Coronavirus: Experts explain how to properly social distance

A droplet from a cough or sneeze can travel 6 feet from person to person

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Many of us are practicing social distancing – and staying away from others, or even staying home altogether.

According to Cleveland Clinic’s Matthew Faiman, M.D., it’s best to stay about six feet away from others.

“Things that are like the flu, like coronavirus, that are passed by respiratory droplet - which is something airborne - the six feet rule is really where this comes into be, and that’s why the social distancing,” said Dr. Faiman.

Six feet is generally the length a droplet, from a cough or sneeze, can travel from person to person.

Social distancing can be beneficial during any cold and flu season – but is especially important when there’s community spread of an illness.

“By keeping our distance from others, we are preventing this virus from doing what it wants, and that is infecting more and more people,” said Frank Esper, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Skipping handshakes and hugs can also reduce virus spread. People should avoid touching their faces too. And washing hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is important.

“Use additional hand-washing measures before you go in and out,” said Dr. Faiman. “If you’re touching something and you’re not sure someone else might have touched and what or where they have been, it’s best to have additional means and disinfectant and hand-washing until you can actually get home and do a good hand-washing with soap and water.”

Social distancing will be recommended for several weeks, and while it may cause some discomfort and cabin fever, it’s important to remember that it’s designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the virus’s impact on communities.