AUSTIN (KXAN) — Health care workers at Dell Children’s Medical Center are trying to lift patient spirts, and their own, by showing the ways you can say hi during social distancing.
As of last week, Central Texas hospitals moved to a ‘no visitor’ policy. This has left many people with COVID-19 and their families in the hands of health care workers.
Many of them also have to social distance themselves from their own families, so they’re making the best of the situation.
So let’s review what social distancing is and how it can help health care workers and families affected by COVID-19.
Social distancing is a tool public health officials recommend to slow the spread of a disease that is being passed from person to person. Simply put, it means that people stay far enough away from each other so that the coronavirus – or any pathogen – cannot spread from one person to another.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes social distancing as staying away from mass gatherings and keeping a distance of 6 feet or 2 meters – about one body length – away from other people.
Social distancing can never prevent 100% of transmissions, but by following these simple rules, individuals can play a critical role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. If the number of cases isn’t kept below what the health care system can handle at any one time – called flattening the curve – hospitals could become overwhelmed, leading to unnecessary deaths and suffering. Flattening the curve is another way of saying slowing the spread.
Why is social distancing so crucial?
At the moment, it’s the only tool available to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Experts estimate that a vaccine is 12 to 18 months away. For now, there are no drugs available that can slow down a coronavirus infection.
Without a way to make people better once they fall sick or make them less contiguous, the only effective tactic is making sure hospital-level care is available to those who need it. The way to do that is to slow or stop the spread of the virus and decrease the number of cases at any one time.
If the public as a whole takes social distancing seriously, overwhelming the medical system could be avoided.
With the number of cases growing exponentially each day in Texas, social distancing is the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of the virus and keep health care workers and potential patients safe.