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Coronavirus: Jameela Jamil perfectly summed up why social distancing during the pandemic is so vital

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Jameela Jamil

The actor has an important message for anyone unconvinced about the need to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

In this era of coronavirus, it’s never been more important to stay at home, if you’re able to.

All around the world, people are being encouraged to practice social distancing to help stem the increase in Covid-19 infections. In some countries, social distancing isn’t merely encouraged but mandated, with government-enforced lockdowns ensuring that isolation takes place.

Elsewhere, however, social distancing very much remains a choice. One that, despite all evidence pointing towards its impact – some studies on isolation have shown that the mortality rate from infections could be reduced by 29% – people are ignoring. In the US, spring breakers crowded the beaches of Florida this week, declaring that nothing could stop them from partying. (Today, Florida’s governor closed the beaches, telling the holidaymakers that the party was most definitely over.)

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Jameela Jamil has a message for anyone who remains unconvinced about social distancing. On Twitter, the actor shared the reason why reducing your contact with other people matters so much when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

“When it comes to people rejecting social distancing, ‘we all make our own choices…’ is a disastrous attitude,” Jamil explained, “because you aren’t just making your own choice, you’re making a choice for the other people you might unknowingly pass this virus onto. You’re prolonging this crisis.”

Jameel’s point is one that has been echoed by other celebrities online in the past week, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Hilary Duff. Social-distancing wherever and however you can isn’t only about keeping yourself safe. It’s about protecting others in the community.

Social distancing is about so much more than your own health. It’s about the health of the most vulnerable member of society. The ones in the at-risk age brackets, the immuno-compromised, the ones with underlying health conditions, the ones who are pregnant. 

Jameel said that she was talking specifically about “the people who go out defiantly for their leisure not for service of necessity”. She wasn’t speaking about anyone in particular, but her tweet came in the wake of news that Evangeline Lilly, star of Ant Man & The Wasp and Lost, doesn’t believe in self-isolation.

The actor shared an image of her morning on Instagram, captioning the picture with the news that she had just dropped her children at gymnastics camp and that things were “business as usual” in her household.

Lilly, who is living with her immuno-compromised father – he was recently diagnosed with stage four leukemia – and her two children, explained that her family would not be going into coronavirus lockdown. “Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices,” she said, responding to a comment on her Instagram.

Lilly’s post, which has received more than 7,000 comments – including one from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan calling her words “irresponsible” and asking Lilly to delete the post – has been criticised for its rejection of social-distancing.

No matter what people were saying, though, Lilly remained firm. “I think we all need to slow down, take a breath and look at the facts we are being presented with,” she wrote on in one comment. “They do not add up to the all-out global lockdown, control, pandemonium and insanity we are experiencing. I hope that people will find their peace and sanity where you are soon.”

Yes, we know that we are currently living through unprecedented times that are making many of us feel anxious and uncertain. But we also know that social-distancing works and that it can have a major impact on the spread of disease.

As Jamil pointed out: it’s not just about you. It’s about everyone else. It’s about making a choice that will protect the most vulnerable person in the community. Because by protecting yourself, you’re protecting them too. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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