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It Should Not Be Called “Social Distancing”. Here’s Why.

Just because social distancing is implemented doesn't mean we should not socialize in any other way anymore.
It Should Not Be Called “Social Distancing”. Here’s Why.

COVID-19 will surely be one for the books… but not in a good way, to say the least.

What is happening right now because of this virus has changed the way we are living in the present.

For one thing, staying at home has become the new norm. A lot of businesses closed down, uncertain of its future once this health scare is over. In fact, it is far from over – it’s only the beginning of the pandemic wreaking havoc to our lives.

As of now, there is no vaccine yet to cure the virus. In the meantime, we need to do what we always forget to do: wash our hands. Aside from that, we have to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough. Implement social distancing as much as possible.

Speaking of social distancing, we always hear about this all the time. That is why we stay indoors in the first place.

But before COVID-19 happened, we never heard about social distancing. First of all, humans are social creatures. Basically, we need each other to survive.

We are generally happier human beings when we have friends. We go on dinner dates or grab some drinks with friends in a downtown bar. A sports league would not be complete without sets of teams who have to work together to win the trophy.

However, we cannot do these things now. If we want to “flatten the curve”, we need to stay home. Social distancing should be observed.

Should it be called “social distancing”?

The term “social distancing” has been popular since the threat of COVID-19 began. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines social distancing as avoiding “congregate settings… mass gatherings, and maintaining distance”. This is also an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

It Should Not Be Called “Social Distancing”. Here’s Why.

Social distancing is different from isolating oneself as part of the quarantine protocol. The former limits the crowding of people especially in contained spaces. Otherwise, it can encourage the transmission of the virus due to close body contact.

The latter, on the other hand, is what we are doing right now at home. Instead of attending concerts, going to work in the office or any public area, we have to stay at home. This is one way we can help to contain the virus and avoid its further spread.

The ongoing lockdown/quarantine has made millions of people unable to interact with loved ones physically. However, this doesn’t mean we aren’t able to update each other. There’s social media, your smartphone, and video apps you can use to say hi’s and hellos from time to time.

That said, “social distancing” should not be the term used during this time. Better yet, “physical distancing” may be a more appropriate term at this moment. Even though COVID-19 has changed the way we socialize now, it is also at this time that we need to “socialize” more than ever.

Socializing in the time of COVID-19

Since this pandemic thing began, the term “social distancing” has become a common phrase. Everyone has to follow social distancing to protect themselves and to cut the spread of the virus.

However, social distancing should not deter people to “socialize” with other people. More so, there are already a lot of people who use other terms instead of “social distancing”. It can be confusing, to say the least considering that we now live in the social media age.

In fact, the WHO has changed it into “physical distancing” as a way for “people to still remain connected” at these crucial times. In Singapore, they call it “safe distancing”. Jamil Zaki, a psychologist from Stanford University, prefers using “distant socializing”.

Basically, we are encouraged to keep apart from one another, but still stay connected. This pandemic should not be an excuse not to interact with one another anymore. Aside from work, we also have the responsibility to look for one another in this crucial time.

We now live in a time where having access to social media and apps are the norm. Now is the perfect time to “socialize” – to care for one another and be responsible citizens. Now is also the time to make use of the resources we have to support each other.

We can also support our medical personnel and other front liners even in our homes. In fact, that is what we can do for them: to stay at home. We can also do crowdsourcing through social media to collect funds for those who need it.


Humans are social beings by nature. We need each other to survive regardless of background, sex, or social status. In the meantime, we need to stay at home until a vaccine becomes available to help flatten the curve.

At the end of the day, we need to work together despite these trying times. We might be away from each other physically, but we should not do “social distancing” now. Rather, this is the right time to reach out and work together and end this pandemic once and for all.


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