Your Annual Checkup Checklist
There are a variety of other topics you should consider discussing with your primary care physician.Learn More >
Just a few short weeks ago, many of us had never even heard of the public health term “social distancing.” Now it’s a part of our collective new reality.
“Socialization is at the core of being human. Keeping physical distance right now is key to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those more vulnerable in our communities; however, equally important is our need and desire to interact with each other.”
– Michael Grabinski, MD, MPH
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging Americans to remain out of congregate settings (including the workplace and school), avoid mass gatherings (including joyful events like weddings and meaningful rituals like religious observances) and strive to maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
By preventing those who may be infected with the novel coronavirus from coming in close contact with healthy individuals, social distancing reduces opportunity for disease transmission. Not only does this protect those who are high-risk, it helps to minimize the current surge on our healthcare resources. Recent studies* have suggested that the majority of COVID-19 cases were caused by people with mild or no symptoms spreading the virus to others. This happens because people can be infected and contagious for 2 to 4 days**, without noticing any symptoms themselves.
Everyone. Even if you’re young, healthy and not in a high-risk group, there is still a chance that you are carrying the virus, minus symptoms, and could be unknowingly spreading it to the more vulnerable communities. Public health experts agree that maintaining social distance right now, with its potential to slow the infection rate, is as altruistic as it is necessary. We can all do our part to stop the spread and protect our families, friends and communities.
The idea of “social distancing” is kind of a paradox. In these uncertain times, when we absolutely need each other more than ever, we’re expected to live, work and learn apart?
“It’s all in how you frame it,” says Dr. Grabinski. “That’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we refer to it as ‘physical distancing’ vs. ‘social distancing.’ Because while the goal is to prevent physical transmission of the virus, the hope is that people will remain connected socially—and we need that more than ever right now.”
Though overuse of technology has been associated with feelings of isolation and loneliness, technology is now the bridge to keeping us connected—to everything from essential medical care to our workplaces and classrooms to fulfilling social lives—all of which will empower us to get through this with strength and positivity.
During these uncertain times, it’s easy to fall into a rut physically, mentally and emotionally. “One way to care for yourself and enhance your overall well-being,” says Dr. Grabinski, “is through meaningful interactions that support each other and our own desire to still feel human.” The corresponding health benefits are backed by research. Some examples:
Relationships aren’t the only thing that matters right now. Taking good care of yourself, physically and mentally, should always be a top priority. Things to consider: