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Social Distancing Lowers Chances Of Getting COVID-19 Not Just In Community But Individuals Too: Study

According to a research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the more participants demonstrated a preference for social distancing in the scenarios, the less likely they were to have become ill with COVID-19

Social Distancing Lowers Chances Of Getting COVID-19 Not Just In Community But Individuals Too: Study
Highlights
  • Social distancing is one of the COVID precautionary measures
  • Researchers used an online, longitudinal study of 2,120 US residents
  • Participants were given virtual depictions of real-world social situations

Washington (US): During this pandemic, research has established the value of social distancing as a means of deterring the spread of COVID-19 but a new study has found out that staying away from others benefits individuals who practice social distancing and not just for the larger community. To assess individuals’ social distancing behaviour, researchers presented study participants with virtual depictions of real-world social situations and examined how participants positioned themselves relative to others in various public settings like a crowded beach or a grocery store.

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After four months, participants were asked if they had tested positive for COVID-19 and based on the participants’ responses an index of social distancing was made. It showed that that the more participants demonstrated a preference for social distancing in the scenarios, the less likely they were to have become ill with COVID-19. Specifically, an increase of one standard deviation in the social distancing index was associated with approximately a 20 per cent decrease in the odds of contracting COVID-19. The research has been published on February 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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According to the authors, the study’s implication was clear – what was beneficial for society according to public health advice was also good for individuals who wanted to avoid the virus. This result held whether only participants who tested positive for COVID-19 were considered or whether untested participants who believed that they had contracted the virus were included. Researchers report the individual benefits of social distancing for COVID-19 prevention.

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Epidemiological evidence has shown that social distancing can reduce COVID-19 transmission in the aggregate. However, this does not necessarily mean that an individual’s social distancing behavior will reduce that individual’s personal likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Russell Fazio and colleagues used an online, longitudinal study of 2,120 US residents, average age 40 years, to determine whether individual differences in social distancing behavior predicted the likelihood that a person would contract COVID-19 during subsequent months.

Also Read: One Year Of Fight Against Coronavirus, Has India Passed Its Peak? What To Expect Now, Dr Randeep Guleria Explains

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.

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