Social Distancing: How Does It Help?

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Social distancing, along with wearing a mask and hand hygiene, is one of the best ways to keep the coronavirus from spreading to yourself or others.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people who aren’t from your household.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) of space between yourself and others. You should keep up that amount of space whether you’re indoors or outdoors.

Why Does Social Distancing Work?

Keeping space between yourself and others helps to lower your risk of getting droplets with coronavirus on your face or hands.

Someone can spread the coronavirus even without any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to practice social distancing even if people around you don’t seem sick.

    People seen from above keeping space away from one another to keep social distancing.

    Social Distancing Myths & Facts

    Social distancing is, for now, our new normal. William Petri, MD, talks about the science behind social distancing and clarifies some of the confusion around how coronavirus spreads and how to protect yourself from catching it. 

    Read Social Distancing blog post

    Social Distancing at Higher Risk

    Older people especially should practice social distancing. The risks of coronavirus increase with age. You should also be extra careful if you have other conditions, like:

    • Cancer
    • Immunocompromised (weakened immune system)
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Obesity
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

    Stay Safe on the Go

    These social distancing tips can help you keep safe while out of the house:

    • Know and follow the public health guidance and mandates for the area you’re visiting. See the Virginia policies.
    • Try to avoid using public transport. If you do use it, be aware of your surroundings and maintain space between yourself and other riders and workers. Avoid using ride sharing trips if you can.
    • Limit your visits to stores. Use other methods of shopping, like delivery and curb-side pickup, if you can.
    • Pay attention to floor stickers, signs, and other guides in place to help you keep your distance.
    • Choose outdoor activities where you can maintain space around yourself.
    • Consider how many people are inside a room or building, and whether it’s too many to keep at least 6 feet of space between you and others.