PORTLAND, Ore — Before the novel coronavirus outbreak, many of you had likely never heard the term "social distancing."
It's the directive public health authorities around the world are giving to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread and reduce potentially overwhelming impacts on our global healthcare systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) say the temporary control measure is used to combat pandemics and limit transmission. Social distancing reduces the opportunity for people to come into contact with a sick person, therefore reducing the total number of infected people, and can help buy time until there are enough supplies and adequate treatment. The recommended physical distance to stay from others is at least 6 feet.
As we temporarily work from home or hunker down inside, it's important to remember this recommendation from authorities is much more about physically distancing, per se, than distancing from others mentally, emotionally and socially. Social and emotional bonds with family and friends are perhaps more important than ever during this trying time.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that she is working with Multnomah County and the City of Portland over the weekend on a stay home order and public health policy called "Stay Home, Stay Healthy." The order wasn't officially issued and it is unclear at this point what activities and businesses are exempt under the stay home order. However it is clear that elected officials and public health authorities are asking people to stay home unless it's absolutely essential they leave.
The White House announced new guidelines last week, telling Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits, and not go out to restaurants and bars where groups of people gather.
With practically every business closed down and leaders urging us all to stay home and away from other people, Oregonians and Washingtonians are getting creative. KGW took to social media to find out how people are socially distancing, or physically distancing but still maintaining social connections and coming together.
Many are still spending time with friends or family, in person but 6 feet apart:
People are hanging out with friends virtually through video games or video chat:
Others prefer to enjoy Pacific Northwest nature alone:
Fur babies are soaking up all this extra time spent with their owners. Plus, it comes with extra walks and treats!