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Keep on Keeping Your Distance: How It Helps Prevent COVID-19

You may have gotten used to following the safety precautions by now. It is best to continue following the regulations and adhere to strict physical distancing measures to keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19.

Karen Cruz
Karen Cruz

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, everyone has been ordered to follow the basic safety precautions such as washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our faces, coughing into our elbows, always wearing a mask when going out, staying home as much as possible, and social distancing. With the virus still spreading even though some countries and places are gradually returning to their activities that stopped when the pandemic started, it is still significant for us to continue social distancing. But why is it really an important step in helping to slow down the spread of COVID-19?

Social distancing or physical distancing?

Let us determine first what social distancing really means. We initially used the term “social distancing” at the beginning of the outbreak as everyone stayed at their home to help prevent the spread of the virus. But now that many places are reopening and some people are going out in public places or to their respective offices, "physical distancing" is used to emphasize the significance of keeping physical space when you are in public places.

Physical distancing is keeping physical space between you and other people when you are outside your household. The World Health Organization (WHO) initially recommended keeping a distance of two meters or over six feet. But later on, WWHO stated that keeping at least one-meter distance is okay. But keep in mind that the nearer you are to an infected person, the greater the risk of acquiring the virus.

Why social distancing is so important?

Keeping distance from other people stops the spread of the virus. Social distancing is the primary strategy that is being utilized to prevent or slow down the spread of COVID-19. As we all know, coronavirus can spread through sneezing, coughing, and having close contact with infected people. When we stay away from other people, the virus cannot spread. That is why social distancing is crucial for preventing the spread of the virus and other diseases.

Are self-isolation and quarantine the same as social distancing?

Quarantine and self-isolation mean having no contact with the public. If a person was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 but still waiting for the result, the person has to be quarantined or stay away from others for at least 14 days. It can be longer to make sure they do not spread the virus.

How to practice social distancing?

  • If possible, consider working from home instead of working at the office. It will limit your travel and lessen the risk of catching the virus from people in public transportations and at the office.
  • Self-isolating means we see our loved ones a lot less. No matter how much we miss them, it is still best to communicate with them through video calls than in person.
  • Avoid conferences and meetings in person, and avoid attending any events.
  • When going out to stores or markets, keep a distance of at least one meter from other people. Always wear a face mask or cover when going out.
  • Avoid crowded areas.

What to do if you need to go out?

  • Follow the guidance where you live. Check your city's website to gather information about local restrictions in preventing the virus.
  • Avoid exposure when going out by wearing a surgical or cloth mask. Always, always keep a distance of one to two meters (I know you are counting how many times I have mentioned this ;)) from other people especially if the virus is spreading in your community.
  • Avoid touching something that other people may have touched such as staircase railings. If you think you have touched such things, wash your hands with soap and water ASAP, or clean them with alcohol if the former is not available.

You may have gotten used to following the safety precautions by now. It is best to continue following the regulations and adhere to strict physical distancing measures to keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19. It is true that those over age 60 and those with chronic health conditions are at the highest risk, but even if you are still young and feel healthy, we still have to be extra careful.