The True Value of Social Distancing

Published: Friday, March 20, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the battle against this disease has now become a public effort. To slow the spread of this disease through U.S. communities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged Americans to practice "social distancing" measures.

Social distancing refers to every day actions that lower the likelihood of spreading disease to someone else. Ultimately, it aims to prevent infected people from coming into close contact with uninfected people. Participation in social distancing can help slow down the outbreak and reduce the chance of infection among high risk populations.
Ways you can engage in social distancing include:

  • Keeping your distance -- Avoid large gatherings. Keep at least six feet of distance from others especially people who are sick.
  • Staying home -- If you are feeling sick or are presenting flu-like symptoms, avoid visiting public places. Cover your cough and sneeze. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

“Develop unique ways to communicate with friends, children and loved ones without being in their presence,” said Douglas Drevets, M.D., OU Medicine chief of Infectious Diseases. “This will help with the psychological aspects of social distancing and isolation and through this you can encourage them and yourselves to protect one another.”

Along with physical distance, proper hand washing is important for protecting not only yourself but others around you—because the virus can be spread even without symptoms.

“We are all in this together,” Drevets said. “We can all do our part for social distancing. We can take the guidance from the national health authorities seriously and by helping each other with perseverance and calm determination, we will get through.”
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