Tired of social distancing? It’s not the time to let up.
Social distancing policies and state-required stay-at-home orders are well into their second month in both Illinois and Wisconsin as public health leaders continue stress the importance of slowing the spread of COVID-19.
But a new study from the University of Maryland suggests that the public’s willingness to go along with the stay-at-home orders might be slipping. Their research tracked cellphone data and found that people are leaving their homes more, and traveling farther when they do. They called it “quarantine fatigue.”
Dr. Robert Citronberg, director of infectious disease at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL, says he understands that social distancing isn’t always easy. Now is not the time to let up, though.
“Social distancing works. The best way to keep people safe during this global pandemic is to slow the spread of the virus,” Dr. Citronberg says. “There’s no question that this can be difficult, but the rapid spread of this new coronavirus is worse. Lives are at stake.”
So far, more than 2,000 people in Illinois and more than 280 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, but the governors of both states and public health officials have said those numbers would be far higher without the social distancing of the last two months. And if people let up now, those numbers could climb faster.
“Now that we have made substantial progress in flattening the curve, we need to work that much harder to bend it down,” Dr. Citronberg says.
The most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of this deadly virus is practice social distancing. That means staying home if your job allows it, except for essential trips for groceries or other essentials. And when you go out, you should stay six feet away from others, avoid contact and wash your hands regularly and vigorously.
The idea behind social distancing is simple. The virus spreads via droplets in the air. People are more likely to breathe in those droplets when they’re close to each other. If people generally stay away from each other, the droplets won’t spread. A Centers for Disease Control video explains.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.