The Future of Social Distancing

Norine Moore, staff writer

As states begin to lift lockdowns and ease rules many people are starting to wonder what the future of social distancing will be. Since not all is known about COVID-19,  healthcare experts and scientists are unable to give a definite answer. One thing that we do know is that there will be many changes for the months to come. 

The CDC defines social distancing as keeping space between you and others from outside of your home. They recommend standing at least six feet apart and not gathering in large groups as those are many ways that the virus can spread. COVID-19 can pass from person to person even if they are asymptomatic because although they aren’t showing symptoms of the virus they might still have it and can give to anyone they come in contact with. 

Over the weeks we have already seen many changes following the social distancing guidelines and we can expect to see them for a while.  Many stores have taped arrows on the floors guiding customers where to go and making the lanes one-way traffic to avoid overcrowding the narrow rows. Stores have also taken the time to set up online orders and have curbside pickup where customers can purchase their items online and pick them up outside of the store instead of having to go in. These new tactics are very helpful in slowing the spread because it eliminates contact between customers and employees. Also, many public places are enforcing rules such as “no mask, no entry” or limiting the amount of customers allowed in the store at a time. 

Recently the CDC put out the guidelines for reopening schools in the fall. These include things such as students and faculty wearing cloth face masks at all times, distancing the desks, and having regular sanitation times. Some have even talked about having lunch in small groups in classrooms instead of everyone congregating in cafeterias. 

While we are doing our best to take the necessary precautions, not enough is known about the virus to accurately say how long we will need to distance for. In April, scientists at Harvard Public School of Health released a statement saying that, “Intermittent distancing may be required into 2022 unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or a treatment or vaccine becomes available.” This number is just an estimate based on coronavirus cases in mid-April so it is very likely that the odds have improved since then. 

Lately, coronavirus cases have been on the decrease in the United States and visits to hospitals and emergency rooms have lowered as well. While we are still battling COVID-19, we are now seeing signs of hope and improvement.