Social Distancing and Other Recommended Directives, Explained

As the world reacts to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, phrases and orders are showing up in the media and in press releases. What do they mean, and how might they apply to you, your family and your community?

These phrases are in place to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is critical to understand these terms and what you are being asked to do. And important to follow any Public Health instructions or orders that are giving during a time of a pandemic outbreak.

We’ve gathered some important terms to note.

Social Distancing

This term is applied when Public Health officials take certain actions to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events. Asking people to increase their distance from each other in order to slow the spread of this novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The goal is for people to avoid close contact and stay six feet apart.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the current Coronavirus situation as a pandemic, shortly after, the US white house advised all Americans to practice social distancing. On March 29, President Trump extended the Social Distancing guidelines to go until April 30.

What is ‘Shelter in Place’?

While some officials are instituting “shelter-in-place” orders, others are calling their directives “stay-at-home” orders. The directives differ by location but generally require residents to avoid all nonessential outings and stay inside as much as possible. Each state can designate what is classified under these orders. Civil penalties could result from not following executive orders.

These are the states that have already implemented stay-at-home orders. Each vary on when they were implemented, their duration and specifics. And each subject to change as more unfolds as our nation navigates the fight against the spreading novel coronavirus. CNN has a detailed list of what each state entails.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

What is “Flattening the Curve?”

The goal of these stay-at-home orders is to flatten the curve. Slowing the rate of COVID-19 infection so hospitals and our health care systems don’t get overwhelmed by a surge in patients. Health Officials and government leaders want to slow the spread of the virus, to give more time in between patients coming in, for sufficient resources to care for these patients.

Overwhelming our facilities is detrimental to the treatment of this virus. Without the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical works, like masks, gowns and gloves, our facilities aren’t able to treat the patients. The same goes for available beds, respirators and other equipment that would be limited if too many patients influx the facilities.

If we spread out the arrival of patients over the course of several weeks, the line of the graph would be a longer, flatter curve. That allows more resources for the same amount of patients. The same number of people overall might get sick, but more will survive. Social distancing won’t stop the virus, but it can slow it down to make it manageable.

As we cope with the changes thrown at us due to the Coronavirus outbreak, know that these protective measures can make a big difference by slowing the spread of COVID-19 and lessening the impact on your community. This is overwhelming for our country and even the world—doing our part in lowering the curve by social distancing and following state specific shelter in place orders is our best chance of lowering the lives lost caused by this virus. For questions on health coverage amidst the pandemic, speak to one of our licensed agents by calling 855-548-0727 or visit VelaPoint Marketplace for more information.