Life

How does social distancing work? These viral graphics demonstrate the power of staying home

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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Two people social distancing

Wondering how social distancing works or looking for evidence to show someone planning to go to the park this weekend? These viral graphics demonstrate how staying home truly can curb the spread of coronavirus.

It’s strange to think that, just a couple of months ago, many of us were completely oblivious to the concept of “social distancing”. Sure, many of us could have hazarded a guess at what it meant, but the idea that it would become such an integral part of our everyday lives was something none of us could have imagine.

Flash forward eight or so weeks, and everything has changed. Social distancing is now one of the most powerful tools we have to stop the transmission of coronavirus – with many shops and public places using floor markings to ensure that everyone on the premises stays two metres apart during the current lockdown.

However, despite all of the social media conversation, government advice and news reports praising the effectiveness of social distancing, it seems not everyone is aware of how important this measure really is. So far this weekend, people have been making the most of the good weather by sunbathing outside – but this kind of behaviour doesn’t help to slow the spread of the virus.

As the country enters the third week of lockdown, it’s essential that we all play our part by only leaving the house for one of four key reasons as outlined by the government. Yes, going outside once a day for exercise is permitted – but sunbathing and picnicking with friends is not.

If you’ve got friends or family members who are still in denial about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, and are refusing to practise social distancing where possible, it can be frustrating to try and explain things – especially when their answers involve comments like “it’s just the flu” and “I’ll be fine if I get it”. 

The whole idea behind social distancing is that we all take responsibility for the health of others – and avoid non-essential contact to stop the number of cases rising. Just because you’re not concerned about getting the virus yourself because you’re young (which, by the way, doesn’t mean coronavirus isn’t dangerous to you), that doesn’t mean the people you come into contact with if you’re infected won’t experience a more serious illness.

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So if you’re struggling to get the message across to someone – or just want to hammer the message about social distancing home – why not show them one of these incredibly powerful social distancing graphics? At scary and unsure times like this it can be even harder to grapple with official advice and terminology, so graphics like these make a concept that may be alienating to some more accessible – and demonstrate just how important social distancing really is.

This clever animation shows how virulent the virus really is – and then demonstrates what happens when people remove themselves from the chain of infection by practising social distancing.

Watch it, and then watch it again.

If you’re more of a numbers person, this graphic explains how one person has the power to infect lots of others, and demonstrates why going about our normal lives when we believe we aren’t affected could put hundreds of lives at risk down the line.

The thing about coronavirus is that it doesn’t discriminate – it can infect anyone, anywhere, no matter who they are. As is shown in this illustration, the virus passes from person to person as long as we’re all together – but when one person decides to stay home and avoid people who potentially have the virus, they stop that line of infection from going any further.

That one person could have saved many lives.  

This side-by-side comparison will hammer the point home if none of the other graphics in this list has.

It’s easy to see the impact social distancing has on the overall spread of the virus – so it’s not hard to realise that’s what we all need to do.

This one’s a bit longer, but definitely worth the watch.

Of course, most of us are no longer taking public transport and going into work if it isn’t necessary for us to do our jobs, but this one is particularly great at showing how hospital capacity can be used overloaded when we don’t stop the virus from spreading exponentially.

How can we stop it spreading exponentially? You guessed it – social distancing.

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Lauren Geall

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