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FYI

What You Need to Know about Social Distancing

By Isny Dewi R

18 March 2020

Social distancing requires us to keep our distance from each other, so that any virus or pathogen can’t spread from one person to another.

Along with the increase in positive patients with Covid-19 in Indonesia, the government and health organizations in many countries including Indonesia also urged the public to implement Social Distancing. What is Social Distancing? How do you apply it? The following is some explanations according to Thomas Perls, professor of medicine at Boston University.

Social distancing is a method recommended by public health experts to slow the spread of disease that is transmitted from person to person. This method requires us to keep our distance from each other, so that any virus or pathogen can’t spread from one person to another.

According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social distancing is the behavior of avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of two meters or about one fathom from another person. In New York City, for example, cinemas are now temporarily closed, and all schools in US are closed.

This method can be applied by choosing to use your private vehicle for a while if you have to go somewhere. Even if you are forced to use public transportation, try to keep a distance of at least two meters from other people.


Photo credit: Instagram @pt_transjakarta

Social distancing can also be done by not touching other people, including handshake. Because physical touch is the most possible and easiest way SARS-CoV2 (new corona virus) is transmitted to others.

This method can’t prevent 100% of transmission, but by applying these simple rules, you have helped in slowing the spread. If the number of cases can’t be reduced below the number that can be handled by the health care system at a time (called flatten the curve), the hospital can be overwhelmed and lead to death or suffering that shouldn’t need to happen.

How can social distancing work?
If done correctly and on a large scale, social distancing can slow down the transmission chain from person to person. People can spread the Coronavirus for about five days before they show symptoms. Social distancing can limit the number of people infected, and potentially spread the virus before they realize that they are infected with the virus.

It's important not to underestimate the possibility of exposure and quarantine yourself. According to recently published research, self-quarantine must last for 14 days. In that time period a person can show symptoms of Covid-19.

If after two weeks they still do not show any symptoms, then the quarantine can be stopped. In people who don’t have symptoms as more testing is available, a shorter quarantine period can be done.

Why is social distancing so important?
At present, social distancing is the only way to combat the spread of Coronavirus. Until now, there is no medicine that can inhibit Coronavirus infection. Without a way to treat people after they fall ill or reduce their chances of infecting others, the only effective way is to make sure hospital care is available for those in need.

To ensure the availability of hospital care for those who need it, we must slow down or stop the spread of the virus and reduce the number of cases over a period of time.

Who should do it?
All people must be willing and able to practice social distancing to prevent the explosion of cases. Of course, the elderly must do everything they can to protect themselves, diligently practicing social distancing and significantly changing public behavior until the pandemic ends.

Strong people also need to do everything they can to protect those who are not, by helping to minimize their exposure to Covid-19. If everyone applies social distancing, medical services will not be overwhelmed by treating patients who continue to burst. Slowing down and reducing the spread of this disease is in the hands of all of us.

Top photo credit: pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301

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