Social Distancing, Sanitizers And The New Normal

Potlako Bogatsu

Freedom. That is what people want above all. Intertwined with safety and a guarantee of life in abundance. Once again people will be given an opportunity to go out there and chase their dreams. As the the lockdown sidles to an end.

With the lockdown set to be lifted on the 2nd of June, there are a number of regulations that have been put in place to ensure that the health of the nation remains a priority. From covering ones mouth when in public places, to sanitizing ones hands when entering any shop or place of business to keeping safe social distances so not to infect or affect the other person. These measures will surely affect the way we as a people have been living and interacting with each other.

A social scientist and physician at Yale University Nicholas Chirstakis commented on the that “The coronavirus spreading around the world is calling on us to suppress our profoundly human and evolutionarily hard-wired impulses for connection: seeing our friends, getting together in groups, or touching each other.”

For our own safety, hugging, high fiving and fist bumping will have to be put on hold for a while. A 2015 meta-analysis of the scientific literature by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a research psychologist at Brigham Young University, and colleagues determined that chronic social isolation increases the risk of mortality by 29%.

Lab studies by Holt-Lunstad have found that having a friend present can reduce a person’s cardiovascular response to a stressful task. There’s even a correlation between perceived social connectedness and stress responses. “Just knowing that you have someone you can count on if needed is enough to dampen some of those responses even if [that person is] not physically present,” Holt-Lunstad says.

The issue at hand supersedes all factors of increment of mortality as social distancing is meant to keep us safe from catching the virus and in the worst case scenario, death. Perhaps what the hardest thing will be will ensuring that little children keep their face masks in schools.

There are a number of challenges for them, from being properly heard, to breathing properly whilst playing. So far the task of ensuring that children will be comfortable with face masks is upon their parents and guardians. Only when schools reopen will we truly see whether or not children will comply with what is being asked of them.

However there are side effects to everything and it has been observed in other countries that Wearing a face mask may give a false sense of security and make people adopt a reduction in compliance with other infection control measures, including social distancing and hands washing. Importer use of the face mask may defeat the efforts of curbing the virus and if your face mask is one it is important that it is washed regularly.

It is pivotal that all of us are properly educated on how to stay safe. When the lockdown is lifted it may take a while before we roam the streets without face masks and without the constant need to apply hand sanitizers. Until then we need to stay safe, stay positive and know that with the proper actions we can defeat the coronavirus.