As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States, practicing social (or physical) distancing is still important. Here’s why.
Measures such as business and school closures, increased takeout and delivery options, and social distancing have all helped to lessen the impact of the coronavirus. And additional steps, like contact tracing programs, are identifying those who may have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to help prevent even further spread.
So how can we get back to “normal” while protecting ourselves and others from the coronavirus? By practicing social distancing.
Staying apart, together
While you may be more than ready for it to be gone, the novel coronavirus isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help slow things down.
“It’s normal to feel like you’re ‘over it’ and to want things to be the way they were,” says Dr. Allison Brodginski, director of infectious diseases in Geisinger’s northeast region.
“But we need to remember that the virus is still here and that cases are on the rise. There’s more work to do.”
One of the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus is by continuing to practice social distancing. Here’s a refresher:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Always wear a face mask when in public
- Avoid gathering in groups (small or large)
- Limit time spent in crowded places, like grocery stores
“We understand that it’s hard to be physically apart from your loved ones,” adds Dr. Brodginski. “But since this virus mainly spreads from person-to-person, we need to take measures to help keep ourselves and others safe.”
Some ways Dr. Brodginski recommends to safely stay connected include:
- Video chats
- Phone calls
- Text messaging
- Social media
- Video games
- Virtual game and movie nights
- Hiking and going for walks outdoors
Staying connected can help us relieve some of the stress brought on by the pandemic.
Need extra support? Find resources to support your mental health.
Getting back to normal — safely
As many have returned somewhat to our pre-COVID activities, like shopping local businesses or scheduling in-person doctor appointments, it’s still important to be mindful.
“COVID-19 is still in our communities,” says Dr. Brodginski. “But if we work together and take precautions, we can reduce the spread.”
Some of these precautions include:
- Keeping at least 6 feet of distance from others.
- Washing your hands, especially after being out in public. Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol works, too.
- Avoiding touching your face. Especially your mouth, nose and eyes.
- Wearing a face mask when around others.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently used surfaces in your home daily.
- Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitoring your health.
- Staying home from work or school if you’re not feeling well, resting and drinking lots of fluids.