Isolation Vs. Social Distancing | The Important Differences
The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected nearly all parts of the world. The most affected countries, regions, and cities have undergone severe lifestyle changes including social distancing and isolation. Basic rights such as freedom of movement and mobility rights are put on hold while the coronavirus outbreak lasts.
No one is protected from COVID-19. From celebrities to our family members and ourselves, regardless of their age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status everybody is vulnerable.
Both social distancing and isolation are important ways to protect yourself and the people around you from coronavirus. Currently, these are the most effective defense we have against the spread of this disease.
What is the Difference between Social Distancing and Self-Isolation?
Social distancing involves reducing social, face-to-face interaction between people to slow the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is an important step to protect yourself as one of the basic measures of fighting against this disease.
Social distancing means that you maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people, especially those who are coughing and/or sneezing. It also involves avoiding shaking hands and affection gestures such as hugging and kissing.
Self-isolation, on the other hand, applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus, live with someone who does, or to people who traveled to the region affected by the coronavirus pandemic (in general, all countries have now applied this rule to their citizens who are returning from abroad).
Who Should Be Practicing Social Distancing?
Right now, everyone should be reducing face-to-face interaction with other people. However, if you are over 65 years old, or you are pregnant, you should be taking extra care to practice social distancing.
How to Practice Social Distancing?
In addition to limiting face-to-face contact, avoid non-essential travel and use of public transport. Also, avoid large gatherings and don’t go to the cinema, restaurants, or bars. Keep in touch with friends and family using technology instead of practicing face-to-face gatherings. If you can, work from home.
Who Should Practice Self-Isolation?
While you can still go outside while practicing social distance (but make sure that you stay at least 6 feet from other people), self-isolation means staying at home. Experiences with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic show that self-isolation is the most effective way of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
It is strongly advised to self-isolate if you have any symptoms of coronavirus such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or respiratory symptoms. Additionally, you should self-isolate if you have been exposed to coronavirus or live with someone who was.
You should self-isolate for 14 days, as this is the incubation period for coronavirus (COVID-19).
What Does Self-Isolation Mean and How to Manage It?
The measures of self-isolation mean that you stay at home and don’t go out. Have someone do the shopping for you and don’t go to work, school, or use public transport, Uber, or taxis. Maintain social distance from other people in your home.
Self-isolation can be very challenging. To make staying at home easier, stay in touch with people by phone, social media, and other technology.
Isolation does not mean that you cannot reach out and speak to anyone. If you have been quarantined It is important to still find ways to connect with family and friends. Fortunately, technology allows us to stay connected and maintain closeness even in these hard times of social distancing and self-isolation.
While we are physically distancing, it is more important than ever that we stay spiritually and emotionally connected.
Self-isolation doesn’t mean you need to bottle up your needs and emotions. Use technology and Apps to reach out to people you trust and talk about your feelings. This will boost your mood and help maintain good mental health.
Also, keep a routine going and have a designated work/study/relax area in your home. Maintain boundaries during self-isolation: limit the amount of time you check on news, create time apart from other family members, and prioritize health and safety. Read a book, listen to music and spend time outside (in your backyard or balcony). Take it a day at a time and remember that we’re all in this together.