Why Social Distancing is Crucial to Stopping the Coronavirus

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photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license.

Easy ways to stop the coronavirus.

Katie Buelt, Features Editor

As the coronavirus continues to spread, it has become obvious that the elderly and those with preexisting conditions are by far the most at risk of entering critical conditions. As a result, those who are young and healthy see little reason to panic; after all,  studies have shown that the worst case scenario for them involves nothing more than cold and flu-like symptoms. In some cases, people have even taken advantage of the cheap flights and empty stores that have become more common with the influx of cases. On the surface, a few young adults trying to make the most of such a gloomy time may seem unimportant. However, these very actions could be putting the lives of others in danger, and the risks are certainly not worth the reward.

It can be difficult to comprehend why social distancing is so critical, especially for those whose health will not, technically, benefit from it. But these simple acts can make a massive difference in the world of public health. If one does not take the proper precautions, and contracts the illness as a result, they may have little to no symptoms, causing them to go about their daily lives without realizing they have the disease. Within a day, a single person makes contact with such a vast amount of both people and objects, that the disease could easily spread to a countless number of people– some of whom could be elderly and more at risk for severe symptoms.

It is easy to assume that the thousands of doctors of nurses we have nationwide will be able to take good care of all those who end up needing them. The unfortunate reality, however, is that we have a finite number of professionals and supplies, and if the number of coronavirus cases surpasses our hospital capacity, the consequences– including the loss of human life– could be massive. While all this may seem extreme, it is worth taking a few, seemingly trivial precautions for the time being in order to prevent this possible outcome from coming true. These include avoiding handshakes, avoiding travel, and, of course, washing your hands often. As epidemiologist George Rutherford put it, “It’s up to you to not get infected and to not infect others. Society needs your help.”