At this moment it is very important to keep social distance from your family and friends. This may seem hard, especially when you can’t go to work or your favourite restaurant. But it is crucial at this moment in the fight against COVID 19.“Social distancing refers to a way of creating a barrier of physical distance between two or more people so that transmission of virus can be prevented or halted,” says Arindam Basu, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand.
If we take the Spanish flu as an example, this started spreading around the world after World War One, we can illustrate the effect of social distancing. This virus infected a quarter of the world population, that is why the Spanish flu is one of the deadliest pandemics of the human history. In the middle of the pandemic, cities in the US planned on having parades to promote liberty bonds. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, already 600 soldiers were infected with the flu, but the city chiefs decided to go ahead with the parade. Meanwhile, the city of Saint Louis, Missouri, cancelled their parade and introduced measures to limit public gatherings. One month later, more than 10,000 people in Philadelphia had died of Spanish flu, while the number of infected persons in Saint Louis stayed below 700. These figures show how important measures now known as “social distancing” can be during pandemics.
Most countries and big cities already took measurements to maintain social distancing in the times of the coronavirus. Restaurants, schools, bars, clubs, beaches and other public places are temporarily closed. In most countries, the rule of no more than two people on the street has also applied. Other countries even have an entire lockdown to keep everybody inside. You can only go out to do grocery shopping or in emergencies. These rules are necessary to keep everybody home to stop the spreading of the virus. It is important to maintain at least 6 feet (1.5 meters) distance to prevent contamination.
The numbers of the Spanish flu show that the cities who took measurements concerning social distancing had a lower death rate and less infections. That is why we need to take a step back and stay inside our houses.It is not easy to stay away from friends and family, especially in this situation. But this distancing does not mean stopping all the contact. Nowadays we have great online sources to keep in touch with your loved ones. For example WhatsApp, Facetime and Skype. And if it keeps the ones we love around us safe, it may ultimately be worth it.