Social Distancing: Why is this Important to Containing the Spread of COVID-19?

By now, we are all familiar with the term “social distancing” and have a good understanding of the physical parameters for it. Yet, do we really grasp why we are keeping ourselves apart from one another?

Asymptomatic Carriers

As we get further into this pandemic more people are being tested for antibodies and coming up positive for them. This shows us that many people never showed symptoms or had very mild symptoms and were unwittingly transmitting the virus to others, sometimes with fatal consequences.

This remains the case today: asymptomatic people are able to go about their daily routines, never knowing they are possibly placing other people’s health at risk. Although all the ways in which COVID-19 is spreading are not fully known, it has been found that most cases are from close contact (less than six feet apart) or from droplets of respiratory fluid passed from someone’s cough or sneeze.

Sick, but not Sick Enough

For anyone that has worked in close quarters with co-workers you know there are always individuals that feel sick, but insist they are well enough to work. Many of us are guilty of this and there are usually good reasons why we went into work when we had a cold or the flu: deadlines, expectations, no PTO, etc. But, in this instance, before there were lockdowns and quarantines recommended for anyone with symptoms, there were people choosing to go to the office and unintentionally sharing the virus with those around them.

Unfortunately, this is still happening today despite the risk. If you are feeling a bit under the weather but don’t have a high fever or dry cough, you still should not continue your daily routine. Moving forward in the face of feeling ill may spread the infection.

Flattening the Curve

Making sure our healthcare facilities weren’t maxed out was a huge factor in why we began the social distancing and mask wearing stopgap measures. Hospitals are very capable of handling 1000 patients over a three-month period, but definitely not 1000 patients in the span of a week. By people slowing the spread of the virus, most of our local medical centers have been able to properly treat each and every patient that has been admitted.

By all reports, Utah has passed the peak number of cases in the state, which shows that we have been able to flatten the curve here.

According to Dr. Stephen Hawes of the University of Washington School of Medicine, the nation also looks to have passed its peak number of cases, but warns that we could easily see a quick spike in cases if we aren’t careful and conscious in our efforts.

If, for some reason there is a second wave of the virus that flares up this fall, we know we can do our part to help flatten that curve. We have our masks, we know how to keep our distance and we are better equipped emotionally to do this.

Space Could Make the Difference

We’ve all seen the images, videos and news reports of grandparents waving to their grandkids through a living room window or a dad reading a bedtime story over Facetime to his kids. As heartbreaking as these scenes are, they show the importance of distancing. By making sure there is adequate separation, especially between family members diagnosed with COVID, we are ensuring that people aren’t unnecessarily exposed. And, keeping safe the elderly and people with underlying conditions, who are at more risk than the general population.

This can be a huge challenge, particularly with members of the same family because of a lifelong relationship with our loved ones. It feels so natural to sit in the same home and give hugs when we all need them the most. By keeping our distance now, we can make sure there are lots of memorable moments made in the future.

We need to socially distance with those in our community, too. It is a priority to protect those around us with these simple actions. If spacing ourselves out a little more while standing in line at the grocery store can help another person, we can all put in our best efforts and make sure that we are doing our part.