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Social distancing in age of social media is difficult

Say what you will about social distancing or self-quarantining, but one thing is for certain, life in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is never dull especially when you’re plugged into social media.

In our ever-connected world of smartphones, tablets and streaming services, we are never completely not connected. In fact, we are constantly bombarded with the latest information about the new coronavirus from our social media friends and acquaintances.

Whether it is your crazy uncle forwarding you the latest viral voicemail via text messaging claiming martial law will take effect at 3 a.m. the next morning or an old school chum passing on the latest rumor about blow driers having the magic ability to kill the coronavirus, the fake news is abundant.

Don’t be so gullible as to believe everything someone posts on the internet and pay attention to the proper authorities when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from the disease. And, by all means, don’t pass it on if you don’t know if it is true.

The truth is, the more you stay away from crowds or groups of people and the more wash your hands and clean surfaces frequently, the better off you will be and the less the chance you will get the virus or pass it on to others.

Testing is notoriously slow in the United States and it is often taking six or seven days or more to get the results of test.

The time for fretting over the slow test results, however, is over. Most experts are now advising people to assume everyone you come into contact with has been exposed to the virus and you should respond accordingly.

Keep your distance. Do not shake hands, hug or have any physical social contact with other people, and if you are around family members interact with them as if you have been exposed to the virus and keep your distance so as not to pass it on to them.

Cover you mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough and wash your hands frequently.

Our community, state, nation, and the world have gone to great lengths to place limitations on our commerce to squelch human interactions in an effort to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19.

All of that is for naught if you don’t do your part to uphold the bargain.

Don’t go to bars and eat inside of restaurants. Don’t congregate in churches or at parties. Otherwise, you are likely to pick up the disease and take it home to people who may be more vulnerable to the disease than you are.

The incubation period of the disease is such that you may be infected with it several days before you ever exhibit any symptoms by which point testing would be moot anyway because you have already spread the disease to everyone you’ve come in contact with.

Stay home as much as possible. Find ways to entertain yourself while keeping your distance from people around you. Practice good hygiene and don’t believe everything you read on the internet or social media.

Better yet, avoid getting too consumed in news about the disease while paying enough attention to the news to be properly informed.

We are taking a financial hit from this but the economy can come back to life once this passes. Human beings who succumb to the disease, however, cannot.

Be well.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Demorcat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.

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