What is social distancing? This practice is key to slowing the coronavirus, public health experts say

www.marketwatch.com
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Experts says the tactic will help 'flatten the curve' and prevent an explosion of new cases
Canceling events. Closing schools. Avoiding crowds. Staying home. All of these actions have one goal in common, and it can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness: social distancing.

As the coronavirus-borne disease outbreak that began in China has become a pandemic, public health experts have advocated that the public engage in "social distancing," a practice that is crucial in reducing the transmission rate of a highly contagious illness like the novel coronavirus.

" The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.' "

Research has found that SARS-CoV-2, the formal name for the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, travels in droplets and could prospectively remain airborne up to three hours after someone who is infected has coughed or sneezed. Other studies have concluded that coronaviruses can remain alive on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to multiple days.

Given how easily the virus can spread, health officials have said that social distancing is crucial when it comes to staying healthy and avoiding spreading the virus to others.

How do you socially distance?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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."

Social-distancing behaviors can occur on a large scale and a more individual scale alike. Large-scale measures that have already become commonplace include the cancellation of major events such as parades and sports tournaments and the closing of public spaces such as schools and churches.

Local officials in many parts of the country have temporarily instituted capacity limits…
Jacob Passy
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