The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for how different communities can help minimize the impact of COVID-19. A common strategy is “social distancing,” but what exactly does that mean?
Social distancing means deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid the spread of infectious disease. In the hopes of easing the spread of COVID-19, events that gather large crowds of people have been recently canceled and businesses have closed their doors. This CDC-recommended practice helps slow the spread of respiratory disease.
Social distancing is different from isolating or being in quarantine. Isolation is for people who have tested positive with COVID-19, and quarantine is for people who may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or traveled to a high-risk area.
Other CDC recommendations include:
- Staying home when you are sick and calling your care provider before visiting
- Washing hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds
- Frequently disinfecting high-touch objects (for example door handles, remote controls and phones)
If you have an increased risk of severe illness, make sure the people you might have contact with are aware of your risk and are taking the necessary precautions to keep you safe.
Tips for Keeping a Distance
1. Stay six feet away.
The CDC recommends that if you must be around people, keep a distance of at least six feet. That means no hugging, handshaking or general touching. Try to maintain that distance while grocery shopping or visiting the pharmacy. Avoiding public transportation altogether might be necessary to avoid close contact with strangers.
2. Eat at home.
Maintaining a social distance also means staying away from restaurants, bars and other places where people gather in close proximity. Grocery shopping and making meals at home is the lowest-risk option.
3. Work from home if you can and cancel meetings with more than 10 people.
Check with your employer to see if you have the option and capability to complete your work at home. Limiting all unnecessary social interactions that have more than 10 healthy people might slow the spread of COVID-19.
4. Go outside.
Social distancing does not mean you have to avoid exercise and spend time indoors all day. If you are healthy, go for a walk or hike in a less populated area. Avoiding the gym is recommended, but maintaining your health is necessary, so walk your dog and take a breath of fresh air.
5. Use technology to stay social.
Social distancing is not meant to be completely isolating. Technology gives us a way to stay in touch with friends and family during this difficult time. Make sure you have a support system in place, and check in with each other.