ABC News March 13th, 2020
Measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus are underway with schools closed, sports events canceled and business conferences postponed. These measures, considered “social distancing,” may be key in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
“Social distancing is a public health intervention in which people are discouraged from convening in groups and encouraged to keep physical distance from others in order to slow the spread of illness,” said Dr. Neha Chaudhary, child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Brainstorm, Stanford’s lab for mental health innovation.
“The goal is to prevent the number of cases of illness from spiking rapidly past our health care system’s ability to keep up,” she said. “If we can slow the spread of the illness, then the hope is that even if the total number of cases is as high, the pace is slow enough such that our hospitals and health systems can continue to accommodate the people who need treatment.”
During the 1918 influenza pandemic, approximately 22% of the population in Sydney avoided infection due to social distancing measures like closing theaters, canceling classes and quarantining ill patients. These interventions could prove vital for mitigating the coronavirus pandemic.
As we continue to implement social distancing throughout the US, one thing remains clear: the sooner we contain COVID-19, the sooner these measures can end.