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As Forest Hills Cemetery shuts its grounds to the public, the Arnold Arboretum vows to stay open

The day after Forest Hills Cemetery locked its gates to the public, the Harvard Gazette posts an interview with Arboretum Director Ned Friedman on the importance of keeping his grounds open during a pandemic, at least as long as people practice social distancing:

There’s a huge amount of science that speaks to the benefits of being in nature. The obvious one is physical health. If you are just walking you’re doing something that is good for your body physically. For children, there are cognitive benefits. There are benefits for adults in reducing anxiety, lowering stress levels, and becoming less likely to ruminate on negative thoughts.

Science aside, I remember the last major stress to the system in Boston and that was the Marathon bombings. We were all on lockdown, confined to our houses. I live two blocks from the Arnold Arboretum. When we finally got the all-clear from the city of Boston, I went to the Arboretum. And I was not the only one. Huge numbers of people poured in because, like me, they needed a connection back to nature to deal with the agony and the pain and the darkness of what had just happened.

Still, the Arboretum and the city and state have worked to reduce the odds of overcrowding, mainly by blocking off parking spaces along the Arborway and Bussey Street. The Arboretum has also installed signs reminding people to stay at least six feet away from other people and has brought on additional "Arboretum Ambassadors" to remind people not to congregate in groups.

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Comments

"Science aside,"

And that's where I stopped reading...

But I'm a glutton for punishment so I kept going, and...


"When we finally got the all-clear from the city of Boston, I went to the Arboretum. And I was not the only one. Huge numbers of people poured in because, like me, they needed a connection back to nature to deal with the agony and the pain and the darkness of what had just happened."

OMGWTFJFC!!!! STOP TALKING TO NED!!!!!

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You managed to get to that point deep in the interview but somehow missed all the stuff before it in which Williams talk about the science of open spaces and only after that talked about the psychological aspects. What's the speed reading class that taught you to read like that?

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While Forest Hills station remains open. MIT Professor Jeffrey Harris just published his work on how subways seeded the massive coronavirus epidemic.

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Those interested in that study may also want to check out this article at citylab.com.

Notable quotes -the whole article is not very long and well worth reading.

"The study has been widely panned. Over the past week, mathematicians, infectious disease researchers, and transit policy experts have criticized Harris’ methods, warning that he fails to provide statistical evidence and ignores significant confounding factors."

"Transit researchers also warn that no such dramatic links between transit use and viral spread have been found elsewhere in the world. As one case in point, the city with the world’s longest subway system, Seoul, may also the among the very best at controlling Covid-19. The fact that the most recent rises in infections are happening in rural parts of the U.S. might also give credulous readers pause."

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2020/04/coronavirus-cases-new-yor...

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Harris is an economist. He is not an epidemiologist. He is not an infectious disease expert.

Actual public health and medical researchers love nothing more than economists telling us how we are doing it all wrong ... and proceeding to show everyone how to do it all wrong through their ignorance and neglect of established methods for doing public health research.

They are right up there with the Physics Guy Who Knows Everything about Any Science, who then throws out all the real-world observational data.

It is really and truly the professional academic equivalent of "mansplaining".

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Plenty of dense cities with better subways than Boston have better controlled th virus. Subways did not seed the massive coronavirus epidemic, incompetence at the federal level did.

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Several years ago the management ceased the public events. The message was clear: If you're alive stay out.

This is their attempt to justify shutting down the cemetery.

I will not be surprised if this new rule is maintained even a magical cure suddenly rained upon everyone.

The excuse of too many people is absurd. Out doors the likelihood of spreading the virus is considerably less. The important of being outdoors is considerably greater.

If Forest Hills needs to be shut down then every open space in the city needs to be shut down. A cemetery does not make Forest Hills someone a greater vector than any other place.

Sounds like a skin flint group of folks who have finally found an excuse to tell all but the dead: STAY OUT!

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... of why the operators of Forest Hills changed (seemingly quite abruptly) from welcoming the public (and allowing events that attracted the public) to shutting down everything that might attract the public (even poetry readings and chamber music performances that would not attract crowds -- unlike the Lantern Festival and Day of the Dead festivities).

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Couldn't be because it might detract from their core business - being a cemetery?

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... they made a big deal of how important it was for them to do them. If you don't find this behavior unusual, well, there's little I can say to change your mind.

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Mount Auburn Cemetery never had the splashy public art and festivals that Forest Hills did for a while, but it has always had a small number of chapel concerts, poetry readings, public lectures, and the like. Last year, they also had a few outdoor acoustic concerts next to the greenhouses. I expect these events to resume once the cemetery reopens to the public.

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