Posted by Suman Radhakrishna

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread among communities in the United States, ‘social distancing’ has become a popular term in the news media. Even governments around the world and health experts recommend this practice to limit the spread of the virus.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is the practice of avoiding close contact with other individuals to reduce the chances of catching the virus. This includes avoiding mass gatherings (which are likely to draw a large number of people) and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other individuals. Every citizen should practice social distancing to ensure safety.

How does Social Distancing Reduce Spread?

Social distancing helps reduce exposure to asymptomatic/mildly symptomatic carriers of the infection and slow down the spread of the disease. Approximately 80% of individuals infected with COVID-19 have mild disease. We have established that droplet spread has been the most prevalent mode of transmission. The virus spreads by either inhaling the infected droplets or placing the virus into our nose or mouth. A sneeze or cough will project about six feet. The infected droplets can be transferred from the infected person’s hand or from the surface that the virus lands on. By practicing social distancing and maintaining safe distance—at least over six feet—from someone coughing or sneezing, you can avoid getting infected.

How do you Practice Social Distancing?

Avoid public places and social gatherings (with large number of people) to lower your chances of catching the virus. We urge individuals who are ill (regardless of the cause) to avoid work and mass gatherings, to reduce spread of illness in the community. If you do attend social events, avoid touching ‘face area’ and use hand sanitizer and soap to wash hands at regular intervals. By using gloves in public places like gas stations, you can avoid touching contaminated surfaces.

We should take precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19 by judiciously following recommendations provided by health experts.
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