“Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Is Dangerous Language

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“Stay home” and “stay healthy” reinforce misconceptions about how many people live—with the risk of doing more harm than good. Pictured: A Southern California freeway. (Russ Allison Loar)

“Stay home, stay healthy” has become a slogan of the moment.

The phrase responds to a clear and urgent need to reduce contact between people to keep the novel coronavirus from spreading faster than our hospitals can respond.

Yet this can be a careless way to encourage physical distancing.

As a medical anthropologist with expertise in how people interpret health policies, I am worried about the broader social implications of normalizing the expressions “stay home” and “stay healthy.” They reinforce misconceptions about how many people live, with the risk of doing more harm than good. 

“Stay Home”

First, let’s consider “stay home.” Homelessness is…

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