COVID-19: Ways to Succeed at Social Distancing

COVID-19: Ways to Succeed at Social Distancing

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The COVID-19 virus mainly spreads when one person breathes in airborne droplets from an infected person. And any infected person, with or without symptoms, can spread the virus by touching a surface. Social distancing lets us stop or slow down the spread of the virus by not being around infected people or things they touch. 

Schools and stores are closed. Events are cancelled. Companies are having employees work from home. These and other changes are in place to slow down the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 around the world.

A big part of stopping the spread is social distancing. It means what it sounds like — putting distance between you and others.

Social distancing means avoiding close contact with other people.  The rules for social distancing for COVID-19 are to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. Social distancing is a very important way to slow down the number of people who get new coronavirus infections. Harvard Medical School says that slowing the virus “is critical to not overwhelming hospitals, which could lead to large numbers of critically ill patients not receiving life-saving care.” Unless we continue to follow social distancing recommendations, our hospitals and other health care facilities will not be able to handle the likely influx of patients and more people will die.

Keeping Your Distance
  • Follow the work from home rules recommended in your town and state.
  • Put 6 feet or more between you and others when you do get out.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Eat in as much as possible. If you get take out or delivery, consider paying online or over the phone rather than exchanging money or handing a card to someone else.
  • It’s time to stop social gatherings like having friends over or scheduling playdates for the kids.
  • Try to have groceries delivered or schedule a time to pick them up. If you must go to a store, keep your distance, and keep from touching surfaces. It’s a good idea to take hand wipes containing at least 60% alcohol with you.

Activities You Can Still Do

There are lots of fun and productive activities you can do even during social distancing:

  • If you have a pool at home, go for a swim. But don’t go to public or neighborhood pools.
  • Tackle home projects you’ve been putting off. Weed the flower beds, paint the guest bedroom, clean out the garage.
  • Start a board game or jigsaw puzzle. Play video games.
  • Catch up. Use social tools like Facetime, texting and social media sites to talk with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Have family conference calls using Zoom, Marco Polo, Skype, Webex or other group meeting tools. Hold a “virtual” dinner party.

The key to success with social distancing is to begin intensive social distancing immediately. As much as possible, limit contact with people outside your household. Doing your part will mean we can get the virus under control and get back to our lives faster.

Preparing Your Home for Social Distancing

Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to set up your home for COVID-19 safety:

Pick a quarantine zone. Decide which room or area you will use if someone is sick and you need to keep them away from the rest of the household. Equip it with what you will need to keep them comfortable as they get better, such as tissues, a thermometer, bottled water, cough and fever meds, plenty of blankets, and bathroom items.

Stock the pantry. Make sure you have enough food to last for at least two weeks. Think about stocking things that won’t perish like canned meat and vegetables; pasta and rice; frozen fruit and vegetables; flour, sugar, oil and other cooking supplies; coffee, tea, frozen juice concentrate and shelf-stable milk.

Get your prescriptions filled. Most health plans are letting members get early refills on drugs. Make sure you have enough for 30 days or more. Also stock up on pain, cough and cold drugs and anti-diarrhea meds.

Think about supplies. Toilet paper is a must. But also think about tissues, pads and tampons, disposable diapers, garbage bags, shampoo and soap, laundry and dish detergent, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Sources: Coronavirus Resource Center Harvard Health Publishing, 2020; Checklist to Get Ready Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020
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