During the spread of the coronavirus, you’ve probably heard the terms “social distancing”, and “self-quarantine” a couple of thousands of times. While you may think you know exactly what that means, there is more to it, than just staying away from others (although that is a very important step). Physicians would like to detail to you, why exactly you need to practice these strategies, and how exactly you perform them.
Why exactly is this happening:
At least in most places, that have seen the highest number of coronavirus outbreaks (US, Italy, China), the governments have ordered their citizens to close their businesses, work from home, stay away from large amounts of people, and practice the proper hygiene (for example washing hands thoroughly). These precautions are not only to prevent you from getting sick, but also to protect others from getting sick from you. While most victims, who contract COVID-19 only suffer from mild symptoms (cough, fever, lack of smell, tiredness, dry cough), about 10-20% develop severe conditions (difficulty breathing). The main problem, more than likely due to the lack of preventative measures when the coronavirus was first reported in December, is no longer to prevent the country from being exposed to the virus, but rather to limit the number of cases, that way hospitals and HCPs do not become overwhelmed. Like most viruses the coronavirus spreads from contact-to-contact (within 6 feet). Contact-to-contact includes handshaking, touching a contaminated surface, and coughing/sneezing.
Experts agree, this is the most effective solution to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. While it may be hard, try to have as little as possible physical human contact. When at the grocery store, try to stockpile on items (around two weeks’ worth of supplies), that way you avoid frequent trips. Ordering food to your home is also preferred rather than having you physically enter the restaurant. Remember to abstain from having friends over, and to sanitize your hands regularly. Most importantly though, do not go to any large gathering events, such as concerts, parties, and entertainment shows. If not being able to see your friends in person overwhelms you, or if you’re just feeling lonely, remember it is easier now than it ever has been, to keep in touch with loved ones, thanks to social media. Connecting with strangers is also a fun way to distract yourself, as even the online dating world has seen rapid growth in users and activity through this pandemic.
This is different from self-distancing, in that self-distancing has the main goal of preventing you from contacting the virus, and a self-quarantine is preventing you from giving the virus to others. If you come back from any of these countries, you may be asked to self-quarantine for at least a total of 14 days, China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, etc. even if you have detested negative for the virus. Self-quarantine means to stay at home at all times, do not use public transportation, cancel any appointments that are non-medical, and try to live by yourself for the duration of the quarantine.
We all have a role to play in stopping the coronavirus. Spending as little time as you can with loved ones, is a difficult task, but it is important to remember that the benefits far outweigh the risks.