looking for workers. Just make sure your life insurance is paid up.

  12. Just be glad that you don’t live in Michigan where you can’t travel to visit family members or set foot on your own property if its separate from your primary domicile.

    1. It’s an absolute waste of public authority to deploy it indiscriminately. We need to address the supply chain problems (which inhibit the distribution of protective equipment, among other things) and we need to refrain from the sort of activities which spread the virus. Travel to small town and rural loci (in a state wherein north of 85% of the cases are in greater Detroit) per se does not spread the virus.

    1. Also, I enjoy seeing the boyhood homes of people I like. I think where you were raised is almost as important as how you were raised. It’s a great house with a welcoming porch on a tree-lined street right out of Norman Rockwell. It explains to me why JT is such a well-adjusted and thoughtful person.

      1. Interesting brickwork next to the keystone on the lower window. I’ve studied all the traditional English brick patterns while doing masonry on my own home, but this style is unique.

        1. TIN:
          Well JT’s dad was an architect! My guess though is that it was done by immigrant Italian brickmasons who always left something distinctive in their work.

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