Social Distancing

In light of the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for “community migration strategies” to limit the spread of the virus.

One of these recommendations is for “social distancing.”

Social distancing is a term that epidemiologists use to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people to hopefully prevent community transmission of the virus.

Social distancing measures include working from home, school closures, implementing distance or e-learning, canceling large gatherings, avoiding crowded settings, avoiding travel, and in general, self-quarantining/isolation. The CDC recommendations are to keep 6 to 10 feet away from other people.

Quarantining is not a new social concept. Historically, quarantine stations and “leper colonies” were established to prevent the spread of contagious diseases as early forms of social distancing.

The phrase has become the buzz word on social media, which is borne out by Google Trends. I predict that for 2020, “social distancing” will become the word/phrase of the year.

And no, Coronavirus is not related to Corona, the Mexican beer. Corona means “crown”, while the scientists who came up with the term Coronavirus in the 1960s thought that under a microscope, the virus resembled a solar corona. The name COVID-19 was derived from the letters CO-rona VI-rus D-isease and the year it was first detected (2019).

Many people are panicking about the virus, or conversely, others are completely unconcerned. For factual information about this pandemic, listen to this episode of Monster Talk in which Blake and I discuss the real science surrounding the Coronavirus with virology expert Vincent Racaniello.


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Karen Stollznow

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Stollznow is a linguist and researcher. She is the author of the best-selling book God Bless America. Her other titles include Hits & Mrs., Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, Would You Believe It? and Haunting America. Her forthcoming book is On the Offensive: Prejudice in Language Past and Present.

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