You’ve probably heard about social distancing & the important role it can play in slowing the spread of coronavirus, #COVID19. But what exactly is it & how can it impact your life?
Here are answers to the top 7 questions about social distancing.
1. What is social distancing and why is it important?
Social distancing = distancing yourself from others. It’s a crucial “community mitigation strategy” recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. However, in practice, it can be a little confusing & extreme to some.
Viruses thrive in active mingling communities. A virus will go far in communities where people are often meeting up, bumping up against new social groups, and moving from place to place. Social distancing is an important measure meant to break the transmission of the virus.
The goal is to “flatten the curve” of the virus by slowing the spread of the infection so there are fewer sick people at a time. This way, hospital systems and health care workers will be to be able to react to the situation & provide treatment equally and efficiently.
2. So what does social distancing actually look like?
Honestly, it might look different to different people but the overarching rule is to minimize or even eliminate nonessential social contact outside the home. Experts encourage the following:
a. Avoid public spaces and gatherings of people. You’ve probably heard this already—to stay away from crowded public areas and events like concerts, theatres, public transit, bars, restaurants, et cetera.
b. Work from home if you can. Experts are recommending people stay home and work remotely where possible, and more cities are implementing school closures and moving to virtual learning.
c. Isolate yourself if you may be sick. Finally, there’s social distancing within your home, especially in the event that someone gets sick. You need to try to isolate people with the illness in a part of the home and limit who is in contact with them.
3. If I fall ill, can’t I just go about my life till I get better?
No. Again, it’s not only about you. Yes, as of right now we know that for people who are not in high-risk populations, catching the new coronavirus isn’t serious. Still, it’s not worth the risk.
There is a social and moral responsibility to try & reduce infection in the people who are most vulnerable. By not getting infected yourself, you reduce the risk of older and other vulnerable people being infected as well. It’s about building protection at a community level.
4. If a place isn’t closed or an event isn’t cancelled, does that mean it’s safe to go?
Nope. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to businesses carrying on as normal but that doesn’t mean it’s okay from a public health standpoint to go to these places right now.
5. What if I have to go somewhere?
It’s going to happen! For most people, total lockdown isn’t possible at this point. Even if you have the option of working from home, you still have basic human needs to meet. You’ll likely need to go to the market or run other errands.
When you do have to leave your home, do what you can to maintain that six-foot distance from other people when you’re out and about.
6. Can’t my friends and I hang out at home?
You’ll probably see some mixed answers about this across the web, but more experts are advocating for extreme caution, given what’s at stake. So that means it isn’t the best time for Netflix and Chill.
Instead, be creative about how you socialize. Now’s a good chance to finally get on board with video chatting or lean hard on the group chat. Social distance doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
7. How long until we return to life as usual?
It’s hard to say but many epidemiologists say it could be a while. It’s going to be a matter of several weeks to a few months, for sure.
This is because we can’t necessarily translate what happens in one country to what happens in another. Each country is having such different experiences because of such different policies.
So why is Avon HMO, a Nigerian company talking about social distancing? Well, information is key and while there have been only 8 cases according to our health authorities, we can never be too careful. It’s best to hope for the best, stay calm and still stay ready for anything.