Importance and Benefit of Social Distancing — Honest Pros and Cons
Social distancing is a technique suggested by public health authorities to reduce the spread of a disease that is transmitted from person to person. Simply put, it implies people remain far enough away from each other to prevent the viruses — or any pathogen — from spreading from person to person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines social distance as being away from large meetings and holding 6 feet or 2 meters apart from other people-about a body length.
Often, social distancing involves not contacting other people and this implies shaking hands too. The most likely way a person gets the viruses is physical contact, and it is also the best way to spread it.
Besides social distancing, there are a few other words you’re likely to use. One is “self-quarantine,” which means staying put, isolating yourself from others if you have been exposed to someone with the virus, there is a fair chance. Another is “mandatory quarantine.”
A mandatory quarantine happens when government authorities say that an individual is must live for 14 days in one location, e.g., home or hospital. For people who test negative for the virus, but have obviously been exposed, mandatory quarantines can be required.
Although self-isolation is a form of social distancing, it’s important to make a distinction. Self-isolation and quarantine are intended to avoid the spread of the virus by individuals who are infected or who are suspected to have had contact with persons infected. Social distancing is a broader step to avoid the kind of people mixing that causes pathogens to spread across a population.
The world faces another pandemic more than 100 years later, this time from a different virus — the Covid-19 Coronavirus. The world population currently stands six billion higher than it was in 1918. Although Covid-19 differs from the Spanish flu in several ways — especially in terms of how it affects and its mortality rate so far — there is a very important lesson about the difference that social distancing can make.
It could yet be one of the best ways to counter this pandemic. We don’t know about a safe and effective vaccine at this moment, nor do we know whether a safe and effective drug would operate to eradicate the Covid-19 infection once it occurs. Without these, we base our best bet on prevention.
As COVID-19 spread continues, countries all over the world are being asked to minimize near people-to-people contact and strictly follow social distancing. Social distancing is considered to be an important and successful way of stopping the spread of the virus. Since COVID-19 spreads from person to person, it is important to every way in which people come close to one another.
It means staying as far as possible at home and avoiding crowded, public places where close contact is likely. That’s why home orders are in place in so many countries, cancelling more than 10 people’s parties and activities and closing stores, restaurants and bars. It’s also why online learning has been pushed by many colleges.
Importance of Social Distancing
1. Slow Down the Spread of Viruses — Flatten the Curve
In the early stages of an epidemic, every person infected with the recent pandemic i.e. Covid-19 is thought to pass it on to an average of 2–3 others. This contagiosity is calculated by epidemiologists using something known as “the number of reproductions.” By contrast, the amount of influenza replicated is 1.06–3.4, depending on the strain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain viruses-like the virus that causes COVID-19-spread quickly. Social distancing places people in between. If someone is sick and there are no people around, they can’t spread the virus. It is important to strictly follow the rules of social distancing because we have no other options as of now and that seems the most effective for everyone’s well-being and safety.
One research has found Spanish flu that was back then to have a reproductive number of about 1.8. Rhinovirus, one of the causes of the common cold, has a reproductive number of 1.2–1.83. Most Covid-19 estimates ranged its reproduction number from 1.4–3.9.
According to research in China, the incubation period — the time between infection and symptoms appearing — has been found to be around five days for Covid-19, although it may take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.
If you’re infected and keep socializing as normal, you ‘re likely to pass the virus on to two to three friends or family members who might then go on infecting another 2–3 people each. Through this way, one case will lead to 244 other cases within one month and in two months, it will skyrocket to 59,604.
2. To Save Yourself and Others at This Time of Crisis
By maintaining social distancing, one can save themselves and others from getting infected and spreading the disease to the rest of the population. You can spread viruses from one person to another and still not show any symptoms which is very terrifying.
One study conducted by Lauren Ancel Meyers at University of Texas at Austin estimated that this silent transmission could occur in up to 10 per cent of cases. An approximate 1–3 per cent of people who get the disease will tend to be asymptomatic. Those people can infect several people if they do not isolate themselves on time.
