As the world continues to grapple with the reality of the coronavirus becoming a global pandemic, people are desperately searching for ways to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. This has led to everything from toilet paper shortages, curfews, and a number of preventive measures that fall under the umbrella term, social distancing. That being said what exactly is social distancing and how applicable would it be over here in Nigeria?
Read on to find out.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing refers to a set of actions taken to curb the spread of an infectious disease within a specific population. In the case of the coronavirus, it involves everything from avoiding large crowds by staying at home, to imposing travel restrictions and keeping a safe distance from others whenever you do have to go outside.
The World Health Organization (WHO) itself endorses that an individual maintains a distance of approximately 3 feet or more away from anyone showing coronavirus symptoms, while the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) recommends that distance should be doubled at 6 feet.
What does social distancing entail?
As the name suggests, it involves avoiding any activities that might require you to interact with others socially. So think avoiding shaking hands or attending sporting events, conventions, the movies and even work or school. Most schools have already been shut down in most affected countries as a means of curbing the pandemic, and workers have been obliged to work from home, all in an effort to limit the possibility of those workers and students distributing the virus amongst one another. Most cinemas have also been shut down, or have taken other steps to ensure that their patrons can maintain a safe distance between one another.
What effect would social distancing have on businesses and the economy as a whole?
This past weekend, the American movie box office recorded its lowest take in the past 22 years. This was mainly due to the aforementioned measures taken by theater owners to ensure their theaters were spaced out enough to make patrons feel comfortable, as well as moviegoers themselves nominating to stay home and elude any large assemblies.
This is just one example from countless others that shows the impact social distancing is already having on businesses and the economy. In the long run, many businesses are estimated to lose billions of dollars from lost revenues as well as additional operating costs brought on by the need to protect patrons. Many are in fact projected to go out of business, especially those that operate on very low profit margins and rely on day-to-day business to keep the lights on.
Can social distancing truly stop the Coronavirus?
The primary objective of social distancing in this case is not to completely stop the coronavirus from spreading, but rather to attempt to significantly slow its spread. The fact of the matter is the coronavirus has no cure, and the chances of developing one in time to re verse the current crisis are very low. So our best cover presently is to do everything we can to decelerate the spread of the virus.
This is required in order to limit the impact cases would have on the various health care providers. Hospitals and medical facilities can only attend to so many people at once, so reducing the number of people that need to seek medical services would help ease the burden placed upon the providers of such services.