Let's begin by understanding how social distancing helps in containing the spread of novel Coronavirus and other contagious infections. The goal of this practice is to reduce the human-to-human spread of infections. By maintaining a safe distance from others - about 6 feet, approximately - we can stop respiratory droplets from an infected person to land on a healthy person. This helps in breaking the chain of transmission (infection from one person to another) and flattening the curve of the infected cases (reduce the rise in new cases).
In the case of COVID-19, this has proven successful only in part because it can take up to 2 weeks for an infected person to develop symptoms. This is why most countries graduated from voluntary social distancing to state-mandated self-isolation - like the lockdown in India.
While the practice of social distancing may have caught on during this pandemic, it's usefulness is not exclusive to novel coronavirus alone. If adopted as a lifestyle practice, it can reduce the incidence of other contagious infections such as swine flu, influenza, common cold and other seasonal viral illnesses.
As the pandemic makes a resurgence, we need to carry on and double up on some of the practices we have been following to hold us all in good stead. Here are some practices that can – and must – be practised vigorously now and in the long haul.
It will be a while before the world, and your life, picks up pace again. Until then, stay indoors, stay safe!