Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns that have been happening universally, doctors and health experts have been advocating social distancing. What is it? Is it practical? How will it really help you stay healthy? We take a look at that today.
At the outset, it is essential we understand the difference between the words ‘quarantine’, ‘isolation’ and ‘social distancing’. They are not the same and do not apply to everybody. In simple terms:
Isolation: Refers to the protection of those who are already sick. It is done to keep them away from infections prevailing in the area and to help them get better. This way it helps the sickness from spreading and also from the sick individual getting worse.
Quarantine: This is done to those people or groups of people who are not yet sick or showing symptoms but were exposed to the sickness or places with a history of the illness.
Social distancing: This is a preventive measure mainly taken to curb the rapid spreading of the illness, that aims at avoiding large gathering or opportunities where many people from varied backgrounds come together, exposing themselves and thereby pitting the others at risk.
WHO’s recommended social distancing tips:
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Click here for more.
Why is social distancing important in today’s times?
The numbers of casualties and people diagnosed positive for COVID-19 have been on the rise in an exponential scale over the past 2-3 weeks across the globe and health experts are concerned about the risk of it increasing to greater numbers in the coming weeks. This is the only way experts aim at “flattening the curve” which has been exponential over the past few weeks reflecting the sudden spike in the number of cases over the last few days.
Though it is a challenge to contain people within their homes, that is what is widely advocated by health experts and governments across the countries. From sports events to movie outings to mass gatherings, a lot has been put on the curb by governments across the world as well as in India. Schools, colleges, malls and gyms and other public places and institutions across the country have been shut for the rest of March to take stock of the situation and to see if the rapid spread can be curbed. Offices are advocating work-from-home as the new golden rule and travelling for work has been drastically reduced if not cut entirely.
Pic courtesy: CDC