Why social distancing is crucial? We are in the fourth month since the novel coronavirus 2019 was first detected in Wuhan, China. There are lots of talks about medicines to minimize the effects of the virus. Also, scientists are working on a preventive vaccine. Even if these become successful, it will at least be another six months to one year, before such medicine can be released to the market.
Until that happens, there are a few effective ways to keep yourself and those around you safe from the devastatingly deadly disease. One of them is social distancing.
Simply put, social distancing means staying away from social gatherings. This may be public transport, crowded restaurants and bars, banks, supermarkets, weddings, funerals. Basically any place where more than 10 people are gathered together.
With the alarmingly spread of the coronavirus, the need to stick to social distancing was emphasized by many governments. Those countries that were slow to implement these rules today see the situation getting out of hands. Today, the U.S. is leading the list of number of cases, surpassing both China and Italy.
In Europe too, the situation looks dismal. Italy’s famously strong healthcare system buckled under the weight of daily reported cases. Spain is now racing catch up with Italy’s number of cases. All these countries and their people failed to practice social distancing. Many defied warnings to enjoy their visits to pubs and restaurants, spring breakers refused to give up their beach holiday, in many countries churches and mosques held mass gatherings and are now paying a heavy price for it.
Why social distancing is crucial?
This is a relatively new concept that came into being with the unprecedented spread of the coronavirus. It was soon found that this pathogen can easily jump from person to person, through an infected person’s saliva or mucus. However, quite alarmingly, an infected person does not show any symptoms for 14 days.
Therefore, suspected patients were kept in isolation in case there was a possibility of the virus spreading to those around that person. When the virus started spinning out of control, infecting thousands of persons on a daily basis, there was no way of telling who the suspected cases were. Therefore, entire cities, regions and populations had to be locked down, with strict rules to not congregate in public places. That is why social distancing is crucial in keeping the virus at bay.
Some countries appealed to their public to adhere to social distancing, some went into self-isolation on their own volition. And some countries introduced strict lockdown conditions and some event went a step further by declaring nation-wide curfew.
Social distancing works in controlling the deadly coronavirus because it is spread through human contact. If you distance yourself from other people, keep away from public spaces, you minimize the risk of coming into contact with an infected person.
We all remember South Korea’s patient No: 31 who went around town, attending church group meetings, visiting supermarkets and pharmacies, and using taxis for her travels. She ended up being the cause of thousands of people becoming prey to the coronavirus.
To drive the point home, a number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have adopted the slogan: We are here for you; please stay home for us!