What Is Social Distancing And Why Is It Important
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Dire Need For Distance
We were all informed by our newly elected prime minister to stay home as much as possible. Non-essential services were also shut down and only premises which provide essential services are to operate. These are the list of essential services:
- Banking and financial services: ATMs, online banking, cash deposit machines, cheque deposit machines, Bursa
- Electric and power services: Repairs, maintenance
- Fire and Rescue Department: Fire and rescue-related operations, operational room
- Ports and airports: Port and airport operations
- Postal and courier service: Post and courier services
- Prisons, detention centres, immigration depots, rehabilitation centres and lock-ups: Prison operations
- Fuel and lubricants: Petrol stations, distribution, supply, production, refinery
- Health services: Hospitals, clinics, public and private pharmacies, registered traditional medicine shops, veterinary services, dialysis centres
- Solid waste management and sewage services
- Information and broadcast services
- Telecommunication services
- Transport (land/air/sea/e-hailing)
- Water services
- Essential government and statutory bodies services
- Defence and security (police and Armed Forces)
- Defence and security-related industries
- Food supply and services: Raw material supply, take-away, drive-through
For the full list of services, you can read it here.
Furthermore, we were told in our PM’s second address to the nation that we should take this seriously and really stay home. We can spend time with our family, work from home, or as our PM suggests, watch HBO.
How Important Is Social Distancing?
Okay, so we all now know that staying at home is important. But, just how important is it? And does 1 person make a difference in this?
Let’s look at this helpful simulation conducted by the Washington Post. They divided simulated population into 4 groups:
- Free-for-all: Everyone is free to move however they like
- Attempted quarantine: Forced quarantine as imposed in Hubei China
- Moderate distancing: 1/4 of the population moves around while the other 3/4 practice social distancing
- Extensive distancing: Only 1/8 of population moves while the other 7/8 stays still
As expected, the results were very different.
Brown represents number of sick people; Purple represents recovered patients. Source: Washington Post
What This Means
As time passes, the number of patients who fell ill increased drastically in the population where there was the most movements. Studies after studies have demonstrated that the most effective way in slowing down the spread of COVID-19, besides good hygiene, is to distant yourself as much as possible from others.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a person with COVID-19 will go on to infect between 2-2.5 other people.
They key is not really to prevent everyone from catching the disease, but more importantly to ensure that as few people as possible catch it at the same time. Hospitals in Italy are already overwhelmed, and they have one of the best healthcare in the world. (https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/italy-has-world-class-health-system-coronavirus-has-pushed-it-n1162786)
We wouldn’t want that to happen to our beloved country.
It’s only the third day and we are already seeing videos of policemen chasing children out of parks. We can do much better than this.
So, the next time you feel the itch to hang out with your friends at the park, or panic buy at the nearest mart, think twice.
Or, if you need your pharmacy supplies or medication, just let us know!
Together, we can fight this fight.
After all, we Malaysians memang fighters ma.
Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.