Why should social distancing be practiced?

Social distancing is important because restricting the amount and duration of contact between people is an effective means of slowing the transmission of illnesses such as the coronavirus. The less people interact with each other and the less mobile they are, the fewer the opportunities for COVID-19 and other diseases to spread. By limiting your movement, avoiding public spaces, and staying at least six feet away from other people in public, you can help slow the spread of disease before it infects a large portion of the community.

Viruses spread quickly throughout human networks, including families, workplaces, and large gathering spaces such as churches, restaurants, and clubs. If a single person has an illness such as COVID-19, their behavior can cause ripple effects as they spread the disease to a handful of other people, and those people spread it to whom they come into contact with in turn. When all these people become sick, health care systems are easily overwhelmed due to a sudden influx of patients. If fewer patients arrive each day and admittance is spread out over several months, there’s a better chance a system will be able to support these patients. The most important reason to practice social distancing is to ensure that hospitals have the resources they need in order to treat patients who require critical care.

In fact, evidence is emerging that containment strategies in Washington State have been successful in slowing the rate of transmission of the coronavirus. Washington was the first state in America to confirm a case of the coronavirus, and authorities took action to contain the spread so that its health system wasn’t overwhelmed.

Although attempting to handle a pandemic can be overwhelming, everyone has a part to play to slow down the spread of illnesses such as COVID-19 in order to protect their health and the health of everyone around them. Along with social distancing, practices such as isolation and self-quarantine can have a definite effect on reducing the infection rate in a community.

 

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