I long have been under the impression that one meter is about three feet, and hence six feet equals about two meters.

Regulatory responses to COVID-19 have changed many things about our lives.

Unit conversion is one such thing.

In the United States, where the English measurement system prevails, the standard unit for social distancing is six feet.

In Denmark, where the metric system is used, the standard social distance unit is one meter.

So, the COVID-19 conversion comes out like this:

1 meter = 6 feet

See for yourself, from this confirmation service photo, which the caption describes in terms of “én meters afstand” (one meter's distance apart) “og to meters, hvis der er sang” (or two meters, if there's singing):

danske kirke en metres afstand

It’s not only that mathematical relationships convert at a new ratio under COVID policies, but also that material relationships have a new significance. Policies applicable to American churches generally call for six feet of separation (or twelve if singing) plus the wearing of masks. Policies for Danish churches call for one meter of separation (or two if singing), treating masks as optional.

As the same webpage continues: “There is no requirement, that you need to wear a mask inside the church hall, in the cemetary, or elsewhere on the church grounds. If you wear a mask anyway, be aware that it does not allow you to sit closer together (unless you’re from the same household). ... The distance and square meter requirements still apply, even if you’re wearing a mask.”

ikke krav om mundbin

Some countries split the difference: 1.5 meters. Whatever their answers, all of the health officials seem to think science is on their side.

A question worth asking: is epidemiology a branch of biology, or is it a branch of political science?


Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of Into Your Hands LLC and the author of several books, including Rediscovering the American Republic (2 vols.) and Debating Evolution before Darwinism. He lives with his wife Marie and their homeschooled children in Casper, Wyoming, where he serves as Academic Dean at Luther Classical College. He previously taught American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College, 2003–2023 He also serves as President of the Hausvater Project, which mentors Christian parents. For more information, visit www.ryancmacpherson.com.

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