The social distancing term has been popular recently due to the Coronavirus spread. It is conducted together with the lockdown policy in some countries. Since the pandemic, this particular method is chosen due to clinical epidemiological studies, personal clinical experience, and mathematic modeling, which show that it is going to decrease the impact.
What is social distancing? How are its effects on pandemic?
1. The Definition of Social Distancing
Social distancing is a sort of a control action over the infection to cut or slow down the contagious virus or disease. The aim is for reducing the contact between the infection carriers and the virus transmission. This is also a useful method when the virus transmission is through the droplet contact such as physical contact, sneezing, sexual contact, coughing or indirect contact such as touching a contaminated surface.
However, social distancing will be less effective if the infection is transmitted through the food, contaminated waters, or vectors such as mosquitos and others. In history, social distancing worked well to prevent leprosy and another contagious virus until the diseases and treatments were invented.
2. The Target Places
Some of the target places fit for social distancing are public places which are the center of people meeting. The public places are:
This is the most effective place to apply social distancing. The virus transmission, as well as the epidemic, will be delayed immediately. However, it should be considered to close the school as short as possible because it might affect the entire school system. The social distancing at school is also acceptable in a large population of school because it is more effective to delay from the first day of infection.
Nowadays is the right time for work from home policy. However, not all people can accept this without any compensation. Workplace closure is needed if there is a significant impact among the workers and belongs to the proactive workplace. The immediate step of social distancing at the workplace is by reducing the meetings to decrease disease transmission. However, some businesses and manufacturing companies could not apply closure especially if it is medical manufacturers.
3. The Negative Effects
Although this method is meant to be to reduce virus transmission, negative effects are coming along, such as:
• Affecting the entire school system including time and effort of maintaining the building.
• Affecting the cost of communicating school closure for students, teachers, parents, and other authorities
• Causing considerable economic hardship at work
• Causing significant social distress
• Causing the business losses which might increase depending on the closure period
• Causing the national economy in smaller countries
• Causing the delayed supply of essential and important goods to the consumers
• Causing the mass gathering cancellation
4. Voluntary Self Isolation
The best social distancing is voluntary self-isolation. The people stay at home consciously to cut and reduce transmission. They avoid direct contact between the uninfected people and contagious cases. The impact of this method is the lower income of the groups’ activity and place to meet such as a cafe or restaurant. Besides, some people might feel distressed because of the risk and fear of perceptions against the disease or virus. Therefore, the government needs to reveal and announce clear guidelines on the ways to minimize the infection in quarantine and at home.
5. Traveling Restriction
Since the suspects before are mostly from the tourists coming from China, the travel restriction is the best choice for social distancing. Some countries applied the travel restrictions to delay the spread of the virus in several days. As a result, the spread of international suspect cases reduces as much as 80 percent now.
Social distancing is important nowadays during the pandemic of COVID-19. It is necessary because the virus transmits through the air and direct physical contacts. Despite the negative effects on society and the economy, social distancing is effective for health reasons.