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Social Distancing: What to do to slow down coronavirus outbreak


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – We’ve been hearing the phrase social distancing and will continue to do so in days and weeks to come.

The term means avoiding close contact with people to prevent catching COVID-19.

Doctors from UCSF explained what each of us can do to slow down the coronavirus outbreak.

They want people to understand social distancing is a strategy to fight coronavirus not an overreaction to the pandemic.

“I understand these are extraordinary times and we need to take extraordinary measures to protect the population,” George Rutherford said. 

Doctor George Rutherford is an epidemiology and biostatistics professor at UCSF.

He says it’s all about understanding how this virus is spread – human to human and touching surfaces that humans recently touched and people showing no signs of coronavirus at all can be contagious.

“We found from studies from China that a lot of this transmission the people who are transmitting have minimal symptoms or no symptoms at all.  Just because you feel well doesn’t mean, necessarily mean anything,” Rutherford said. 

It’s the new normal for the Bay Area and beyond.

Residents ordered to stay at home for three weeks and essential services like grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations are staying open.

Despite a shelter in place order, people in Alameda were out.

It’s allowed but recommended to stay six feet away from each other.

“Obviously if you’re with your spouse that you see all the time, your partner, you’re in the same bed every night it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference when you’re outside walking around,” Rutherford said. 

Dr. Jefferey Martin is also an epidemiology professor at UCSF.

He says social distancing right now is the most important factor to control the COVID-19 outbreak and the fewer young people who become infected lowers the rate to infect the older population – the most vulnerable to the disease.

“What’s in it for a younger person, 20 to 30 year old not too much to protect yourself from becoming infected because what it’s going to do to you but to the extent that you may spread the virus to your grandmother or the older man or woman down the street,” Martin said.

Dr. Martin expects we will see more cases in the next 7 to 14 days from transmission that occurred in the last 2 weeks prior to this intense social distancing.

The best thing to do is follow the guidelines of local and national authorities and limit the number of new contact.

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