Benefits of Social Distancing and Other Minimum Health Standards

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Written by: Aiya Rodjel

It’s been over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our “new normal” has been characterized by the rise of online transactions, hence, demand for cost-effective fiber internet. But most importantly, everyone follows protocols such as wearing face masks, social distancing and washing one’s hands. However, while people are used to doing these things on a regular basis, some might ask: why do we have to do these things anyway? 

According to Philippine Daily Inquirer, the strict face mask and shield rule can be uncomfortable. It can cause people to sweat a lot, especially those who have to go out and about for work. To add to this, it can be a nuisance to fill up contact tracing forms. People miss going to the movies, and traveling. Hence, a lot of people have been feeling isolated and lonely, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

While following protocols may be inconvenient, there are a lot of benefits to following them. They’re put in place for valid reasons after all. They help protect you and others in different ways. Given that it’s been more than a year since the start of community quarantine, some people might have forgotten their value already. As a refresher, here are some of the benefits of following COVID-19 protocols: 

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1. Physical distancing breaks the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

Per the World Health Organization (WHO), studies suggest that the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly between people in close contact with each other. By maintaining a distance of at least one meter apart, you lessen the chances of getting and spreading the virus. That’s why a lot of establishments have designated markers for people. They help remind people how far apart they should be from others, especially in public areas such as malls or transportation terminals. Even if there are no markers in place, you should be mindful of your distance to others. Taking a few steps away or voicing out how important your personal space is can make a huge difference. Essentially, you provide a barrier between you and the possibility of contracting the virus. 

You might be thinking, “but I’m not sick so I should be fine.” While you might be confident about your health status, you can’t say the same for other people you encounter. It doesn’t matter whether the other person is visibly sick or not. Even if a person doesn’t display symptoms, he or she might be asymptomatic. That means you can’t be too sure as to whether a person is a carrier of the virus or not. On the other hand, you, too, might be a carrier of the virus, and are asymptomatic. You can’t be 100% sure unless you get tested, which is quite costly. Hence, it pays to play it safe by limiting physical interaction with other people. It’s a few small steps that could help lessen the transmission of the virus. It’s for your own safety, and that of others as well. 

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2. Crowded places increase chances of spreading the virus.

The WHO said that there are a lot of COVID-19 outbreaks in places with large social gatherings. Consequently, the government has mandated the temporary closure of certain establishments. That’s why movie theaters, concert grounds, most fitness establishments and other possible hot spots have been prohibited from operating. Some businesses are allowed to operate, but only at a limited capacity. As a result, a lot of establishments have signs about how many people they can accommodate at a time. It can be a nuisance to have to wait outside to buy your essentials, but it’s really for your own good. It’s especially important to be patient as a lot of businesses are trying their best to cope with the government-mandated protocols. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) changes protocol every two weeks though. That’s why there’s value in always being in the loop with the latest government-mandate protocols. 

Why is all of this necessary? There’s a huge risk of getting infected when you spend a lot of time in crowded places. You have to remember that the COVID-19 virus is invisible to the eye. Plus, you can’t be too sure as to the travel history of the people you encounter. You don’t know if they’ve been sick or exposed to other sick people as well. That’s why it’s important to take extra precaution to avoid getting infected. Basically, when you avoid crowded places, you decrease your chances of contracting the virus. Thus, you help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

3. If you’re meeting with others, doing it outside is better.

There are instances wherein you do have to meet with others. There are certain occupations that require people’s physical presence and there are dealings that have to be made in person. Not everyone has the privilege to work or study from home, and that’s a fact. If you have the option to do so, it’s better to congregate with others outside. This might be taxing, especially in a tropical country such as the Philippines, but the hassle is totally worth it. According to, the increased ventilation and ability to social distance of meeting outdoors makes it less likely that coronavirus will spread.

Following this principle, the seating capacity for al fresco or outdoor dining outnumber nowadays the allowed number for indoor dining. While one might miss being cooled down by restaurant air conditioning, there’s nothing like fresh air. While the heat can be bothersome, it’s still much safer to meet with others outdoors. To address restaurants’ needs to accommodate more customers, a lot of malls and commercial establishments have elevated their al fresco dining options. They’re spaced out strategically so you can physically distance yourself from other groups, too. Businesses have adjusted to give customers the best service possible given the circumstances. If you want to save a bit of money, you can even offer to have a picnic in a park instead. By simply following the rules, you get to do your part, and help lower the transmission of the virus.

