The term social distancing seems to be sending the wrong message to millions of people world over as they struggle to come to terms with this COVID-19 pandemic. Many are asking what this term "Social Distancing" means. Is the term used wrongly by authorities at the onset of the epidemic?
This term came into place after Corona Virus started spreading in different parts of the world. Many health ministry’s having identified how the infectious virus is transmitted, settled on social distancing among a host of other techniques to curb its spread. This confusion in what is meant by the term social distancing has raised numerous question but here is what the general public needs to know.
Social distancing does not mean cutting social ties and staying all alone. Instead it loosely translates to physical distancing which includes a host of interventions like staying and working from home and maintaining a one-meter distance between individuals at all times.
This therefore means that the correct term that should be used should be "physical Distancing rather than social distancing which was misleading and that its widespread usage could be counterproductive.
The world health organization also came to this realization and applauded Daniel Aldrich, a professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University who first sort to correct the confusion caused by this term Social Distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a clear indication that the efforts taken to slow the spread of corona virus through maintaining physical distancing should not trample upon strengthening social ties because social ties are an important component in fighting and getting through this disaster.
Networks and cohesion among communities has been a major way of showing resilience among people during major shocks such as pandemics, war and other natural disasters for many years and cutting such links now through misinterpretation could prove fatal.
In March 20th the WHO came out to state why it had changed from social distancing to the term physical distancing saying that they were changing to say ‘physical distance,’ and that’s on purpose because they want people to still remain connected. This social connection is what was going to lead to better mass emancipation and sharing of knowledge that will enable the world get back to its feet. Don't you think so?
The semantics of "Social distancing", which refers to creating physical space between one another and avoiding large gatherings, comes from public health and epidemiology lexicon but many misinterpreted it, to some people, they thought social distancing meant ‘If I had friendships before, it’s time to hunker down. Or, if I were a member of a church or synagogue, it’s time to pray by myself.”
That should not be the case, as it is now, truth be told even in the midst of the continuous fight to kick this pandemic out and get back to our real selves, the COVID-19 order is going to be around for a little while, what else can we do if not feel connected?
Many cases have been reported of people who stopped attending the gym, music concerts, school, offices but are neither reaching out on social media or using modern technology to maintain this much need social connections. The elderly are the most affected by this changes as most of them are not on these modern tech platforms and this makes it hard for them to know or even live well. It is thus important to maintain social ties through calls or sharing messages just to keep them on the know and know how they are doing on a daily basis.
Communities with strong social networks, which can share lifesaving information with one another are the ones that have been able to survive and live again a new life after a pandemic or hard hitting situation. Weak social ties are a root cause of vulnerable populations.
So Let's get this right - we need physical distancing not social distancing during covid-19 pandemic. Let’s get in touch with those we have been in constant communication with, lets share what we know-make sure it is verified information so you don’t get on the wrong side of the law. Find out what your friends are doing, link up on Skype, Facebook or Instagram as you work from home.
If you have read something informative out there on social media feel free to share with your family. Call them up and check on them. Let’s keep our social circles intact and not socially keep distance. I hope you now understand that what we need is physical distancing and not social distancing during covid-19 pandemic. Staying connected is a way to stay grounded. It keeps you from being pulled into a state of sheer anxiety and isolation is hazardous to your health. Stay safe and protected.