What is This “Social Distancing” Everyone Keeps Talking About?

“Social Distancing” has become the new buzz word of 2020. But, for those of us who don’t really get it yet, what does this mean? And why should we do it?

(Illustration: Ari Saperstein for LAist): https://laist.com/2020/03/19/your_no-panic_guide_am_i_doing_social_distancing_right.php

Social distancing, as defined by John Hopkins medicine, is intentionally increasing space between people in order to slow or stop the spread of a disease or illness. What does this look like in our modern world? Some examples of social distancing include:

  • keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and another person
  • working from home instead of your usual workplace
  • cancelling conferences, meetings, or other large gatherings
  • postponing or cancelling large events such as concerts
  • transitioning to online classes
  • visiting with family or friends through devices (apps like FaceTime, Skype, etc.)

Now, some of these things may not be possible for everyone. Service workers (people working in supermarkets, cleaners, fast food, etc.) may not be able to stop working or work from home. However, still taking precautions and practicing social distancing when possible is extremely important to limiting the spread of illness. Not only for your safety, but for the safety of the community and those around you, should you practice social distancing.

So, why is this important right now? Due to the widespread infections of coronavirus, it is extremely important to practice social distancing and limit social interactions. Staying home at all times possible can prevent the virus from being further spread. Even if you feel like you may not be at risk, you could infect other people without even knowing it. This could be especially dangerous to elderly and immunocompromised individuals.

If you do feel like you have been exposed to coronavirus or have been travelling, stay at home. This stage of social distancing now turns into self quarantine and means that you should stay at home for 14 days, continue washing your hands frequently, don’t have visitors, and keep a distance from other people in your home.

 | Alison Gauthier/MSU Graphic

If you are interested in learning more, here are some really helpful and factual resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/

MSU COVI19 Updates: https://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/index.html

You can also check out our other posts regarding COVID19 here: https://oha.health.blog/category/current-events/

A great article that shows different measurements of the 6 feet distance rule can be found here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/24/health/six-feet-social-distance-explainer-coronavirus-wellness/index.html

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