Social distancing remains vital to battle against virus
June 27 2020 12:28 AM

There has been much uncertainty surrounding how the coronavirus spreads. Myriad questions have come and gone unanswered or with unclear answers: Can you get the virus from food? How about the mail? What about surfaces? If you are outdoors? If you are 6ft apart? 
Experts are coming to a consensus that they are less concerned about Covid-19 being transmitted through food, surfaces and the outdoors and are more concerned about extended – as short as 15 minutes – and close interactions between people.
As people continue to take increased risks by loosening or neglecting recommended precautions during the pandemic, US states like Texas are seeing new daily records for the number of Covid-19 cases that aren’t entirely explained by ramped-up testing. People are also seeing increases in hospitalisations. 
All Americans should remind themselves that just because more businesses are reopening does not mean that social distancing is no longer important social practice. Dallas County businesses now have to require customers to wear masks; this is a great step, but a statewide rule by Texas Governor Greg Abbott would be more helpful.
To be clear, people continue to believe that Americans should feel empowered to have their voices heard, and that includes protesting. 
The point is that wearing masks and making smart decisions to lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus also remain important. 
In terms of protesting, that also means that large crowds should be mindful of going to enclosed spaces for prolonged periods of time.
Protests aside, America continues to reopen quickly and in doing so seems poised to embrace practices that will spread this virus. 
From political rallies to restaurants opening up more indoor service, to friends and families expanding their quarantine bubbles to outsiders, people are creeping in less than 6ft apart and increasing the chances of infection.
The Republican National Convention moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, because the president wanted assurances that the multiday gathering that draws a crowd of around 50,000 from across the country can forge ahead. Vice-President Mike Pence recently declared that we are “winning the fight against the invisible enemy” and downplayed a “second wave.” 
The White House is now singing a different tune about a possible second wave, but regardless of all the cross-talk, it should be clear that people must continue to take the virus seriously and prepare for a second wave this fall.
Many are guilty of relaxing and wishfully thinking that the coronavirus pandemic is nearing the end. Summer can bring thoughts of family vacations and trips with friends. People are planning these getaways – some responsibly and others less so – because people are tired of quarantining. However, this virus is still dangerous, and the risks of unfettered spread remain. People have paid a heavy price for containing this virus; it would be a tragedy to let it run wild now. The country’s economy will improve. There will be a time again when social distancing is something that lives only in the past. But at this moment, caution and smart thinking remain vitally important. – Tribune News Service

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