What Is Social Distancing And Why Is It Important?
COVID-19 continues to grow and spread at a rapid speed worldwide. Government officials and health experts around the world are firmly warning families and individuals to quarantine themselves and maintain social distancing.
If you are living under a rock, this is what COVID-19 is and what we know so far:
World Health Organization (WHO) has announced COVID-19 as a global Pandemic. Someone with COVID-19 usually shows symptoms like Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath, Sore throat, and other mild symptoms like fatigue, headaches, chills, nausea, and even diarrhea. Although, these mild symptoms are less frequently found. The problem lies with the fact that individuals with the virus don’t show symptoms right away. People experience mild symptoms but in 20% of cases, the disease can manifest in a more serious way which could develop the severity of the condition to the point where patients are dying. Elderly people with underlying chronic diseases have a more difficult time to overcome the virus. The virus also seems to be more contagious than the common flu. Even if you touch a surface where the virus lives and put your hand on your mouth, your eyes or your nose; you could get infected.
It can take multiple days before you feel sick and show any symptoms. Even if you feel healthy you can still pass it along to others and that’s how the virus has been so effective at spreading across the world so quickly. The number of cases keeps multiplying along with the number of people going to the hospital each day. This is causing the hospitals to be full and that is how the crisis began as people with severe cases of COVID-19 could not get treatment and some who could have been saved died. Countries like Italy went from 100 to more than 5000 cases in less than two weeks. A lot of people died because they couldn’t get into the hospitals.
These are the current number of cases worldwide:
As of 2nd April 2020, 16:02 IST, The total number of Coronavirus cases worldwide are 946,875. The total number of deaths worldwide so far are 48,135. The total number of patients recovered worldwide is 200,317. These are the current number of cases in India: The total number of cases in India is 2032. The total number of deaths in India is 58. The total number of patients recovered in India is 148. Source
So, What is Social Distancing?We can avoid unnecessary deaths caused by COVID-19 by isolating ourselves and avoiding public transportation, the office, crowded places, and even small social gatherings. You decrease your chances of getting the disease and spreading it. This is called social distancing. If enough of us do it the virus still spreads but at a much slower pace. Over time many people might still get infected but fewer severe cases show up to the hospital each day, never overwhelming the hospital system. Social distancing aims to slow the spread of the virus by giving the global health system more time to care for patients who need help, also known as flattening the curve. More and more countries are advising people to take social measures, including banning public gatherings and closing schools. It is most effective when used against an infection that can be transmitted by contact droplets such as coughing or sneezing, as is the case with the coronavirus. Avoiding places where one can encounter contaminated surfaces is the most important part of social distancing.
Why is social distancing important?Up until recently, WHO had advised people to maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from each other. But a recent study conducted by MIT researchers states that the droplets of COVID-19 can travel up to a range of 27 feet. At this point, every day we are discovering something new about the virus and how it can spread. The best thing we all can do to be safe is to stay quarantined and avoid contact with others altogether. Social distancing could be a great way to bond with your family and your kids while you are stuck at home. Comprehend participating in activities that don’t involve crowds along with them. We need to reduce our social interactions and behaviors by 75% to slow down the spread of the coronavirus and social distancing is not just about protecting ourselves, in many cases, it’s about protecting others. COVID-19 has an incubation period of roughly 2 weeks. Social distancing is more about physical distance, you can still stay in touch with friends and family members using technology. Don’t forget to disinfect your tech gadgets regularly too.
Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. So, the only way to slow the spread is to limit contact between people. We need to find our social contacts in our family and our core groups or find ways to connect with people digitally.
How to cope while you are quarantined?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, the fears associated with pandemics are emotionally, psychologically, and physically difficult to manage. Research has shown that this type of short-term isolation can have potentially negative effects on mental health, physical health, and the health of those around you. It is important to find ways to protect your mental health when you are in quarantine.
Keeping in touch with others over the phone or social media and maintaining some sort of structure is one of the most important ways you can manage your quarantine. Similarly, it is advisable to stay busy, find friends and family members who can talk to you regularly and make a plan to talk to family and friends all day long by text, video or phone.
This may seem obvious, but if you are stuck in one place for an extended period, it is no excuse to end your regular health routine. Sleep well, eat right and exercise when you are physically able to do so. This helps you to stay in touch with other people without feeling like you have nothing new to say, and also helps you with your mental health. Try to avoid alcohol or drugs to cope with the stress of isolation and quarantine.
Do’s and Don’ts
In a coronavirus pandemic, common courtesy can help protect others. As the virus spreads globally and disrupts our lives more, we should develop new habits and avoid certain bad behaviors. You can help slow down the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself and your loved ones by following these tips along with your family members and friends:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Try not to touch your face if you feel sick.
- Always wear a mask and a pair of gloves when in public.
- Do what you can to prevent someone from bringing the virus into your home by washing everyone’s hands and changing their clothes as soon as they return home.
- Try to minimize contact as much as possible, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and look for signs when someone is not doing well.
- If someone gets sick, isolate yourself and contact a doctor.
- Do not ignore social distancing
- Don’t put others in uncomfortable situations by standing near people, coughing in the fresh air or shaking hands.
- Look at your old or sick family to see if you can do something to help them.
- Avoid discrimination because it can isolate people who can drive people to hide their illness and can even prevent them from seeking medical care.
- DO talk about the new coronavirus but DON’T attach locations or ethnicity to the disease.
- Do Share accurate information about risk from COVID-19 but Don’t repeat or share rumors that are not confirmed.
- Do talk positively and emphasize the effectiveness of preventative measures such as hand washing but Don’t emphasize or dwell on the negatives.
- Most importantly use your social media accounts to spread facts.