Social Distancing and Travel During Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
What it might mean for you, and how you’ll know if it’s time to start
During the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic, many U.S. cities implemented what’s called social distancing to stop the spread of the deadly virus. This mostly involved closing schools and banning public gatherings for weeks or even months at a time. While it sounds a little extreme, it worked: The cities that enforced restrictions earlier and for longer had lower mortality rates than cities that waited or started and stopped the measures.
Health professionals are now looking to the 1918–1919 flu for guidance on how to handle the growing global Covid-19 outbreak, and social distancing recommendations are starting to look more and more likely. Read on to find out what it might mean for you, and how you’ll know when it’s time to start.
Should I stop going out in public if I’m healthy but the virus has been detected in my region? Is it time to start avoiding crowds, work, the gym?
The CDC has now advised people who are elderly or have an underlying health condition or weakened immune system to stock up on supplies, avoid crowds as much as possible, and distance themselves from people in public, especially anyone who appears to be sick.
Everyone else should be in a phase of personal vigilance (wash your hands, maybe don’t shake other people’s hands, don’t touch your face), but you don’t need to change your daily routine unless you want to. In general, you should always do your best to avoid people who are sick, especially if they’re coughing, and certainly don’t go out in public if you yourself are ill.
If there is a Covid-19 outbreak in your community, check your local health department’s website for additional recommendations. In King County, Washington, one of the areas hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, the public health department is recommending, but not requiring, that people — especially those at higher risk of illness — avoid or postpone large events and gatherings, that…