Living Well

The importance of social distancing

Dr. Falguni Patel
The importance of social distancing

As the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, communities are being asked to reduce close contact between people, even close friends and family. Our beloved festivals and events have even been postponed, and our favorite restaurants and meet-up spots have closed. Because COVID-19 spreads from person to person, reducing the ways people come in close contact with each other is essential. Social distancing is important and the most effective way to slow down the spread of this virus.

What is social distancing and how does it work?

Social distancing means staying home as much as possible and avoiding crowded, public places where close contact with others is very likely. This includes malls, movie theaters, festivals, airports, stadiums, and even weddings. It’s why events and gatherings of more than 10 people have been cancelled, why restaurants and bars are closing, and why schools all across Louisiana have closed—some resorting to online learning. For essential trips like going to the grocery store or doctor visits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping six feet between you and other people.

With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing is to slow down the outbreak of the virus to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations, and to reduce the burden on our healthcare workers. Experts have been calling this “flattening the curve.”

Social distancing and flattening the curve are not about stopping transmission; they’re about slowing it down so that we can deliver healthcare. Louisiana Emergency Response Network

Everyone plays a part

Social distancing requires the help of everyone in the community—and for Louisianans, we know that’s asking a lot. Our culture is all about friendly gatherings, sports games and crawfish boils. But if everyone does their part and does it right, we can reduce the number of people with the virus resulting in the reduction of people needing hospitalization and ventilators at any one time.

Low-risk people are also important to stopping community spread
While those who are older and those who have underlying health conditions—lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes—are at the greatest risk, anyone, even low-risk, young and healthy people can become exposed and spread COVID-19 to their friends and family.

Because it takes up to two weeks for symptoms to appear, we all must understand that this can become a statewide problem or even nationwide problem quickly, and do our part to flatten the curve.

About Dr. Patel:

After completing her Bachelor's of Science at Louisiana State University (LSU), Dr. Patel attended medical school at Ross University School of Medicine, followed by her completion of her Internal Medicine training at LSU Lafayette. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been practicing hospital medicine for the past 3 years at West Jefferson Medical Center .