Practise SOCIAL DISTANCING : Don’t Let History Repeat Itself

30 May

The desire to be physically near others is human nature. Our ancestor were social creatures since the Stone Age.Studies have shown that over a long evolutionary process, humans have developed highly sophisticated societies in which we co-operate to survive and better our lives.

In some countries, people are willfully ignoring government advice to stay at home, and to keep well away from others, as the corona-virus spreads rapidly, killing thousands and already changing daily life as we know it.It seems that we humans just can't stay away from one another.Even in Italy, the country with the most corona-virus deaths in the world, 125,000 people have been fined for breaking rules on restriction of movement.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health Officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.

What are social distancing measures?

Social distancing measures include maintaining certain distance while in public places, limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and cancelling events.

Why would social distancing measures be used?

  1. To prevent Direct and Indirect contact: 

    1. Direct contact  - By coughing and sneezing which can shoot out up-to 3 to 7 feet from the person and when the droplet infects the eyes, nose the virus can be transmitted.
    2. Indirect - The droplets can stick on to solid objects like tables, clothes, hands etc &  when a person touches it and rubs his eyes or nose the virus can be transmitted

2) To prevent Aerosol Transmission :  When a large crowd gathers, the droplets from an infected person is spread as aerosol ( size less than 5 microns ). 

Since a pandemic cannot be stopped once it has started, and because health experts do not know how much warning there will be once pandemic influenza is found in our area, social distancing measures will be used early on to slow the spread of the disease and provide our community with the valuable time needed to be better prepared.


In the early part of 20th century, around 50 million people died of Spanish Flu.

Social distancing was one of the measures imposed on public. Millions died in spite of all precautions .India was not an exception during this pandemic . In 1918, Over 10 million people died in  a span of 3 months.

It was called “Bombay Fever”

The then British government tried to intervene, advocate social isolation and sensitise the population. However, when the enemy is invisible, rapidly advancing, and hard to explain, no amount of public or scientific advice, however reassuring it may be, is not enough to dispel rum-ours and fear-mongering.

History shows an unchanging pattern in people's reactions - they tend to point the finger of blame at an unknown entity, be it foreigners, another religion or the health system. Hence this is not the first time we are faced with this crisis. Let us learn from history and not repeat the same mistakes our previous generations have made.

It’s our duty as responsible citizens of this country to follow these social distancing measures, which can feel as an imposition but the good that comes out of this significantly outweighs our freedom to socialize.

Maintain safe distance and be safe!

Dr A Jagadish MD (Psy)        

Dr BM Mukesh MD (Psy)

Abhaya Hospital, Bangalore

Mobile +91 9945599827 Mail:

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