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Home / More Lifestyle / Coronavirus outbreak: What is ‘social distancing’ and how it works

Coronavirus outbreak: What is ‘social distancing’ and how it works

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to curb the spread of COVID-19. In these guidelines, ‘social distancing’ has been mentioned- which is the conscious effort to reduce close contact between people.

more-lifestyle Updated: Mar 16, 2020 06:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Army troopers use a thermal scanner to check the temperatures of people entering the metropolis at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Quezon city, Philippines.
Army troopers use a thermal scanner to check the temperatures of people entering the metropolis at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Quezon city, Philippines. (AP)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to curb the spread of COVID-19. In these guidelines, ‘social distancing’ has been mentioned- which is the conscious effort to reduce close contact between people.

But what is social distancing?

The Hub put together information from the CDC along with two experts from John Hopkins- Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Tom Inglesby, the center’s director.

Social distancing

Social distancing is the practice via which preventive measures are taken so that sick people do not come in close contact with those who are healthy so that the chances of disease transmission go down. Some ways in which this can be done is to cancel public gatherings and also decisions which individuals can take themselves, such as avoiding going to places where there are huge public gatherings.

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How to practice it

According to the CDC, social distancing is defined as, “remaining out of congregrate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

Which means, as Rivers says in The Hub article, “no hugs, no handshakes.”

“Don’t wait for evidence that there’s circulation [of COVID-19] in your community,” he says. “Go ahead and step up that hand-washing right now because it really does help to reduce transmission.”

Rivers says that we must wash our hands whenever we come back indoors, before eating and before we meet people who are more susceptible to COVID-19. This includes elderly individuals and those who have serious chronic medical conditions.

Other methods

Ofcourse, there are also other methods to reduce the transmission of the disease, including isolation and quarantine. The CDC’s latest guidelines states:

“Isolation refers to the separation of a person or people known or reasonably believed to be infected or contagious from those who are not infected in order to prevent spread of the disease. Isolation may be voluntary, or compelled by governmental or public health authorities.”

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