How does social distancing work?

Everyone learns at a young age to cough or sneeze into their elbow to prevent getting others sick. Signs describing this action are often posted on public transport vehicles like trains and buses as well as other public places that receive high traffic during peak flu season every year. Another strategy that is showing to be helpful for preventing spreading disease is called social distancing.

In contrast to just being conscious of where you sneeze or cough, social distancing is a more drastic precaution that is beginning to take hold globally during the Coronavirus pandemic, a virus also known as COVID-19. This disease is known to spread incredibly fast from person to person even when they haven’t been showing symptoms, which sometimes take up to 14 days to appear.

What does social distancing mean?

The basics of how social distancing works is as follows:

  • Avoiding going out to do anything but essential tasks like grocery shopping.
  • Stay 6 feet or 2 meters apart from others.
  • Remember the importance of washing one’s hands for at least 20 seconds! Good hygiene practices will also help prevent the spread of disease.

To practice social distancing means there should be no physical contact like handshakes, hugs, etc. The goal is to protect and reduce the number of cases among high-risk populations, these people include the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. People are hoping that the use of social distancing will help “flatten the curve” which is the theoretical predicted number of people who will become infected with COVID-19

Essential businesses are using large dots or X’s to guide people on where to stand, keeping that safe 6 feet apart from one another at all times. Grocery stores are controlling the amount of people that go in at one time, colleges have turned to online classes, employers have mandated that employees work from home, churches have moved to online services. Overall, people are collaborating to help aid in the implementation of social distancing in an effort to protect those at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.


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