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Is social distancing working on individual basis  

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I can't seem to find this information anywhere. Are the hundreds of cases reported each day a result of 

1) people not trying to social distance, 

2) people not effectively social distancing (including having bad co-workers)

3) or are we missing critical aspects and don't have the right rules for social distancing? 

I understand that it's absolutely helping on a macro scale, but I'm wondering if it's the failure of people to follow the basics and making everyone else suffer in addition to them suffer longer. By keeping the spread up. 

Posted : 02/05/2020 7:56 am
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New Member

AJ - This is a GREAT question. There are likely multiple factors that are leading to additional cases still being identified in the community. First, you are right - not everyone is practicing strict social distancing (or physical distancing which is the more popular phrasing since you can still be social even when you are physically apart!)- some because they can't - they are essential workers, they are health care workers for humans and pets, operating grocery stores or restaurants, operate our water treatment facilities or other utilities, gas stations, etc. These folks can wear masks and use PPE as much as possible but they may still get exposed at the workplace. They also may not have the resources to social distance.

In addition, a substantial number of cases likely come from aggregate living settings like long term care facilities - here if one worker comes in infectious (remember they can transmit even before they know they are sick) they can transmit to a large number of the residents - and that can lead to a surge in cases too.  

Some are not practicing distancing because they don't want to, or don't think the virus is serious. My personal belief is that this is not the majority of people - most people want to protect themselves and their loved ones. However, there is misinformation out there that makes them think it is no more serious than influenza. 

I am quite worried about these large protests that aggregate many people together in a crowd with people unmasked shouting (which puts more virus into the air if they are infected). It is important that we keep a very close watch on how these protests may facilitate transmission. Being outdoors helps, but won't completely eliminate the possibility of transmission. 

As things start to open up - let's keep in mind that not only can we become infected ourselves but we can be the source of transmission to our loved ones. 

Thanks for your question! -----Kacey Ernst (ID Epi - College of Public Health)


Posted : 04/05/2020 9:07 pm
New Member

I don't mean any offence, but I was hoping to find out something from a reliable source. As you say l, you're just giving ideas like I could do myself. 

It seems that the public health system would want us to know, so to say, where the system is failing. It could be any or all of those populations. The state site does have something like 50 locations for Pima county for community spread (long term care, workplace, prison, worship center, etc), but that's not actionable information because there's no mapping of cases to it. So I don't know it it was two cases or two hundred. And it doesn't give what behaviors contributed so that I could tell if one congrugate setting was more at risk then the thousands that don't have confirmed spread. Congregate button

I would think the contact tracers would try to determine what actions correlate to infections. Or if there were any surprises. That would tell if we're dealing with a failure of social distancing, or poorly executed methods (misunderstandings), high risk due to essential work or conscious rejection of social distancing. 


Posted : 07/05/2020 8:19 am