Until a total lockdown is declared, social distancing will continue to matter to everyone’s wellbeing – on a very grand scale.

What is social distancing?

In simple terms, it is the act of keeping a distance between you and other people at a social gathering.

To stay safe, the closest you can allow anyone get to you in this period is one meter [about three feet]. It’s OK to stay farther if you would feel safer that way. Some suggest a two-meter distance.

Actually, the best thing is to STAY AT HOME if you have nothing serious to do out there.

Why it’s important, especially for you as a Nigerian

Seeing that the country has yet not made up its mind on totally shutting down the country and asking everyone to sit at home, social distancing and other means of protection remain our only hope of staying safe and virus-free.

How exactly will social distancing keep Coronavirus away from you?

1. It will reduce the spread of the disease

According to Statista, without social distancing, a person with the virus can give it to about 3 people in 5 days and by the end of a month, 406 people would have contracted it.

If 50% social distancing is observed, only 15 people will likely get the virus from the one infected person.

And if people adhere to social distancing rule by 75%, the number of people who would contract the virus from one person is likely going to be three or less.

Obviously, a 100% distancing reduces the number even further. With other rules of hygiene being properly followed, our chances of curbing the spread of the pandemic is great.

2. It will reduce the pressure on the health workers

Every Nigerian knows, even without need for facts, that we cannot afford an overly-rapid rise in the numbers of Covid-19 patients.

As experiences in Italy and other heavily-affected countries show, the hospitals will be overburdened, the health workers won’t be able to keep up, testing will be difficult, people affected will not get enough care, death toll will invariably rise.

This is logic, not fear mongering.

Sadly, people are not doing it as much as they should

Social distancing itself has been explained, and talked about and advocated for in so many ways, but implementation has not really been as effective as one would expect.

So much has been its mentions and so little has been the impact of that announcement that at this point, the term is pretty much nothing but another fancy, impracticable buzzword to some people.

But the practicability or otherwise of social distancing is subject to us understanding the extent to which we are helping ourselves by observing the practice in social meeting points – many of which are still open and accessible in Nigeria at the time of writing this.

It is actually impracticable for some people

For the poor people who form the largest number of the Nigerian populace, social distancing can only be a myth, an improbability.

People live from hand to mouth, feeding off what they make daily from crowded places like markets, bus stops, public transport etc. These people are at the highest risk themselves, and of a higher risk to the society at large.

Putting the city or even nation on lockdown affects them because they are at the mercy of hunger and starvation. To continue to leave things running normally as they are now, seems equally disadvantageous to their wellbeing and everyone in the society.

A real case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.