“Flatten the Curve,” We Are Told.

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https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/03/16/social-distancing-coronavirus-isolation-quarantine-pandemic-virus-infection-symptoms/5019940002/

Social distancing is a strategy of fighting coronavirus' public

Hannah Nelson, Staff Writer

“Flatten the curve,” we are told. This is a phrase used by epidemiologists to describe slowing down the spread of a contagious disease so that fewer people are infected at the same time, and can all be treated. To accomplish this with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are expected to practice social distancing. The only problem with this is that it is only an expectation. 

Some instances of social distancing are enforceable. Many school districts across the country, including our own, have shut down their schools for the time being. Some cities, like LA and San Francisco, have closed most public places and mandated that restaurants only serve take-out. 

“Social distancing,” requires individual sacrifices for the good of the many.”

However, many places of business remain open, and people are expected to work. For some, taking time off work would mean using sick or vacation days, or not being paid at all. As a result, we can’t expect very many people to voluntarily stop going to work. Though the presidential administration is offering many guidelines on how to socially distance ourselves, they are only guidelines and are not being enforced at the moment.

The problem with guidelines and suggestions is that people don’t have to follow them. “Social distancing,” requires individual sacrifices for the good of the many. Individuals have to make conscious decisions not to go out in order to help the population as a whole by slowing the spread of the disease. Though this may sound good idealistically, it is not reasonable to expect people to do this on their own. Many people won’t willingly sacrifice their pay or their meals outside of the home unless they have to.

For these reasons – the easily spreadable nature of the COVID 19 virus and the unrealistic expectation of voluntary actions – public places, including busy workplaces, need to be shut down in order to have the effect we want. If we continue to allow people in many parts of the country to maintain their current levels of contact with each other, the virus will keep spreading at a high rate, and our quarantine period will last longer.