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COVID-19: Protect Yourself with Social Distancing

COVID-19: Protect Yourself with Social Distancing

If you’re like most people in the United States, you may have never heard the term “social distancing” before the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing is a term referring to actions taken by public health agencies to slow down or stop the spread of a highly contagious disease, such as the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as “COVID-19.”

Social distancing was created to restrict how, when, and where people gather to slow down the spread of an infectious disease. Social distancing measures include but are not limited to the following:

  • Not letting people dine-in restaurants
  • Closing schools
  • Closing businesses
  • Limiting large gatherings
  • Discouraging people from socializing
  • Advising people to stay a certain distance from each other (six feet is the recommendation with COVID-19)

Why do we use social distancing measures? Public health officials contend they slow the spread of infectious diseases, such as the coronavirus and pandemic influenza. Health experts studied past pandemics and discovered that the 1957-1958 pandemic, the disease’s spread occurred after people met at public gatherings, such as festivals and business conferences. During this particular pandemic in the late 1950s, the people affected the most were school children due to their close contact with each other in crowded settings.

Common Social Distancing Measures

What are the most common types of social distancing measures that would be ordered by state health departments during a pandemic, such as COVID-19? You’ll see them below, but you’re already seeing them at home where you live:

  • Schools would be shut down.
  • Movie theatres would be closed
  • Concerts and sporting events would be canceled
  • Gyms and recreational centers would be closed
  • Bars and nightclubs would be closed
  • Retail stores would be closed
  • Political gatherings would be canceled
  • Employees would be asked to work from home
  • In-person business meetings would be canceled
  • Government offices would be closed to the public
  • Public transportation could be canceled

“Social distancing means staying home as much as possible, staying at least 6 feet away from other people while in public, and avoiding gatherings with many people present. Everyone should wash their hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing,” according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.


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