Research suggests that the rapid spread of COVID-19 is largely due to the movements of people who do not know they have contracted the virus. Either because they had mild symptoms or because they had no symptoms at all. Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For this reason, experts are recommending social distancing to “flatten the curve”. Learn more about social distancing and how to stay connected amid COVID-19.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Keeping at least six feet distance from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact. Social distancing can help slow down the spread of disease allowing the health care system to more readily care for patients over time. That is why it is such an important containment measure.
Tips for Social Distancing
One of the most effective ways to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home as much as possible. It is also best to not have visitors and visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person. In addition to these, the CDC recommends the following tips:
- Follow guidance from authorities where you live.
- If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
- Consider a grocery delivery service.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face cover (mask) when around others, including when you have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store.
- Stay at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering.
- Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place.
- Work from home when possible.
- If possible, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
- If you are a student or parent, talk to your school about options for digital/distance learning.
How to Stay Connected
While it’s crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19, practicing social distancing will result in fewer face-to-face social interactions, potentially increasing the risk of loneliness. Luckily, we are in the age of new and emerging technology and can use our smart devices to video chat and stay connected with others from the safety and comfort of our own homes. Positive social interactions – even remotely – can help reduce loneliness. Get creative with how you socialize and use technology to connect with friends and loved ones during this time. Here are some tips to stay connected while staying apart:
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can make it easy to reconnect with old friends or make new ones. Easy-to-use apps like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and many others can all help us all stay connected through video chat.
Host or Attend a Virtual Class or Event
Find a topic or skill of interest such as painting, cooking, or sewing. One that can be taught by friends and family though video calls. You can also start a virtual book club, schedule an online workout, participate in virtual happy hour, or attend an online class.
Enjoy Time with Family
Plan activities with everyone you live with, provided they are not sick and self-isolating. Plan a family movie night, play games and puzzles, plant a garden, draw, learn a new language, or cook and eat dinner together.
Make a Phone Call
Good old-fashioned phone calls are a great way to stay connected amid social distancing. This is especially important for loved ones that are not as tech savvy. Hearing a familiar voice on the phone can bring joy and engagement to a quiet and lonely day.
In this 4 part guide of coronavirus tips, we compile the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and best practices to protect yourself. This information comes from top health experts including physicians, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.