Social Distancing-The Inconvenient but Necessary Remedy
Social Distancing- The Inconvenient but Necessary Remedy
Social distancing is not such a novel idea to deal with the novel coronavirus. Some people are excited about the prospect of social distancing as they have been practicing it for years. For others, the thought of laying low, not going to the office, grabbing a cup of coffee at their local coffee shop, working out at the gym or meeting friends for dinner freaks them out!
The Spanish Flu of 1918 is a good example of how social distancing works. Philadelphia did not heed the advice of soldiers and held a parade with more than 200,000 spectators in support of the soldiers going off to war. Just 900 miles away, St. Louis took a different approach and banned all public gatherings of 20 or more. By the time the city of Philadelphia banded public gatherings, it was too late, more than 4,500 people died from influenza. St. Louis lost less than half of that.
The past several days Americans have experienced the closure of universities, public schools, and Walt Disney World. Broadway went dark. Television shows and movies have stopped production. Many professional and college sporting events have been canceled or postponed. Whether you are 17 or 70, this is a new experience for all.
With COVID-19 being easily transmittable, social distancing definitely works. The restrictions that some countries placed on their people may not be feasible here in the United States, but people, businesses and local municipalities can do their part.
Even various end times of social distancing can help “flatten the curve” and the impact on our healthcare system. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D. Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy says that we are past containment, but we need to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. With schools, amusement parks and corporations currently having different timelines, we will not eliminate all total cases but will spread them out, which in turn will not overwhelm our hospitals. The United States currently has about 924 thousand hospital beds. These are not empty beds, and many of them are already occupied. If we don’t flatten the curve, the influx of patients into our hospitals could cripple our healthcare system. Dr. Emanuel states that these different timelines may give us another uptick, which will force us to social distance again.
As adults, much like playing a game of poker, we need to be “all in”, not half in and half out. This is not a time to work from home, but still work out at the local gym, or hang out at your neighbor’s house and talk about everything COVID-19. You may say to yourself, "it’s only five people (including yourself), that’s no big deal". The important questions you should ask yourself, where were those four others recently? Who did they come into contact with?
Yesterday while listening to the radio, there was a discussion of how to wash your fruits and vegetables because so many hands have touched them before they arrive in your home. Listeners were told that we should look at all our produce as if it has COVID-19. Perhaps we should look at everyone as if they are infected with COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health says we need to do our best to interfere with COVID-19 by doing our part to diminish the peak of the curve and duration of that curve by effectually dealing with the containment and mitigation. We NEED to stay home. We NEED to be anti-social. We NEED to do everything we can do to flatten the curve. The time is NOW.
In good health,
Steri-Clean® of Southern Florida
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