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Why Social Distancing Is Crucial

Mar 26, 2020
By Natasha Bhuyan
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Updated March 26, 2020.

There are many mixed messages and misconceptions around the importance of social distancing circulating. For example, you may hear young people are less likely to get critically ill, so it’s safe for them to be out and about. However, new data shows that nearly 40 percent of those hospitalized in the U.S. from COVID-19 are aged 20-54. While it’s unfortunate that many have had to close businesses that are considered non-essential during this time, economists point out that social distancing is not only saving lives, but also protecting the much-needed workforce from being depleted due to unnecessary illnesses and deaths.

We want to take this opportunity to make One Medical’s position clear: social distancing is crucial to the survival of hundreds of thousands of people.

By acting in ways that may seem drastic now, we increase our ability to “flatten the curve,” allowing for a more gradual rather than acute rise in COVID-19 cases to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system all at once. The health of our patients and providers remains our number one priority, and we can all do our part to help those that are most affected by this pandemic.

What does it mean to “flatten the curve”?

Many medical experts, government leaders, public figures, and even economists, have been pleading for public support in “flattening the curve.” This now widely echoing phrase, often accompanied by a demonstrative chart, refers to how social distancing efforts can prevent the rapid spread of disease. By taking proactive measures to ease the spread rather than allowing it to sharply spike at once, hospitals and healthcare providers will have more bandwidth to care for those in critical need, preventing unnecessary deaths.

How can you do your part?

While many local and state governments have issued “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” mandates, guidance still varies from city to city and state to state. Despite the restrictions in place in your local area, One Medical suggests practicing strict social distancing during this time:

  • Work from home unless it’s essential for you to go into the workplace (i.e. if you’re a healthcare provider, grocery store clerk, emergency responder, etc.)
  • Avoid going to public places unless absolutely essential. When planning necessary trips to the store, make sure you’re mindful of ways to protect yourselves and others while grocery shopping. Or consider having your groceries delivered, if that option is available to you.
  • Exercising outdoors is okay and encouraged for maintaining your physical and mental health. But there are many ways to proactively practice social distancing while enjoying outdoor time. For example, swap your regular run through a popular park for a trail-less-traveled, maintain a 6-foot-distance from others (even if that means crossing the street to avoid passing someone on the sidewalk) and however tempting, don’t use common surfaces as exercise equipment.
  • Swap in-person meet-ups for video hangouts or phone calls. While a small gathering with a few friends may feel safe, research shows that much of the spread is taking place among people who are asymptomatic. Even if you aren’t touching others directly, people can still spread the virus through touched surfaces where the virus can live for several days.

Thank you for doing your part to help flatten the curve and protect our community during this time. Please remember to prioritize your mental health while self isolating, and reach out to your One Medical provider with any health concerns.

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Natasha Bhuyan, One Medical Provider

Natasha, an Arizona native, is an evidence-based provider who focuses on empowering each of her patients to take the reins of their own health. She believes that open, compassionate communication between the doctor and patient provides a safe space in which to recognize and achieve healthy lifestyle goals. Natasha is dedicated to staying active in the community and volunteers her time with numerous organizations and local events, advocating for education in marginalized communities and providing access to health care for the homeless. She graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and completed her residency with the Banner - University Medical Center Phoenix Family Medicine Residency program.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.