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Social distancing is crucial in flattening the curve

Social distancing is crucial in flattening the curve

Social distancing is crucial in flattening the curve
April 03
07:00 2020

In the span of just two weeks, America has become the first country where more than 100,000 people have contracted COVID-19, according to a New York Times database. Unlike Italy and China, the United States has yet to put its nation on a complete lock-down. Instead, only a number of states have issued stay-at-home orders. These stay-at-home orders have been put in place to help “flatten the curve” by emphasizing the importance of social distancing during this global pandemic. However, much of the public seems to not take this measure seriously.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social distancing as remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. This concept has been widely encouraged to help prevent the further spread of infections and aid in reducing the COVID-19 outbreak. Avoiding large crowds will lower the chances of getting exposed to the vicious disease.

Despite being told to practice social distancing, many Americans have failed to do so. Their unwillingness to self-quarantine in this critical time has played a massive role in the spike of cases in the United States.

March beckoned the season of spring break and many individuals have chosen to ignore the plea of social distancing so that they can enjoy their short-lived break. Many spring breakers flocked to beaches across the nation, notably Florida, despite the severe warnings from medical experts.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” Brady Sluder, a spring breaker visiting Florida said in an interview with CBS. “At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying.”

To decrease the number of people ignoring the warnings, some cities in Florida including those of the two most popular beach stops, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale have closed down their beaches despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wishes against it. Other spaces that encourage large gatherings such as bars and restaurants are still open throughout the nation. Although some businesses have transitioned into working from home, many still continue to run as normal. Aside from healthcare workers, a majority of popular fast-food chains such as McDonald’s have considered their employee’s essential workers, preventing them from fully practicing social distancing.

President Trump recently said that he hopes to have the nation “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” This statement, however, goes against the current reality of the outbreak and experts have said that the virus only continues to spread rapidly and in high volumes. By telling the country that he hopes to have businesses up and running by April 12, Trump is selling a false sense of hope to the American people and influencing some to continue disobeying the orders of social distancing. Fortunately, Trump extended the social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

Public health experts have advised that the United States desperately needs to follow in the footsteps of other nations and go on a national lock-down, according to an article published by NPR. While not every state will need to keep the stay-at-home order enforced for months to come, health specialists, like Ashish Jha the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, recommend that the lock-downs be held for multiple weeks.

Social distancing has proven to be significantly helpful in reducing the spread of contraction by limiting the chances people have to exchange physical contact. The pandemic started in Wuhan, China, but the country has since eased on quarantine after it ordered a strict nationwide lock-down which lasted about two months. Chinese authorities also sealed off apartment buildings and scanned its citizens for rising body temperatures as part of the measures they took to prevent further transmission of COVID-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, the state with the most cases in America with more than 50,000 people infected, said that social distancing efforts are working to slow down the coronavirus, according to an article by CNN. It is only appropriate that every state enforces a stay-at-home order to help stop the increase of the virus before its too late.

Though some Americans have let the orders of social distancing go over their heads, others know exactly how crucial it is now more than ever. A hashtag that read “#Stayathomeandstaysafe” was trending on Twitter earlier this week to encourage people to limit all unnecessary contact with others by staying home. It will take more than social distancing to eradicate this pandemic, however, practicing the concept will assist significantly in the prevention of losing more innocent lives to this virus and that is the most important thing right now.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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