If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ve probably come across the term “social distancing”. If you’re like me, then you also were a little confused as to what that is exactly. Does it mean we have to be isolated? Does it mean not going outside at all? Is it just an unofficial way of saying “self-quarantine”? In the spirit of being informed, I’ve decided to share what I’ve found on this term so we can all have some degree of basic understanding of it.
According to John Hopkins medicine, social distancing is “deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.”(1) This is particularly important during the coronavirus outbreak because the virus is more difficult to spread when you’re further than 6 feet from another person. This is why schools, restaurants, and sporting events have been shutting down–it forces us to not be in places where we can’t be further than 6 feet away from the next person. It’s also important to note that social distancing is different from quarantine. Namely, social distancing is what you do so you don’t get infected, whereas quarantine is what you do after you get infected.
So what are some do’s and don’ts of social distancing?
-Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when in public, at work or at home
-Avoid large crowds or places where large crowds gather i.e. sporting events, concerts, movie theaters etc.
-Pick less crowded spots on public transportation or avoid public transportation altogether if possible
-Go to public places at non-peak hours i.e. the grocery store at 1:37 p.m., the train at 2 a.m.
-Attend large social gatherings
-Sit in packed subway cars or buses
-Shake hands with, hug or kiss other people
-Go to public places at peak hours i.e. the grocery store at 5 p.m., the train station at 5 p.m., or anywhere at all at 5 p.m.
To put it simply…
What social distancing means
-You shouldn’t be around large groups of people
-You shouldn’t be too close to the people you are around
What social distancing doesn’t mean
-You shouldn’t be around people at all
-You shouldn’t go outside at all
In conclusion, social distancing is decreasing the amount of people you come in contact with while increasing the distance between you and the people you do come in contact with. All this being said, what does that mean when it comes to your family and those living with you in your own home? Does it mean you can’t hug your spouse or kiss your kids goodnight? Technically speaking, if you want to eliminate all remote possibility of catching the virus, you should maintain social distance within your home. That would mean not sleeping in the same bed as your spouse and not tucking your kids to sleep. But if you’ve got little ones or if you’re trying to create some little ones, this won’t be feasible. But in my non-medical opinion, maintaining social distance within the home might only be necessary if there’s a possibility that you’ve already been infected. In that case it’s no longer social distancing and is now self-quarantine. Other than that, you might be fine just keeping everyone outside of your home at a distance.
At the end of the day, social distancing is a precautionary measure to decrease your chance of getting infected. For me personally, I’m NOT gonna be dapping up anyone outside of my own home. But I WILL be cuddling with my wife.