Difference Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation

The main difference between social distancing and self isolation is that social distancing involves adjusting your routine to make sure that you avoid close contact with other people, whereas self isolation involves staying at home.

People all over the world are now practising social distancing and self isolation to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. Self isolation is usually recommended for people who have symptoms of the disease or for those who have been exposed to the virus. Social distancing, on the other hand, is a preventative measure that minimizes social contact with others in order to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Social Distancing 
     – Definition, Actions
2. What is Self Isolation
     – Definition, Actions
3. What are the Similarities Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation
    – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

 Self Isolation, Social Distancing, COVID-19, Contagious DiseasesDifference Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation - Comparison Summary

What is Social Distancing

Social distancing is a nonpharmaceutical infection control method that helps to reduce the likelihood of transmitting contagious diseases. Adjusting your routine to make sure that you avoid close contact with other people. Social distancing includes the following behaviours:

  • Avoiding non-essential gatherings and crowded places
  • Keeping a distance of at least 2 meters from others, whenever possible

Difference Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation

  • Not using greetings like handshakes and hugs – using alternative greetings that do not involve touching others (waving, namaste, etc.)
  • Limiting contact with people at higher risk (elderly adults, babies, etc.)
  • Practising proper coughing or sneezing etiquette (using the bend of your elbow to cover the sneeze or using a tissue, which should be properly discarded)
  • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds after touching commonly used items, and avoid touching your face

Moreover, it’s important to note that social distancing is more effective for infectious diseases that are transmitted via droplet contact (sneezing or coughing) or direct physical contact. However, it is not very effective for diseases that transmit via contaminated water or food. When social distancing is practised in an area to prevent the spread of infection, all non-essential places will be closed, e.g., restaurants, clubs, movie theatres, gyms, etc.

Main Difference - Social Distancing vs Self Isolation

Although social distancing is a must in preventing the spread of communicable diseases, there are several drawbacks of this method. This can reduce the productivity of the whole country, and loss of interaction may make people feel lonely and depressed.

What is Self Isolation

Self isolation is basically staying at home to stop the spread of the virus. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, i.e., high temperature, cough, you should stay at home so that others won’t catch the disease from you. You should self-isolate for at least 7 days from the day symptoms started.

Authorities strongly recommend self isolation for those showing the symptoms of coronavirus or those might have been exposed to it or live with someone showing the symptoms. Travellers returning from other countries are also advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

Social Distancing vs Self Isolation

How to Self Isolate

  • Stay at home and do not go out (for work, school, etc.)
  • Do not let in visitors
  • If you live with other people, stay at least 2m away from other
  • Order essentials like groceries and medicine via telephone or internet

Similarities Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation

  • Social distancing and self isolation can prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
  • Both minimize contact with society.
  • However, those undergoing social distancing and self isolation may suffer from loneliness and other effects of loss of social contact.

Difference Between Social Distancing and Self Isolation

Definition

Social distancing is a preventive action that minimizes face-to-face interaction with people, whereas self isolation is staying at home to stop the spread of the disease to others.

Recommended for

Social distancing is good for everyone when a contagious virus is spreading; however, for people who have the symptoms of the disease or for those who have been exposed to the virus.

Process

In social distancing, you can go out for essentials, but you have to keep a distance of at least 2 meters from others and practice all proper personal hygienic etiquette. However, when you are in self-isolation, you should not go out; you can order essentials via phone or internet.

Interactions

When you are practising social distancing, you can interact with your family or roommates, but when you are practising self isolation, you have to stay at least 2m away from others in the house.

Time Period

You should practice social distancing until the spread of the virus stops; you have to practice self isolation for at least 7 days from the onset of the disease.

Conclusion

The main difference between social distancing and self isolation is that social distancing involves adjusting your routine to make sure that you minimize face-to-face contact with other people, whereas self isolation involves staying at home. Moreover, self isolation is usually recommended for people who have symptoms of the disease or for those who have been exposed to the virus. Social distancing, on the other hand, is a preventative measure that minimize contact with others in order to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

Reference:

1. “Coronavirus (COVID-19).” NHS, Available here.
2. “Social distancing.” Canada.ca, Public Health Agency of Canada, Government of Canada, 21 Mar. 2020, Available here.
3. “Social Distancing.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Mar. 2020, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “4940638” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Covid-19-curves-graphic2-stopthespread-v3” By en:Siouxsie Wiles, en:Toby Morris (cartoonist) – The Spinoff (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
3. “Woman in Grey Jacket Sits on Bed Uses Grey Laptop” By Andrea Piacquadio (CC0) via Pexels

 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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