If they followed good habits of social isolation, they would be stopped from inadvertently transmitting the virus.
3. Keep the Vulnerable Population Safe
Data from various research done in many countries shows that older people and disabled people (those who are immune-compromised or have pre-existing conditions such as cardiac problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) are more at risk from viruses.
It is important for young and healthy people to keep a safe distance from these people or else they would unknowingly transmit virus to them and it is hard for them to recover from the damage of the virus than the healthy once. If not cared properly, older people can lose their life.
Tips for Social Distancing
- Follow guidelines from the government where you live.
- If you’re in the grocery store or pharmacy to shop for food or drugs, stand at least 6 feet away from everyone.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face-covering cloth for others, like when you decide to go out to the grocery store in public, for example.
- Clean your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid gatherings outside your household of any size, like a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops or any other place. This advice extends to individuals of any age, including teenagers and young adults. Kids will not have playdates in person while out of school.
- If necessary stop using some form of public transport, ridesharing, or taxis.
- If necessary, work from home.
- If you are a student or parent, explore digital / distance learning options with the teacher.
What are the Benefits of Social Distancing?
1. Reduces the Rate at Which the Viruses Transmit
Following the social distancing rules strictly, we can totally control the transmission of diseases. Limiting our interaction with people would slow down the spread of the virus and flatten the disease curve, and we can reduce the number of cases that occur at the disease height. This way we can lighten pressures on the health system as the epidemic hits its height, so that all those that need help will access it, and we can save lives.
2. Saves Lives
Here’s a study. Throughout the 1918 influenza pandemic, Philadelphia waited for social distancing to be enforced more than two weeks after the first confirmed event. The health-care system of the city was overwhelmed at this point. In comparison, just two days after his first recorded case St. Louis introduced social distancing.
A 2007 study compared the answers of the two cities, and the graph looks very similar to the Bergstrom and Kim responses. Rather than representing what would happen today, the data reveals the curve of Philadelphia — showing the number of deaths — had a high peak, while St. Louis effectively flattened the curve. The main point here is acting, and responding quickly.
3. Gives Time for Self Care
The introverts could be better adapted to the sacrifices which social distancing requires. However, psychologically rich life is not something that your personality either makes or does not allow you to. Instead, Individuals who believe they lead a psychologically rich life can, over time, begin to see themselves as open to new experiences, particularly when they frequently observe themselves engaged in such activities.
In other words, if new perceptions are placed upon you, you can find that your personality changes in reaction. Introverts may have a benefit because they are also extremely accessible to learning, allowing them to see the new normal as a chance to evolve. Instead of battling the laws and finding ways of getting together with friends, whether at parties or in parks, friends who don’t mind being alone should use the opportunity to improve their mental lives in other ways.
The introversion trait may be a start, but it’s not the only factor determining who can endure enforced social distancing. Also if you are not the “freeze” kind, your personality will shape and alter in response to the changing pace of life.
4. Learn New Skills
Social distancing can help you discover new interest in you and push you towards learning new things. When we’re running along with life with our responsibilities and to-do list with a clock ticking above our head, we forget about our interest and what we love doing the most.
Calling off the meetings and staying away from the people around you can truly help you build your talent and try out new things. You can learn to cook, sing, play guitar, dance and also develop your writing skills: whatever your heart desires.
Who knows, you might find yourself doing something you could have never thought of. For once, maybe you’ll find yourself doing what’s good for you and not what others want you to do.
As of present situation that we’re facing, to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, serious measures are being implemented worldwide, from urban quarantines to the cancellation of large gatherings.
Public health professionals urge “social distancing”-basically staying away from the personal space of crowds and other people — to curb the spread of the virus. Although the disease seems to hit the elderly and immunocompromised the hardest, as they can transmit the virus rapidly, even young and healthy people are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing.
However, you should feel connected even when you’re gone. Staying in contact with friends and relatives, who don’t live in your house, is really important. Text, video chat or using social media to remain linked. Everybody responds differently to stressful circumstances and it can be painful to have to isolate yourself socially from someone you love.
(Last Updated On: May 21, 2020)