novel coronavirus continues to spread, so does misinformation regarding it.
When it comes down to it, everyone seems to have an opinion on how the virus is
everyone is an expert in infectious disease and immunology, even that one guy
on Facebook who likes to wax philosophical about why social distancing is dumb
and wasn’t going to stop him from partying this weekend.
all hearing the terms “immunocompromised populations” and “social distancing”
get thrown around and while we can hazard a guess, we all have different
understandings of exactly what this means.
populations refer to groups of people whose immune systems are more
susceptible to disease due to a pre-existing health condition. This includes
the elderly, people with multiple diagnoses and people with chronic
we can’t tell from physical appearance whether a person is immunocompromised
or not, social distancing is a great coverall method to make sure we’re not
putting vulnerable people at risk.
distancing is a proven principle in epidemiology — a branch of medicine that
studies the outbreak and control of diseases — and is absolutely critical to
fighting the spread of COVID-19.
distancing functions similarly to herd immunity in the sense that we can
protect people with compromised immune systems by reducing the possibility of
their contact with the disease.
what exactly does social distancing mean?’ you might ask.
of all, one thing we can get out of the way is what social distancing is not.
Social distancing is not avoiding public places but still going to see your
significant other. It also isn’t meeting up with friends but staying two
metres apart while you hang out.
The Government of Canada’s
official description of social distancing is “making changes in your everyday
routines in order to minimize close contact with others.”
While this means avoiding
crowded places, staying two metres apart and avoiding contact with
immunocompromised and higher-risk populations such as the elderly or chronically
ill, it also means that Saturday night beer pong with the boys are postponed
until further notice. Same goes for wine night with the girls.
If you need to talk to your
grandparents, there has never been a better time for them to learn how to work
However, with the advent of
video chat software and fast product delivery services we’ve never been more
prepared for social isolation. And that’s not even mentioning the extremely
brave but taxing work being done by healthcare professionals all over the
world. It is easier now than ever to keep in touch with loved ones and keep
ourselves occupied while we’re at home.
If nothing else convinces you
to stay home, maybe the $2,000 fine that has been imposed by the Saskatchewan
government for travellers violating self-isolation orders. Also, police in
Saskatchewan can now enforce public health and emergency orders — you can be
arrested for breaking social distancing rules.
And have you heard of an easier way of saving the world? Sitting at home doing nothing? Sounds like my kind of superpower.