In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most often heard phrases is the need to perform “social distancing”. Although we hear it daily, many are still not sure what it really is and why it is so important.
When talking about social distancing, it’s important to clarify why we even have to do it. Coronavirus, the reason behind the global pandemic and lockdown is an airborne disease, which means it’s transferred through airborne droplets from one person to another.
According to the CDC reports, coronavirus can spread via droplets to the distance of 8+ ft (2.4m) which means you can be infected if the person carrying the virus is within that distance.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is a set of measures taken to prevent the spread of contagious diseases such as coronavirus and similar airborne diseases. Its main goal is to slow down the spread of diseases and “flattening the curve”. This term, that you must’ve heard many times until now is important as it describes the current needs of our medical system. “Flattening the curve” is an expression that signifies the importance of lowering the rapid spread of illness in order for the medical system to cope with sick patients. In cases where many people need medical assistance at the same time, not all of them may get it, as hospitals have limited beds, respirators, and medical staff. By slowing down the spread, hospitals will have to deal with sick patients over a longer period of time, making it possible to offer proper treatment to all of them.
By practicing social distancing, you’re not only lowering your chance of contracting COVID-19, but are helping our doctors, nurses, and all supporting medical staff.
Toby Morris (Spinoff.co.nz) / CC BY-SA
How to practice social distancing?
The most important thing is to follow the national guidelines for battling coronavirus. Whether you’re fully quarantined or you’re still working, there are some basics you should follow.
When going outside:
- Keep a distance of a minimum of 6 ft (2m).
- If you have a mask, feel free to put it on, especially if you have any symptoms.
- Do not gather in groups.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizers often.
- Stay out of crowded places.
- If possible, avoid public transportation and use stairs instead of elevators.
- Put your hair in a ponytail or a bun.
- Avoid touching your hands and mouth.
When coming back home:
- Leave your footwear outside your apartment.
- Wash your hands for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Put your clothes in the washing machine or air them outside.
While being at home:
- Try keeping a distance of a minimum of 3 feet (1m) from the other members of your household.
- Wash hands after handing bought goods and wash and peel the products that cannot be thermally treated (cooked, baked, boiled, fried).
- Air out the living space at least once a day for an hour.
- Shop online (if possible).
- Work from home (if possible).
We all know this situation is new and different from our daily lives, making it harder to cope with. The spread of COVID-19 can only be prevented if we’re all taking all the necessary precautions. We’re all in this together and only together we can go through it. Remember, coronavirus cannot be transferred by itself, only by people who aren’t following the rules.
If not for yourself, do it for your mother, grandmother, pregnant friend or a sick cousin. They’re counting on you.