Social distancing: The bain of our existence or the savior of lives?

ART BY SHIRLEEN KWONG

  The ultimate showstopper: COVID-19 has closed schools, suspended national events and hindered social interactions, becoming the greatest roadblock to everyone’s enjoyment.

  Social distancing, the actions of limiting the amount of contact with others, helps limit the spread of highly contagious diseases or worldwide pandemics. Due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, many countries across the world and multiple states in the nation have implemented emergency policies recommended by multiple health organizations and experts, into legislation. Recently, with the number of cases exponentially rising in America, the White House has urged states that have not taken any or little action to stop the spread to start limiting any gathering of people to ten or less. 

  As a direct result of social distancing, people have been disappointed or even angered by the cancellation or postponement of many favorite national events, like the next season of the National Basketball League (NBA). 

  Though the actions of social distancing do seem to work, there is a high amount of skepticism of the negative effect of the coronavirus, with many believing it is just like the ordinary flu. So, they believe the actions of social distancing are completely unnecessary; however, that is simply not the case.

 Despite this, do these people have a point? Does social distancing actually work and is it even needed for the pandemic that the world is facing? Is it even worth giving up our daily activities?

  Unfortunately, a large part of America is still turning their heads at every warning the public receives. Essentially, they are aware of the disastrous effects that COVID-19 has wrecked around the world, but continue to engage in events that only allow the virus to spread easier. Although social distancing may seem as insignificant in containing coronavirus, the fact remains that a large part of our nation is extremely vulnerable, and we all need to do our part to ensure minimal deaths from the sickness.

  Though there has not been a pandemic or worldwide disease as infectious as coronavirus in recent history, the idea of quarantining one’s self or staying away from others is well known across the world to be the most effective way from not catching any illness. Consequently, the idea to stay away from very populated areas when someone’s sick to not get anyone else sick is very standard in terms of medical advance.

  In terms of the coronavirus, it is extremely helpful to limit the contact with others since the virus is very contagious, but only in small distances since the infected people with the virus can only reach people within six feet away, compared to measles at 40 feet. Self-quarantining can go a long way since coronavirus can only infect such a small area. For instance, an infected person can only infect others that are around him, and if they were to stay at home, he would probably not infect any other person compared to if he went on with their regular routine. 

   Moreover,  the coronavirus is known to be worse than the flu since there is no form of vaccine to combat the virus. The seasonal flu may have killed thousands each year, but at least it has a vaccine to combat the flu from sweeping the world of a deadly pandemic. With coronavirus, however, there is not any vaccine, so the only real logical solution to slowing the spread of the virus is to limit as much contact with other people as possible.

  However, maybe there are some people who undermine the severity of the disease by simply believing the strain will be gone in a matter of weeks. To an extent, this is true for young individuals, as their fatality rate ranges from 0.1 to 0.2 percent, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nonetheless, if people were to look at the fatality rate on the other end of the age spectrum, it looks much worse. 80 percent of deaths from the coronavirus come from people ages 65 and above, and the elderly have a death rate ranging  from 10 percent to 25 percent. 

  Further, the people most at risk are older people; yet, the major reason why these people are dying has more to do with the amount of people infected and the availability of hospitals care. Most of COVID-19 deaths across the world are directly related to hospitals not having enough resources to treat infected people at once, resulting in these heath care centers having to choose which people could get life saving treatment and care. Because the demand exponentially outweighs the supply, many could not recover since there are not enough resources for everyone. 

  The main way experts have said will stop as many deaths as possible would be to slow the spread of the virus, and the main way to do that would be through social distancing. People are going to get infected, but overloading the medical system with a large amount of infected people at once will lead to a mass wave of deaths. If the spread of the virus is slowed, it will give scientists more time to develop a vaccine, since the number of people infected is low and the chance of the scientists being infected as well. With the extra time, the vaccine can be fully developed and administered to the general public faster, saving more lives in the process.

  Overall, it is understandable that  people may feel frustrated by the government’s response to enacting policies that have crippled the social atmosphere of the nation. Nevertheless, these actions are being done for the greater good, ensuring that our nation is safe from the effects of a widespread virus.

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