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  • Writer's pictureDr. Laura Pennavaria

Social Distancing: All Your Questions Answered

Updated: May 29, 2020

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably noticed the pandemic that has taken hold of human civilization and terrified billions of people around the world. COVID-19 has upended everyday life and is not only forcing families to adapt in major ways, but also as rapidly as possible. So, what is the best way to take on this coronavirus and protect your community? The answer is simple — social distancing.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is an umbrella term that describes a number of “social distancing measures” one can take to prevent the spread of disease. These measures include limiting the size of groups spending time together, cancelling large events and maintaining a distance of six feet from other individuals whenever possible. Together, these measures aim to isolate individuals and limit the number of interactions between infected and healthy people.

Why is social distancing important?

Without social distancing, multiple issues quickly arise. The United States’ health system has the capabilities to handle COVID-19, but only if the number of cases doesn’t overwhelm the health care sector. In order to do this, the rate with which new cases arise needs to be limited — this is where social distancing comes in. Social distancing slows the rate with which disease spreads, allowing for doctors and hospitals to treat each infected patient with a quality of care that isn’t compromised.

How long does social distancing take to work?

This question is a little tricky because there is no definite answer. Social distancing is just one of many measures being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 and as the situation changes everyday, any answer to this question does as well. That being said, social distancing is a tool aimed at preventing a buildup of patients in the long run, so it would be safe to assume that we will be socially distancing for the next couple months. Life as we know it won’t return to normal in a few months, though, as consistent social distancing will be necessary to turn the rate of infection into an undulating curve, instead of a spike. It may be irritating for now, but it will be more than worth it in a year when the pandemic is over and life is back to normal. Stay safe and keep your distance!

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