Social distancing: A new phrase that most of us have probably heard by now. At this point, we should all be practicing it, too. However, not everyone is actually doing this.
Social distancing essentially entails maintaining at a distance of at least six feet between you and other people. This is especially relevant if people need to leave their houses for some reason. It is strongly recommended because, if people maintain the proper distance, we will be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which has otherwise been spreading quickly.
Many people, however, are not actually taking this idea of social distancing seriously and are continuing to leave their houses. Of course, people do still need to buy groceries, get medical care, go to work or do other essential things. However, there are many people that are still leaving their houses for fun.
For most colleges, the University of Connecticut included, spring break is either occurring or has occurred recently. Normally during this time for college students, it means hanging out with your friends, going out, partying or something along those lines. With the rapid spreading of COVID-19, however, people were strongly advised against doing this, and although many heeded this warning, quite a few people did not.
I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I’m 30.
It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I’ll do what I want.
— Katie Williams (@realkatiejow) March 14, 2020
Numerous people are still crowding Florida beaches and many people are still going out and leaving their house when it’s not necessary.
“I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I’ll do what I want,” tweeted one person who went out to a restaurant.
What many people do not understand is that social distancing really does help. Think about it with this hypothetical scenario. Say that you were exposed to COVID-19, but you don’t know it because it has an incubation period of two weeks and symptoms don’t present right away. Instead of staying home, you go to your friend’s house where you meet up with just one of your friends. Now you have exposed them to the virus as well. After this, you go to a party where the two of you are in contact with 50 people. In the span of this one day, the number of people with the virus has potentially increased from one person to 52 people. These people will continue to spread it to everyone they come in contact with. If you had just stayed home, no one else would have the virus.
This is why it is so important to stay home. People should avoid going out as much as possible in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The virus does spread very quickly, especially with more human contact.
Many people — especially a lot of adolescents and young adults — question why everyone has to practice social distancing if the virus does not affect younger generations as much. There are many reasons for that. For one, younger generations can still spread it to those who are immunocompromised or older generations, which can affect them much more severely. Another reason is because we need to “flatten the curve.”
Trump wants everyone mingling by Easter. So @NickKristof and I worked with two epidemiologists and two mathematicians to model what could happen.
New here: https://t.co/9yiHzZZuv1 pic.twitter.com/pyIHuyiNrA
— Stuart A. Thompson (@stuartathompson) March 25, 2020
Flattening the curve is a phrase that refers to a graph that shows the number of cases of COVID-19 reported without protective measures versus the number of cases of COVID-19 reported with protective measures. Without protective measures, the curve is steep because the number of cases is high. With protective measures, the curve is more flat because there are fewer cases of COVID-19 at one time. This flatter curve is what we want.
If we are able to decrease the number of cases to this extent, the health care system won’t be so overwhelmed. Already, hospitals are reporting shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as ventilators, which are especially important given the fact that this virus targets the upper-respiratory system. Many health care providers are overworked and overwhelmed with cases. By reducing the number of cases in total, it would greatly benefit the health care providers and the system overall.
Social distancing is immensely important to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. This is the one thing that just about everyone is capable of doing, and it will help, even if the effects cannot be seen immediately. Social distancing is one of the best things that we can do at a time like this, and it will be extremely beneficial to everyone.
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Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.