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4. Contact tracing helps inform people if they’ve been exposed to a carrier of the virus.

As per the WHO, contact tracing is the process of identifying all people that a COVID-19 patient has come in contact with in the last two weeks. That’s why establishments have required those who enter them to fill out a form or log book. More technologically advanced places have QR codes that automate the process for you. 

It can be time consuming to have to stop and fill up a form or scan a QR code every time you enter somewhere. You just have to bear in mind that you’re doing it for the greater good. Strict contact tracing has helped a lot of other countries and cities control the spread of the virus. This was before the development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, take note. Essentially, you get to be informed if you’ve been exposed to people who are COVID-19 virus carriers through contact tracing. While there is a slim chance of you getting the virus, it’s still better to be safe than sorry. 

Once you’ve been notified you’ve been exposed, you have to self-isolate, and inform those you’ve encountered. It can be burdensome and lonely for a lot of people, but the little sacrifice will help you find out if you need to get tested. It’ll help you find out if you and other people are at risk of getting the virus as well. It may be inconvenient but it’s for everyone’s safety. While there is a stigma of being exposed to a carrier, you need to think of the bigger picture. You put yourself at a bigger risk by not being honest, and defying the contact tracing protocol.

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5. Face masks protect you and those around you.

While it can be uncomfortable to wear them, especially outside, wearing face masks is a must. According to CDC, masks are a simple yet effective barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Evidence also suggests that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Even if you don’t display COVID-19 symptoms, there might be a chance that you are asymptomatic. Thus, you help protect others around you simply by wearing one. Even if you’re healthy, you never know if the person you interact with is immunocompromised or not. You might have a good chance of surviving getting infected, but you can’t guarantee the same for others. 

It should be noted that it’s important not just to wear masks, but to wear them properly. According to the WHO, it’s important your mask covers both your nose, mouth and chin. It shouldn’t have valves as well. That means avoiding stylish yet unsafe masks that have huge holes in them. Before and after you put it on, it’s a must that you make sure your hands are clean. You should dispose of it immediately if it’s a medical mask or wash it if it’s a cloth mask. Here’s a video guide on how to properly wear your face mask. It’s simple enough to follow the instructions, and you protect yourself and others by wearing your face mask right. There are experts that recommend double masking or layering your masks. If you wish to do so, you need to layer your masks the right way as well.

6. Handwashing protects you and others from getting sick.

The CDC says that handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Germs can spread from people or surfaces in different ways. By washing your hands, you lower the risk of spreading germs to others. You also help prevent yourself from getting sick. 

Washing your hands is easy, and you probably know how to do it already. As a refresher, you should follow five simple steps. First, you wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Next, you lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Make sure to clean the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. One way to make sure you do it for the recommended time is by singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice. Then, rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Last but not the least, you should dry your hands with a clean towel or with simply air dry them. 

If you don’t have access to a sink and soap, you can use hand sanitizer. Just make sure the hand sanitizer you’re using contains at least 60% alcohol. While it does reduce the number of germs on your hands, hand sanitizers aren’t as thorough as soap and water. Sanitizers don’t get rid of all types of germs after all. They won’t be so effective if your hands are greasy or visibly dirty as well. Plus, they don’t remove harmful chemicals from your hands. It’s important to take these into consideration. Washing your hands may be more laborious and time consuming, but the protection the effect brings will have been worth it.  

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These are only some of the protocols in place that help contain the COVID-19 virus. As previously mentioned, the government-mandated protocols change every few weeks. That’s why it’s equally important to keep yourself informed. On the flip side, it’s easy to keep yourself in the loop with the latest protocols simply by subscribing to fast and reliable internet.

One great provider for speedy yet cost-effective unlimited fiber internet is Streamtech. Through the affordable home fiber plan of Streamtech, you can keep yourself updated with the latest COVID-19 protocols. Plus, you can make your own research about how to keep yourself and others safe as well. Now more than ever, information is power, and that’s why you need to invest in a good internet service provider in the Philippines like Streamtech.

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