Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to limit the spread of infections by ensuring sufficient physical distance between individuals. Measures to ensure social detachment reduces the chance of close contact between people, reduces the transmission potential of diseases between people and slows the spread of diseases.
Why is Social Distancing Important?
Simply put, this means that people must remain far enough apart to prevent coronavirus pathogens from spreading from one person to another. These include isolating infected people, quarantining potentially infected people, and separating people from others in general. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes social distancing as one of the most common methods of prevention, “staying away from mass gatherings and staying away from other people.”
The idea is to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus by reducing the number of people who fall ill simultaneously and overwhelm the medical system. In practice, social distancing usually means avoiding public spaces where people do not live, where surfaces can be contaminated, such as public toilets. Staying away from mass events not only reduces the chances of contracting COVID-19 but also prevents the spread of other diseases. Social distancing is especially necessary for the ongoing pandemic, as there is currently no vaccine to protect you from the circulating virus, otherwise known as SARS-CoV2.
Dos and Don’ts of Social Distancing
- Minimize face-to-face contact by avoiding handshakes, scheduling meetings over the phone or the Internet, and avoiding face-to-face contact in public places such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.
- Maintain a considerable personal distance from people in case of symptoms of illness. The six-feet limit is because the respiratory droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and other behaviours from an ill person’s nose or mouth will move up to six feet away.
- Please maintain sufficient distance and be careful when outside with profoundly touched areas.
- Don’t go to a health care facility like hospitals, clinics, dispensaries unless it is essential.
- Don’t visit adults over 60 years of age or anyone else who may have a weaker immune system unless you have to do so. However, senior citizens can stay safe at home by maintaining social distance and by having food with rich nutrients to immune themselves.
- Social distancing is not equivalent to emotional distancing. You should use communication tools like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. to communicate with your closed ones. In reality, now might be a time to step up your communication and make sure your loved ones don’t feel too alone and disconnected.
- Don’t let your kids play with other kids in close physical contact.
- DON’T let yourself starve or be without essential items and services. Social isolation again does not mean cutting off yourself from society. It’s OK to go out to get what you need or order delivery, but try to find situations that allow you to minimize contact with other people during transactions.
- DO understand that there is a great deal of scientific evidence to support the use of social distancing to minimize the risk of spread of the virus. Social distancing can be very useful in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses and reducing the number of people who are eventually infected.
- Don’t organize major meetings or conferences, or participate in such gatherings with a large number of people.
- Do not go to places like grocery stores, Kirana stores or the laundry room during peak hours. Select off-hours to shop.
- Do you know everybody is in this together? Ironically, it is about bringing people together and not physically together that we practice social distancing.
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Don’t panic and do not stockpile items. Government has clearly said that the supplies for all the essentials will be continued without any interruption. So don’t go running on shops and hoarding food items. It will only increase the panic and worsen the situation.
Social distancing can be difficult since human beings are social creatures, after all. It can feel weird, disoriented or disconnected to have to keep your distance. So look for other ways to stay in contact with others like your computer, social media, or webcams. If performed well, social distancing can be an efficient way to prevent the spread of a virus. So bear in mind that we are all in this together to fight this pandemic, but not that physically close together.