Social distancing crucial to stop spread of COVID-19
Social distancing has been discussed quite a bit as a way of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. WHSV spoke with a doctor to learn about what exactly it looks like.
"Social distancing is critical at the moment because we are trying to flatten the curve," Dr. Allison Baroco, medical director of infectious diseases at Augusta Health, said.
But what exactly is social distancing? Dr. Baroco said it's when you deliberately separate, or distance, yourself from others. That doesn't just mean standing six feet away from someone at the grocery store.
"The further away you are from people, the better," Dr. Baroco said. "So although across the nation six feet has come into play, it's better if people stay home and distance themselves completely."
If people don't social distance, Dr. Baroco said COVID-19 could spread so quickly, it could overwhelm hospitals.
"If we were to have everybody get COVID within a one week period of time, our healthcare system would be overburdened and we'd have a difficult time treating all the people that would need our help," Dr. Baroco said.
She said people should be distancing from everyone except for the people who live in their house. Even hanging out with small groups of other people can put yourself and others at risk.
"And that small group is exposed to another group of people, perhaps they're essential workers, then all of a sudden, you're increasing your risk of exposure," Dr. Baroco said.
However, there are some errands that still need to be taken care of, like getting medication or groceries. Dr. Baroco said curbside pick-up and delivery are great choices if they're available, since that limits exposure.
If you have to go, she recommends washing your hands as often as possible, or bringing hand sanitizer. Dr. Baroco said she does not recommend wearing gloves, instead, frequent hand-washing is better. She said you can still be exposed if you touch something while wearing the gloves, and then still touch your face.
Dr. Baroco said covering your face is reasonable, but to use something like a bandanna or a cloth mask. Healthgrade equipment is in such short supply that those should be left for healthcare workers.