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Coronavirus: Surviving Social Distancing

A single customer sits at the bar in a near-empty pub in central London on after the UK government announced stringent social distancing advice including avoiding pubs and restaurants as a measure to kerb the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
A single customer sits at the bar in a near-empty pub in central London on after the UK government announced stringent social distancing advice including avoiding pubs and restaurants as a measure to kerb the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The practice of social distancing, or staying away from large gatherings and events, is crucial in fighting the spread of coronavirus. However, staying inside by yourself or with a partner might have some unintended consequences.

As people reduce their social contact, they may be subject to increased levels of loneliness. A “social recession” could potentially impact those at the highest risk for coronavirus infection: the elderly, those with preexisting conditions and people with disabilities.

It might be strange to think of loneliness as a health issue, but the more isolated a person is, the higher their risk of premature mortality from most causes of death. Before the pandemic hit, about a quarter of older American adults were considered to be socially isolated.

Millions of people in China and Italy are confined to their homes. Schools, offices, bars, restaurants and many stores remain closed across the United States. What can we do to minimize the effects of social isolation in times of quarantine?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.