Coronavirus has infected 2.71 million people and has claimed 191,000 lives around the world. Since there is no vaccine yet to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent this illness is to avoid getting infected. The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets when people are in close contact with one another.
This is the reason why you often hear about social distancing as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus. So, what does social distancing mean, and now can we practice social distancing properly. Read this article to know the answers to these questions and many more.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing or physical distancing means to increase the space between people to avoid spreading disease deliberately. Social distancing is a non-pharmaceutical method of infection prevention. It increases the distance between people who are infected with the virus and those who are not. This process helps to slow down the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the community, which further helps to reduce the mortality of the disease.
Ways to practice social distancing
- Stay at home.
- Avoid taking public transport.
- Avoid social gatherings.
- Work from home.
- Don’t visit bars, restaurants, and movie theatres.
- If you have to go out, stay away from large crowds.
- Try to maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and other people when you go out.
- When to go to public places like grocery stores, pharmacy, use a disinfectant to clean everything you touch.
- If you have to buy groceries, plan to go during off-peak hours when it is less likely to be crowded.
- Wear a cloth mask.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- When you come back home, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
How does social distancing work?
Social distancing is highly effective in breaking or slowing down the chain of transmission of the virus from person to person if done correctly. We now know that people can spread the coronavirus for at least five days before they even begin to show any symptoms. Social distancing helps to limit the total number of people that an infected person comes in contact with before he shows any signs and thus prevent the spread of the virus.
Why is social distancing so crucial during the coronavirus pandemic?
According to the experts, the vaccine for coronavirus is still 12 to 18 months away. Since there are no other tools available to slow down the spread of the virus, social distancing is the only solution possible.
Social distancing helps to stop or slow down the spread of the coronavirus, which helps to decrease the number of positive coronavirus cases at any one time. This tactic helps to ensure that the hospitals don’t get overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, and hospital-level care is available to all the people who need it.
Who should practice social distancing?
Everyone should practice social distancing for it to be effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. You may think that you are healthy and can handle the symptoms of the infection even if you do get infected, but by doing so, you can spread the virus to more vulnerable individuals. Consider social distancing to be an ethical obligation that you have towards society in general.
Can I plan play-dates for my child?
Social distancing doesn’t only apply to school. It means physically distancing yourself from other people. Now that the schools are closed keep your children home and don’t let them mix with other children. Even though children have a very low risk of getting sick from coronavirus disease, they can still be carriers and spread the virus to other people.
Can I take my child to the park if I maintain a six-feet distance?
Taking your children to the park is not a good idea during this time. It is difficult for the children to follow the six-feet distance rule. We also know that coronavirus can remain of hard surfaces like metal and plastic for many hours. So, even if you maintain a distance from others, you or your child can still catch the virus from the swings or slides in the park.
Can I meet my friends if we stay six feet apart?
Yes, you can meet a friend or a neighbor and talk to them as long as you are six feet apart. However, you should use this option only if it is a must. Connecting with your friends over zoom or face time is a much safer option.
Is it safe to eat at restaurants or order meals?
You should avoid eating out in restaurants and bars as it is tough to maintain a safe six-feet distance from others. Many restaurants are open for delivery during shut-down. Since there is no evidence of catching coronavirus from food, you can opt for delivery.
However, if you are immunocompromised, it is safer to order takeout rather than uncooked food like sandwiches and salads. Cooking at high temperatures kills the virus. You should also take a few precautions while ordering takeout –
- Pay the tip in advance to minimize interaction.
- Let the driver leave the food you ordered at your doorstep.
- Wait until the driver has gone before you pick up the food.
- Remove the food from the takeout container and then dispose of the container.
- After you dispose of the container, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Clean the surface where you unpacked the food with a disinfectant.
Can I visit my elderly relatives?
The federal government has asked people to stay away from retirement facilities and nursing homes unless they are there to provide critical care facilities. Many younger people, including children, with COVID-19, do not show any symptoms. So, there is a high risk that you may infect your grandparents or older relatives inadvertently.
If your older relatives are staying independently, ensure that they are well-stocked with food supplies and medication. Social isolation can be tough on the elderly. So, you must keep in touch with them through the phone or video calling.
What about a scheduled doctor’s visit?
If it is not essential, you must reschedule it for a time when the virus is under control. Call up your doctor before you go for your appointment. If the situation is serious and the doctor needs to see you, he will call you. Otherwise, he will reschedule the visit for a later date.
Can I continue dating?
You can’t meet in person, but you can go on a virtual date. Face Time, hangout, Skype, or Zoom are some of the options that you can try. You can watch a movie together or play some online games together.
Social distancing is here to stay, at least for the next few weeks. While maintaining a physical distance from others cannot prevent the spread of coronavirus completely, you can slow down the spread of the coronavirus if you follow a few simple rules. Social distancing helps to keep the number of cases of COVID-19 low (flattening the curve) so that the hospitals don’t get overwhelmed. Follow the rules of social distancing and help to stop the spread of coronavirus.
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