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Wherever you are in the world we’re pretty sure you’ve been hearing the words social distancing, self-quarantining, and self-isolation from your government and health officials owing to the rising COVID-19 cases worldwide. But what do these words mean and why is it essential that we do our part?

Social distancing refers to “certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease” as this will give the “global health systems more time to care for patients who need help, which is also known as ‘flattening the curve.'”

If your health officials issued recommendations for social distancing, it means people are advised to stay home as much as possible even if you’re not infected and to avoid meeting in large groups. In some parts of the world travel bans; work and class suspensions are currently enforced; sporting events, conferences, and concerts are being cancelled; and even hugs and handshaking are discouraged. It doesn’t mean we can’t leave the confines of our homes though, we can. We can do groceries and we can go to the park, walk, jog, and bike outdoors but we must avoid crowds and maintain a “distance of six feet or 2 meters from others for a prolonged period of time.” 

On the other hand, what does self-isolation mean and why do we isolate? We practice self-isolation when we have been “instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. If you are ill, you should be separated from others in your household to the greatest extent possible.” Self-isolation is mostly observed for 14 days by those who traveled in countries with COVID-cases and by those who came in contact with or took care of people who has COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19, or those who developed respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath that started within 14 days of travel overseas.

Self-isolation is practiced even when we don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 as does self-quarantining. New York Times reported that if you “left an area with widespread or continuing transmission like China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, you should self-quarantine at home for a period of 14 days from the time you left.” And of course, we can’t receive visitors during this time, too.

It is imperative that we do our part in order to remain COVID-19 free, so stay at home as much as possible as this means saving your parents, your grandparents, your older neighbors, ourselves, and practically everyone really as coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. We are all in this together, guys, let’s look after each other. We can do this! 

Social distancing is not martial law, and yes, it is a bit inconvenient because you know—no gay bars, no parties, no gym, no work as only some can work from home, no gatherings, etc. But on the upside, we stay alive and we remain COVID-19 free. In any case, we can make social distancing fun by treating it as staycation so don’t forget to check the list of things we can do at home during the COVID-19 crisis. To learn more about COVID-19, read here and here for the latest statistics.

Keep safe, guys!