Here's Everything You Need To Know About Social Distancing

Social distancing includes several measures that can slow down the spread of COVID-19 to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

To stop the spread of coronavirus, health officials have instructed the public to practice social distancing.

But, what does this mean?

In essence, this means we should all be staying at home, avoiding crowds and refraining from touching one another.

But does that mean we can go for a run? Pick up some groceries? Hold our kids?

We're here to debunk that for you. 

Can I exercise?

Yes – outdoors or at home. You can run/walk/exercise outside, but try to remain at least two metres from everyone you meet. 

Distance is key and because of this, gyms aren't a good idea. At home, you can instead opt for YouTube gym workout videos. 

Can I use public transport?

If you can avoid it, you should. Packing into a crowded bus train or LUAS can heighten your risk of infection.

If you need to use public transportation, do so with the use of anti-bacterial wipes, gloves and/or masks and wash your hands as soon and as often as you can. 

Can we have visitors over/can we visit others?

Not right now, if at all possible. Video chats are the best way forward for now. Make use of WhatsApp calls, Zoom video hangouts or the Houseparty app, for now, to keep up socialising whilst social distancing. 

Does this mean I can't touch my children?

Health officials are looking for us to maintain a social distancing level of about 80%. The reason it's not 100% is that some direct contact is unavoidable, such as parents with toddlers. 

Under most circumstances, you don't need to keep six feet of distance from your child when you are both at home. But if possible, limit excessive physical contact.

Can I go to the supermarket?

Yes, this is one of the places you can go –– just be strategic about it. Try and go when fewer people will be there. 

Opt to go for local, independent shops when possible – they need your help in times like this, and they're far less likely to have huge crowds. 

And finally, make sure to thoroughly wash fruits and veggies after you buy them, and wash your hands after touching boxes and before eating.

Can I order takeaway?

Yes! There's no evidence that the virus can live in food, so whatever you eat should be safe. However, wiping down the takeaway containers might be a good idea.

Ordering from local businesses will also help keep the economy afloat.

Can I go to the doctor or dentist?

Not unless you have an urgent appointment or are seeking help due to coronavirus symptoms.

It's best to cancel any appointments or procedures that aren't critical, but if you do have a critical appointment, ask your provider about appointments over the phone that don't require you to come into an office.

If you think you're experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, call your GP before showing up so you don't put yourself and others at a higher risk of infection.

Can I go on a date?

Not in person. You can still message people/use apps during this time, but it's best to wait until we're allowed to be out in public again to meet new people in person

Should I wear a face mask in public?

There's no real need. Masks keep sick people from effecting others but will not protect a healthy person from coming into contact with germs. 

Sick people should stay home and avoid in-person contact with others until they've recovered. 

Do I need to practice social distancing if I’m symptom-free?

As per experts, it’s responsible to err on the side of greater caution. 

Also, COVID-19 takes a few days to show symptoms. So, you may have it (and be spreading it) without even knowing. 

How long will this last?

Experts aren't sure yet, but probably for several months. However we may have to do it over and over again given that the outbreak could come in waves.

Research by the Imperial College in Great Britain "would suggest you have to institute these kinds of measures for five months, very vigorously," says Gounder, the infectious disease specialist.

"And then you may be able to relax for a period. And then you would re-institute as the cases go up again. But we're basically looking at doing this over and over and over again, even after a five-month period of strict social distancing, in order to curb cases until we have a vaccine."

If you stay indoors now, things won't be bad for long –– so, deal with things now and we can have a great summer. 

Main image by @sarashakeel

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