Why Social Distancing is Important


People are social beings, and being in the same physical space provides an easy way for people to connect. Therefore, social distancing may not come naturally. People who are currently healthy may not feel compelled to abide by social distancing guidelines. In these extraordinary times, people may feel an even greater need to go outside or meet with others to reduce stress and anxiety.


However, social distancing is an important public health intervention to slow the spread of an illness like COVID-19, which is mainly transmitted from person to person. It plays a critical part in "flattening the curve": social distancing can help ensure that the number of cases at any point in time will not exceed the health care system's capacity to treat these cases. By staying physically apart, everyone can save lives.


Practicing social distancing is intentionally increasing the physical space between people. In this case, health experts suggest staying at least six feet away from another person. Therefore, social distancing means not only avoiding large gatherings but also eliminating all nonessential in-person contact with others – whether, at a store, an appointment or even a small get together of a couple of friends. 


  • So, what exactly are the rules of social distancing?

  • How can social distancing change the outcome of this pandemic? Play the Social Distance Game with your family.

  • Covid-19 is currently following an exponential growth trajectory. Learn more about the math here.

  • Flattening the curve means that healthcare providers do not have to make choices about who among the sick should receive treatment.

  • The pandemic is not another snow day. Read from a physician's call to action.

  • See the rest of this section to learn about how to stay connected in these times.



Safe social interaction 


With COVID-19, parents may be concerned about their children getting enough social interaction and if it is all right to organize playdates, go on trips or attend activities. Dr. Juvaddi from the Lucile Packard’s Children’s Hospital at Stanford has recommended that parents not panic. Fortunately, children are the least affected by the virus. That said because the virus can cause pneumonia and because some children have severe asthma or congenital heart problems which make them more susceptible, doctors are recommending parents take extra precautions. Juvvaddi says, “This could mean keeping them home from swimming lessons and indoor play places or activities like gymnastics.” She recommends staying away from indoor places but continuing to going outside to play, which is important for a young child’s development. There is likely minimal risk in catching the virus on a playdate, but it is wise for parents to make children wash hands for 20 seconds before and after the playdate and to consider having their child to wear a face mask so they avoid touching their face (which is the easiest way to contract the virus). 


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