Social Distancing 101
What does “social distancing” actually mean?
Social distancing calls on us to expand our “personal space bubbles” to 6 feet or more.
The goal is to prevent people who have been knowingly or unknowingly infected with a disease agent (e.g. coronavirus), from physically coming in close enough contact to possibly infect other individuals.
*Can’t touch this, dun-nu-nu-nu…*
Social distancing includes individual actions, like avoiding crowded places, and community actions, like temporarily closing schools.
Here are the distancing measures that are currently being recommended across the US.*
- Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Choose take-out or pick up options to avoid restaurants and food courts.
- Avoid travel, shopping trips, and visits with friends or family that are not essential.
- Work or learn from home where possible.
- Stay 6 feet from others when possible. That’s a little longer than a hockey stick!
- This is especially important for people who are showing signs of illness (like coughing, sneezing, or fever)
*Note that city, states, and other regions in the world may suggest varied levels of distancing based on the status of spread or available resources.
Why are we doing it?
Currently, protocols for social distancing aim to slow the spread of the outbreak to reduce the amount of people who could get it all at once AND the total number of people who get it.
A quick surge in illness would make it more difficult for our healthcare system to treat everyone effectively. It’s like having 1,000 dodgeballs getting thrown at you at once instead of a few dodgeballs a minute. It’s much more manageable to defend your team when it’s spread out over time.
This is why you’ve been seeing #flattenthecurve trending:
IMAGE CREDIT: SIOUXSIE WILES AND TOBY MORRIS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Is social distancing really that important? Even for healthy individuals?
YES & YES!
Every single person has tremendous influence on how the novel coronavirus spreads, and the overall effect it has on daily life and our future world.
So, here’s the deal:
- One (that’s right- just ONE!) person can drastically reduce the current rate and spread of infection.
- From young to old, ALL persons can get or spread the virus (note: not all people who get the virus will have symptoms or serious illness, but they can still spread it). That’s why social distancing and hygiene practices are so essential right now.
- Older, immunocompromised &/or people with chronic diseases (like heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) are at higher risk of the illness causing serious complications. We want to avoid anyone getting the virus, but especially those who are most vulnerable.
- Social distancing will be most effective when everyone is on board. Some people aren’t taking it as seriously as our communities need them to be; each of us has a role to play to make this practice accepted and adopted by our peers. An “everyone is doing it” mentality, but for the greater good.
Feeling like you didn’t “sign up” for this?
Instead of seeing social distancing as something someone is forcing you to do, challenge yourself to see it with a new perspective:
It’s your opportunity to play a role in slowing and stopping a pandemic. Sounds pretty cool to me.
What More Can I Do?!
Small commitments, like pledging, can help you take actions that you can be proud of!
Our families, friends, healthcare workers and government officials working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy depend on us. Why do YOU want to slow the spread?
STAND WITH US AND TAKE THE PLEDGE.
- Share our pledge!
- Fill out your pledge reasons, share, and encourage others to fill out!
Where Can I Learn More?
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite articles for you to learn more about what’s happening:
- “Flattening the Coronavirus Curve” (The New York Times): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.html
- “Coronavirus: What is social distancing?” (BBC News): https://www.bbc.com/news/av/health-51966112/coronavirus-what-is-social-distancing
- “Why Experts Are Urging Social Distancing to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak” (UCSF): https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/03/416906/why-experts-are-urging-social-distancing-combat-coronavirus-outbreak
- “What is Social Distancing?” (VeryWellMind): https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-social-distancing-4799570
- “Why Fighting the Coronavirus Depends on You” (Vox): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSQztKXR6k0
- “Lessons From China’s Response To Coronavirus” (Wbur): https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/03/17/lessons-from-chinas-response-to-coronavirus
- “How Social Distancing can help flatten the curve” (CHI St. Luke’s): https://www.chistlukeshealth.org/resources/how-social-distancing-can-help-flatten-curve
- “Coronavirus, Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine” (Johns Hopkins Medicine):https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine
- “It’s Time To Get Serious About Social Distancing. Here’s How” (National Public Radio): https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/17/817251610/its-time-to-get-serious-about-social-distancing-here-s-how
- “Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe” (American Psychological Association):https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/social-distancing
- “Social distancing could buy U.S. valuable time against coronavirus” (Washington Post): https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/10/social-distancing-coronavirus/
- “How families and roommates can effectively self-quarantine, self-isolate” (Johns Hopkins University):https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/23/how-to-self-quarantine-self-isolate/