The term “social distancing” has been used a lot when people refer to COVID-19. It’s all over social media, and in health reports and recommendations. But what exactly is it?
Social distancing is a public health measure used to minimize close contact with others in the community to reduce the rate of transmission of a communicable disease.
According to Canada’s public health website social distancing means minimizing close contact with others in the community including:
“Quarantine and self-isolation at the individual level as well as other community based approaches (e.g. avoiding crowding, school measures and closures, workplace measures and closures, public/mass gathering cancellations).”
The goal of social distancing is to ‘flatten the curve’, another term that’s been used a lot lately. It means reducing the number of people with infection, so that the health care system is not overwhelmed by the outbreak.
COVID-19 is a new disease, so humans don’t have any built up immunity to it in their systems. It’s a very easily transmitted disease as it can linger up to three hours in the air, and up to three days on some surfaces.
It’s recommended that you stay at least a metre away from other people if you need to go out in public, and you limit possible situations where transmission is likely. This means we should all stop shaking hands and giving high fives.