social distancing

social dis

gif linked to image


wikipedia small

Social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately mortality.

Social distancing is most effective when an infection can be transmitted via droplet contact (coughing or sneezing); direct physical contact, including sexual contact; indirect physical contact (e.g., by touching a contaminated surface); or airborne transmission (if the microorganism can survive in the air for long periods).

Social distancing may be less effective in cases where an infection is transmitted primarily via contaminated water or food or by vectors such as mosquitoes or other insects and less frequently from person to person. Drawbacks of social distancing can include loneliness, reduced productivity and the loss of other benefits associated with human interaction.

Historically, leper colonies and lazarettos were established as a means of preventing the spread of leprosy and other contagious diseases through social distancing, until transmission was understood and effective treatments invented.


adding page during virus ness (more here) on this day (day after state stay at home in effect):

Read it. ALL OF IT. Then retweet it and email it to everyone you know.

Original Tweet:

4 min read

I have noticed two things that are either not articulated or not present in the “literature” of social media.

First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks. This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. You will feel discouraged. You should. This is normal in chaos. But this is normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm. This enemy that we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse.. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well-received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. families) in transmission dynamics..  You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not. This is not a joke or a hypothetical. We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again and no one listens. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.

In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also take a long time to see the results. It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how on a population level ‘one quick little get together’ can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does. I promise you it does. I promise. I promise. I promise. You can’t cheat it. People are already itching to cheat on the social distancing precautions just a “little”- a playdate, a haircut, or picking up a needless item at the store, etc. From a transmission dynamics standpoint, this very quickly recreates a highly connected social network that undermines all of the work the community has done so far.

This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices. My goal in writing this is to prevent communities from getting ‘sucker-punched’ by what the epidemiological community knows will happen in the coming weeks. It will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and become paralyzed by fear, or to ‘cheat’ a little bit in the coming weeks. By knowing what to expect, and knowing the importance of maintaining these measures, my hope is to encourage continued community spirit, strategizing, and action to persevere in this time of uncertainty.


I was thinking the same thing. “Physical Distancing” is what we’re really doing. My “social distance” is closer than usual between working on multiple task forces, checking in with entrepreneurs, doing video calls all day, etc.

Original Tweet:

article: Isolation is hazardous to your health. The term ‘social distancing’ doesn’t help

Referring to those measures as “physical distancing” is more specific, more accurate and could ultimately save more lives, he said.

Aldrich fears the phrase “social distancing” suggests we should be turning inward and closing ourselves off from friends and neighbors in the outside world.

“That’s the exact opposite of what we want people to do,” he said. “You need to have as close social ties as possible when physical distancing is in effect.”

“The reason we survived is not because we listened to the evacuation order — we didn’t,” he said. “We survived because a person we had just met knocked on our door and said, ‘You need to go.’”

“Staying connected is a way to stay grounded,” she said. “It keeps you from being pulled into a state of sheer anxiety.”