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Social distancing Do’s and Don’ts: How to slow down a pandemic

“Social distancing” is a method of slowing the spread of COVID-19 by reducing contact and increasing proximity in public so you don’t infect someone and they don’t infect you. The No. 1 rule is to stay 6 feet away from each other.
Passengers make their way through Tampa International Airport on Friday. Social distancing is a method of slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by reducing contact and distance with other people in public. The No. 1 rule is to stay 6 feet away from each other. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

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Social distancing is a way to slow the spread of a contagious disease such as COVID-19 by reducing contact between people. The goal is to reduce the chance everyone gets sick at the same time, which will overwhelm our health care system.

Related: Coronavirus experts encourage distance. Is it happening in Tampa Bay?

Why practice social distancing if you’re healthy? So you don’t infect someone who isn’t.

• Try to stay 6 feet away from people. COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets. Stay far enough away so no one coughs or sneezes on you.

• Avoid physical contact. No more hugs or kisses.

• Don’t touch your face. Be mindful of what you touch.

• Restrict trips away from home.

• Ask yourself: Do I have to leave the house? If not, don’t.

• If you have to leave, do so at off-peak hours. Hit the grocery store early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoid crowds.

• Wash your hands before you leave, while you’re out and when you get back.

• Think about Uber Eats, Grubhub and other delivery services if restaurants are still open. And Instacart and Shipt for groceries. Avoid contact with the driver.

• Small groups are risky. Everyone must be healthy, wash themselves and common items and maintain the 6-foot rule.

• Dating? A pandemic is probably a bad time to meet someone new.

• Parents, play dates may not be a good idea. Kids can transmit the disease. Can you really clean your kids and everything else well enough? Ireland banned play dates, by the way.

• Stay away from people with flu-like symptoms. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay away from everyone else.

• Remember: You don’t have to have symptoms to be infected.

• The more at-risk you are, the stricter you should be. If you are in your 60s or older, or have an underlying disease or disorder, such as heart disease, COVID-19 is more dangerous to you.

Where is this heading? California Gov. Gavin Newsom advised everyone 65 or older in his state to self-isolate at home.

What you think is unreasonable now may seem overdue a week from now.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Florida Department of Health

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