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What is social distancing, and how does it help stop the spread of coronavirus?

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Social distancing means keeping people far enough apart that they can't spread coronavirus. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Cancel events where lots of people gather, like concerts, festivals, and conferences.
  • Work from home.
  • Keep kids out of school.
  • Don't travel by plane or train.
  • Visit with family and friends by phone and computer instead of in person.
  • Stand at least 6 feet away from people.
  • Don't hug or shake hands with anyone except your immediate family.
  • Do your shopping, especially for groceries or drugstore items, online if possible. If you do have to shop in person, keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.

SOURCES:

CDC: "Cases in U.S.," "How it Spreads," "Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities."

Columbia Mailman School of Public Health: "Public Health Rallies to 'Flatten the Curve.'"

Harvard Medical School: "Coronavirus Resource Center."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Coronavirus, Social Distancing and Self Quarantine."

Kaiser Health News: "Flattening the Curve and Social Distancing: Understanding the Drastic Measures That Experts Keep Talking About."

Michigan Health: "Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?"

News release, National Institutes of Health.

Wisconsin Public Radio: “Social Distancing In Wisconsin: Your Questions, Answered.”

New England Journal of Medicine : “Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1.”

China CDC Weekly: “Notes from the Field: Isolation of 2019-nCoV from a Stool Specimen of a Laboratory-Confirmed Case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on June 4, 2020

SOURCES:

CDC: "Cases in U.S.," "How it Spreads," "Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities."

Columbia Mailman School of Public Health: "Public Health Rallies to 'Flatten the Curve.'"

Harvard Medical School: "Coronavirus Resource Center."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Coronavirus, Social Distancing and Self Quarantine."

Kaiser Health News: "Flattening the Curve and Social Distancing: Understanding the Drastic Measures That Experts Keep Talking About."

Michigan Health: "Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?"

News release, National Institutes of Health.

Wisconsin Public Radio: “Social Distancing In Wisconsin: Your Questions, Answered.”

New England Journal of Medicine : “Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1.”

China CDC Weekly: “Notes from the Field: Isolation of 2019-nCoV from a Stool Specimen of a Laboratory-Confirmed Case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on June 4, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

When should someone who’s been exposed to coronavirus self-quarantine? And how’s it done?

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