Friday 25 September, 2020

COVID-19: Why does social distancing matter?

Put at least six to ten feet of space between you and others as your country works to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This is social distancing.

But why is social distancing so important?

Loop asked Barbados' COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter this question because some persons are still refusing to stay home, still gathering and in a panic to shop while ignoring personal boundaries as they shove to get into supermarkets or line up to go in the banks.

How does the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 spread?

Carter explained:

"The virus requires either close proximity or touching a surface that somebody else contaminated in order to spread.

"So you can reduce your risk of getting the disease by maintaining distance between yourself and other persons, so that if they sneeze or cough you're not inhaling the droplets or the droplets are not going on your body and then being transferred either to your eyes, nose or mouth as a result of your touching where the droplets have gone."

Why can't we hug, shake hands, go school, go church, play in the playgrounds, lime on the block or chill at the rum shop anymore?

Recognising that for many, this calls for a whole shift in behaviour from greeting with handshakes and hugs or even chatting while standing close to each other, he stressed: "The basic principle between social distancing is not to scorn anybody, it is to protect yourself and your relatives from getting infected."

Why stay six-feet to 10-feet away from persons?

For those who are wondering why social distancing is asking persons to stand six-feet apart, Carter said: "If I am 10 feet away from you and I sneeze then you are safe even if I have COVID-19. You are safe, because that sneeze is not going to travel 10 feet. However, if I sneeze directly into your face then your risk of getting anything that I have that comes out in that sneeze is great. That's the basic principle."

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