Always keep a safe distance of at least one meter with any other individual
A new concept has established in the minds of a lot of people during this coronavirus pandemic: social distancing. What does this concept mean exactly? How can we defend against the disease?
Social distancing is a public health practice that changes society’s components to control the outbreak of the disease. These measures temporarily adjust the way people work, live, and socialize, but if implemented correctly, it can significantly hold back the spread of diseases to which people have no immunity.
The best practices for social distancing include:
- Always keep a safe distance of at least one (1) meter with any other individual
- Avoid physical contact with others, including kisses, hugs or handshakes
- Stop the practice of sharing meals or beverages with other people
- Take into consideration the appropriate procedures if you need to assist meetings or to sit down in common places.
“Social distancing strategies are fundamental to contain the growth of the number of people affected. It helps the health services organizations to confront this situation better that, although tough, can be confronted by an organized and correctly evaluated health system. Reducing the population’s movement saves time and decreases the pressure on the health system. By reducing the number of people circulating, we can better control the infection rate”, explains Alessandro Dias, Medical Services Manager at Ternium Brazil.
“Social distancing helps to avoid contact with infected people and with contaminated surfaces. Alongside that measure, there is also the push towards extensive use of face masks, which acts as a barrier, prevents infected people from spreading the virus,” Miguel Sanz, Medical Director of the Clinica Nova Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico.
Another commonly used expression these days is: “Flatten the curve”. This concept is the reason why doctors and scientists insist that people should practice social distancing. This virus is a previously unknown sprout of a pathogen, its growth can be exponential, which means that it can double —or more— its reach within a society. When this phenomenon happens, health systems may be overwhelmed by a high demand that exceeds the capacity of the facility in terms of beds, equipment, or even personnel.
With social distancing established, the opportunities for the virus to spread are rapidly diminished among the population. The disease can still circulate, but each time with fewer opportunities, the exponential pattern is considerably reduced and is finally flattened.
Social distancing is not a permanent solution to disease, nor is it a cure. Although the possibility of propagation is avoided, it is tough to stop the virus without a vaccine completely. What helps are immediate actions to ensure that communities reduce the risk of proliferation, allowing hospitals and medical attention networks to treat better the cases they are facing