Know the Facts about Coronavirus in our Community

Why Social Distancing is so Important

How does staying home while social distancing help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus? Let's discuss.

March 23, 2020

Woman social distancing at home

Social distancing is the primary strategy used to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. As the name suggests, it calls for people to increase the space between one another and to avoid gatherings and crowds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people should maintain a distance of six feet from others when possible.

New York State has ordered all non-essential businesses to close or implement work-from-home policies indefinitely to help people better obey social distancing guidelines.

But how does staying home and self-quarantining help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus?

Basic Reproduction Number (“R naught”)

The goal of social distancing is to reduce the basic reproduction number, known as the “R naught”. The R naught represents the average number of people who can be infected by one person, and it can increase and decrease depending on the rate of spread.

For instance, the R naught of the 2009 strain of influenza (H1N1) that killed more than 18,000 people was between 1.4 and 1.6—meaning for every one person infected with H1N1, at least 1.4 more people became infected.

The R naught of COVID-19 is between 1.5 and 3.5 according to the Imperial College of London. This means that for every one person infected with COVID-19, there will be as many as 3.5 more positive cases. An R naught of 3.5 can have a fatal impact on a population as large as the United States.

Coronavirus or flu? Compare symptoms, prevention, and treatment

R naught of covid-19

What does flatten the curve mean?

Slowing the rate of the coronavirus spread will reduce the burden on healthcare systems. This is called “flattening the curve.”

The number of confirmed cases in the United States is growing at a faster rate than our healthcare system can manage. By overburdening our hospitals and healthcare facilities, we could be faced with a grim picture.

But if social distancing is effective and we flatten the curve, we’ll give our healthcare system and healthcare workers the chance to do their jobs and keep up with the number of patients who need treatment or hospitalization.

Flattening the curve of coronavirus

Healthcare workers ask you to stay home

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of social media posts from healthcare workers and their families have been shared online asking people to stay home so healthcare workers get a fair chance of dealing with the pandemic.

Stay connected to the elderly during social distancing

Here are some of the images that have been shared across the Rochester Regional Health system: 

2100 SAT COVID stay home message
4200 SAT COVID stay home message
Ashlei and Stacey Flatten the Curve Birth Registrar COVID stay home message
Batavia Urgent Care COVID stay home message
Chris Lugo CC trainer COVID stay home message
Unity COVID stay home message
CSH ICU COVID message
Dad is an RGH nurse COVID message
Dogs stay at home COVID message
Dr. Anjum Burki COVID message
Dr. Mary Rose Day COVID message
Dr. Wheeler's Kids COVID message
Folad Shaheed COVID message
Genesee Peds COVID positive message
Geneva Anticoagulation Clinic curbside service COVID positive message
heather Miraglia Riedman campus financial counselor COVID positive message
Kaitlyn Stokes RN COVID positive message
NWCH group COVID positive message
Rachel Berardini patient access rep registration COVID positive message
RGH COVID positive message
RGH team COVID positive message
RGH cardiothoracic surgery COVID positive message
RGH emergency services COVID message
RGH L and D 2 COVID words of encouragement
COVID encouraging image from Unity Family Birth Place
ACM COVID words of encouragement
RGH GI Endoscopy COVID words of encouragement
COVID encouraging words from Unity
COVID encouraging words from ACM Night Team Specimen Management
COVID encouraging words from RRH Spencerport Dialysis
COVID encouraging words from RRH Unity Spine Center
COVID encouraging words from RGH Dental Team

You can take part in the social movement by posting your picture with the hashtag #StayHome

How to practice social distancing

Staying at home is the most effective way to practice social distancing. Here are a few more ways you can prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Stay six feet away from other people
  • Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • No handshakes
  • No hugs

How to support your community during social distancing

Here are some ways you can stay connected or keep busy during social distancing.

  • Video call with friends and family
  • Watch movies and TV shows
  • Read a book
  • Do housework
  • Organize
  • Go for a walk / run / bike ride
  • Create new food recipes
  • Paint
  • Write reviews of local businesses
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Teach your pet new tricks
Know the Facts of COVID-19

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