Social distancing isn’t a punishment — it’s the best way to protect vulnerable people and yourself during COVID-19. It also ensures our healthcare system doesn’t completely collapse.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably been glued to social media over the last few weeks and seen all kinds of anti-social-distancing behavior everywhere. From Florida to California, and you’ll see thousands of people taking social distancing lightly, even flouting it.
“We change when the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same,” says Dr. Seth Gillihan, a psychologist, and author of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple. Dr. Gillihan recently wrote a post on some of the dangerous thinking arising from those who are not practicing social distancing for Psychology Today. “If I perceive that’s not much of a risk to me, but I know it’s going to be a hassle to stay separate from friends, then the rational thing, given those set of beliefs, is to not practice safe and responsible physical distancing.”
Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, whose work focuses on infectious diseases like COVID-19. Dr. Adalja says that social distancing is the only way to prevent the pandemic from getting far worse. “There is no vaccine or preventative measure, and this is a community spreading respiratory virus. Social distancing, though a blunt tool, is all there is at this time,” Dr. Adalaja says.