California community howls to stay connected in quarantine

Mill Valley has found a nightly way to connect while everyone is shut-in: A group howl erupts each night at 8 p.m., and it's gathering more voices as it goes along. 

It fits into a worldwide phenomenon, with the hashtag #Solidarityat8. 

Videos show people honking horns, flashing lights, shouting and cheering in unison at the same time each night to show support for hard-working health care workers.     

Mill Valley, a city where coyotes roam, used the wild animals for inspiration.   

"I just said, let's do that, let's howl, like coyotes, this will be our own thing," said Hugh Kuhn, who got it started on his neighborhood Next Door site and watched it spread this week. 

Thursday night, a cacophony of noise echoed from distant streets and canyons for a full five minutes. 

"Yips and barks and yodels and all sorts of fun stuff, sometimes people will come out and play a guitar," said Kuhn.  "And it will change and evolve over time, maybe you can't howl every night but it's pretty fun to hear." 

Community spirit has emerged in nations hard-hit by COVID-19.

In Italy, residents play music and sing to each other on their balconies. 

In Spain, people bang pots and pans together en masse.

For those participating in Mill Valley, it's a welcome ritual and respite from the daily routine.

"Everybody is getting a sense of community and getting out a shriek of madness and fun, said Jim Goldberg, who lets a yodel or two fly each night.

"We're socializing in a pack way, trying to show that we're still social animals even if we're confined in our houses," said Goldberg.

Dogs and wild turkeys chime in to the din, clearly confused. 

And as quickly as it begins, residents go back inside to their social isolation, knowing they are not at all, alone. 

"It's not a howl of frustration, it's a howl of 'thank you' first and foremost, and it's a howl of connectedness," said Kuhn. 

Debora Villalon is a reporter forKTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU