Practicing social distancing can help in slowing down the spread of COVID-19
With the current surge in COVID-19 cases not only in Malaysia but also in various countries, you probably have been hearing the term social distancing a lot.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease when it can no longer be contained.
Some of the social distancing steps that are currently being implemented to curb COVID-19 are isolation of ill persons, contact tracing and quarantine of exposed persons. So far, healthcare workers have been working round the clock to implement these steps. If the affected numbers are small, these steps are effective enough. However, when the number of infected individuals grows, these steps would no longer be ideal given the limited resources for example isolation rooms in hospitals, ventilatory support and the number of health care workers available to care for patients.
Experiences from the previous influenza pandemic in 2009 thought us how important social distancing was to help curb the spread of the virus. This was the next best thing then considering how vaccines are not usually available early in the pandemic and antiviral medications were scarce. Looking back in history, suspected or infected persons with the bubonic plague or leprosy were isolated from the healthy population to prevent the spread of the disease. It worked then and it will work now.
Besides wearing protective gear and washing hands, the best preventive action is to avoid crowded places altogether. We know that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets within the span of 1 meter. By avoiding contact with other people, the risk of being infected is reduced tremendously.
How do I practice social distancing?
Not everyone can work from home or stop traveling. So here are some tips for social distancing that you can practice during this pandemic.
➡️ In the workplace or school, ensure seatings are at least 1 to 2 meter away from each other.
➡️ When using public transport, try to avoid peak hours. Make sure that there is always an empty seat between you and the next person. Avoid touching surfaces or handles by wearing gloves or washing hands once you have reached your destination.
➡️ Plan your grocery shopping and limit it to once in two weeks. Get it home delivered if possible.
➡️ Exercise outdoors rather than going to the gym where there is a higher risk of contact with bodily fluids.
➡️ Avoid crowded places like the cinema, place of worship or malls.
➡️ Avoid attending social gatherings among friends or family members.
➡️ Limit visitations to people who are at high risk, for example, the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Communicating virtually during this time would be best.
Let us work together as a community to stop the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing applies for kids too. Watch video below to learn more:
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.