Social distancing is something we keep hearing these days, thanks to COVID-19’s spread not just in our country, but also all over the world. With a high infection rate and no cure or vaccine in sight just yet, it seems that the best thing we can do as of now is to practice social distancing or even community quarantine. But what exactly is social distancing?
Social distancing is a term healthcare professionals use to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease such as COVID-19. It means staying away from public places and gatherings, and even observing a safe distance from other people. This can be hard to do in heavily populated areas, but here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that might be able to help:
- Do stay at least 6 feet or 1 meter away from other people. Viruses such as COVID-19 can be transmitted via respiratory droplets emitted from an infected person, and these can travel up to 6 feet via coughing, sneezing, and other similar activities. So to be safe, try to maintain as much distance from others as possible.
- Do wash your hands and disinfect surfaces especially when you’re out in public. If you do need to leave your home to get needed supplies, it’s best to wash or disinfect your hands — especially after touching surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, etc., and disinfect other surfaces you might have prolonged exposure or contact with. Also, try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.
- Do resort to other means to interact. Social distancing does not equate to emotional distancing. And thanks to the Internet, we now have other ways to communicate and interact with loved ones even from afar. You can set up regular video calls with your family and friends to ensure that everyone is doing well and no one is feeling too lonely or isolated.
- Do take care of yourself and stock up on necessities. Of course, you still need essentials such as food, water, medicines, and hygiene supplies. And although it is still ok to go out and buy necessities, it’s also better to minimize trips out by stocking up on needed items that’s enough for you and your family for a few days. But please, do not hoard.
- Do take proper precautions when getting deliveries. Whether you’re getting ready-to-eat food or grocery items delivered, it’s best to practice the proper precautions as well — such as minimizing physical contact by letting the delivery person leave the item in one place for you to pick up. Ensure that the item (especially if it’s perishable) is properly packaged. Try to set aside a “disinfecting corner” in your home where you can sanitize items, set aside and dispose of packaging or wrappers before placing them anywhere else in your home.
- Do know that plenty of scientific evidence supports the use of social distancing. Several recently published studies have proven that social distancing is an effective tool in slowing down the spread of infectious diseases and can “flatten the curve” or reduce the number of cases per day. The goal of social distancing is to slow down the spread of the disease so that the healthcare sector can cope and take care of the ill.
- Do know that we are all in this together. Even if all of us are physically apart in social distancing, it’s success largely depends on all of us working together. Always remember that we are all doing this to keep everyone safe, especially those who are most at risk to the virus.
- Don’t assume that a person is not infected just because he/she does not display any symptoms. Especially when it comes to COVID-19. Someone infected with COVID-19 can go up to 14 days without any symptoms and still infect other people during that period.
- Don’t go to dine-in restaurants, sit-down cafes, bars, museums, libraries, movie theaters, trampoline parks, and any other non-essential locations. Viruses including COVID-19 can infect surfaces for some time so it’s best to keep away from public locations as much as possible for now.
- Don’t visit adults over 60 years old or people who might have underlying illnesses or weaker immune systems unless necessary. Numbers from other countries have shown that COVID-19 is more deadly for people from this age group and those persons who have comorbidities. So now is not the ideal time to visit them even if you might have the “time” to do so.
- Don’t go to the hospital or any healthcare facility unless necessary. Hospitals and healthcare facilities during this time are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and other emergencies, so it might be best to cancel or reschedule any non-essential healthcare appointment. If you need medical attention or you think that you might have COVID-19, try to call ahead before your visit to ensure that the hospital can accommodate you and they can properly prepare or wear personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary. At the same time, do practice proper social distancing if you do visit a healthcare facility.
- Don’t go to non-essential “high-touch” services such as barbers, salons, or spas. Services from these establishments are considered “high-touch” meaning it involves a lot of personal contact, thereby putting you more at risk for the virus.
- Don’t let your kids play in close physical contact with other kids. Aside from practicing social distancing yourself, ensure that your kids follow the same as well. Explain and let them understand the reasons for doing so. On the other hand, you can schedule virtual playdates and other activities instead.
- Don’t think that this is just about you. Even if you’re not worried about the virus because you think that you’re strong and healthy and can overcome it, don’t think that you’re exempted from social distancing or quarantine. Social distancing and quarantine are meant to protect the majority of the population, especially the high-risk sectors, from the virus. Plus, you don’t want to transmit the virus to the high-risk members of your family, right?
Remember, by being apart, we can all survive this together.