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The Biggest Change You Can Make to Stop the Spread of COVID-19: Social Distancing

Recent scientific models show that the single most important factor in limiting the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is social distancing.

We know that the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets, which are produced by coughs or sneezes through close contact with others. This close contact means being within 6 feet (or around two arm lengths) of others.

Social Distancing Directly Impacts Those Facing Cancer

For many people, staying home and isolating themselves for 24 hours a day is not possible. This is especially true for those that need cancer treatment, need to travel outside of their home to receive essential medical treatment, or need to shop for essential items. By avoiding situations and opportunities for transmission to occur, we reduce the ability of the virus to spread and help safeguard those at higher risk.

Social distancing does two crucial things:

  • It minimizes your interactions with others, therefore reducing your own risk of exposure to disease.
  • When large percentages of people practice social distancing, it slows the outbreak of disease in the general population.

What Does Social Distancing Include?

Social distancing means changing your everyday routine to minimize close contact with others. This includes:

  • Avoiding gatherings of people
  • Avoiding common greetings, like handshakes and hugs
  • Limiting any unnecessary contact with people at higher risk (e.g., older adults and those in poor health)

This image, created by the Signer Lab at the University of California San Diego, illustrates the power of social distancing.This image, created by the Signer Lab at the University of California San Diego, illustrates the power of social distancing.

Promoting Social Distancing

The science behind social distancing is strong, and Fox Chase is encouraging this practice within our center.

Social distancing practices you will see at Fox Chase include: 

  • Group seating will be removed or spread out to encourage space between individuals
  • Updating our visitation policy to decrease the number of people within the center

While Fox Chase is taking the steps listed above, the benefits of social distancing rely on everyone doing their part. You can practice social distancing by:

  • Staying home as much as possible, including meals and entertainment
  • Shopping during off-peak hours
  • Using technology to keep in touch with friends and family instead of in-person visits
  • Using food delivery services and online shopping

What Does Social Distancing Have to do with “Flattening the Curve”?

This term is often used alongside social distancing. An outbreak without intervention creates a steep increase in infection. Social distancing slows the acceleration of cases and reduces the demand on hospitals. When graphed, the increase/decrease draws a curve. To flatten (or reduce the height of) the curve, people must socially distance themselves from other people and decrease the spread of the virus. If people do not practice social distancing, the healthcare system will not be able to handle the volume of cases of COVID-19. By practicing and promoting social distancing, the acceleration of cases can be slowed. This reduction in the number of cases will decrease demands on the healthcare system, allowing it to adequately tend to those who need care.

Together We Can Slow the Spread

As cases of COVID-19 in the United States grow exponentially, we need to work together to slow the spread by making an effort to keep a physical distance between each other. Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak, and this is no different.

Together, we can keep ourselves and each other safe.

More information on COVID-19