Saturday, February 29, 2020

Social Distancing and Coronavirus COVID-19

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. A Health Officer or department has the legal authority to carry out social distancing measures.  We don't need government officials to mandate this.  We can choose to distance ourselves socially in order to protect ourselves and our family.

In a nutshell it is a proactive non-pharmaceutical infection control action.

The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately, mortality.

Social distancing is most effective when the infection can be transmitted via droplet contact (coughing or sneezing). 

Some examples of social distancing used to control the spread of contagious illnesses include:
  • school closure (proactive or reactive)
  • workplace closure including closure of “non-essential” businesses and social services. “Non-essential” means those facilities that do not maintain primary functions in the community, as opposed to essential services.
  • isolation (health care)
  • quarantine
  • cordon sanitaire*
  • protective sequestration
  • cancellation of mass gatherings such as sports events, films or musical shows.
  • shutting down or limiting mass transit
  • closure of recreational facilities (community swimming pools, youth clubs, gymnasiums).
  • "self-shielding" measures for individuals include limiting face-to-face contacts, conducting business by phone or online, avoiding public places and reducing unnecessary travel. The "elbow bump" and the "Dracula sneeze" are additional measures to reduce direct person-to-person transmission of microorganisms.

School closures

School closures were shown to reduce morbidity from the Asian Flu by 90% during the 1957-58 outbreak, and up to 50% in controlling influenza in the US, 2004-2008. Similarly, mandatory school closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29% to 37% reduction in influenza transmission rates during the 2009 flu epidemic in Mexico.

In January 2020, a cordon sanitaire was drawn around the Chinese city of Wuhan, known as the Wuhan lockdown, in response to an outbreak of coronavirus. As the outbreak expanded, travel restrictions impacted over half of the Chinese population, creating what may be the largest cordon sanitaire in history.

I am an Artist who carries a paintbrush, camera and notebook. Instagram: @pattifriday

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