“WHO” has started using the phrase “PHYSICAL DISTANCE” instead of “SOCIAL DISTANCING” as a way to prevent the novel corona virus, a move which is widely welcomed by experts. At a daily news briefing by WHO, officials said while maintaining  a physical distance was absolutely essential in the middle of this pandemic,it does not mean that socially we have to disconnect from our loved ones, from our family.  

MARTIN BAUER, a professor of psychology and research methodology said that “It occurred to me from the beginning that this was an unfortunate choice of language to talk about social distance when actually what was meant was physical distance. Physical distance is measured in metric meters or cms. It is the geographical distance from person A to person B while “social distance” is a measure of distance across social boundaries. It is good that WHO finally tried to correct an early error of mistaking physical distance for social distance.”

Although the meaning of the term “SOCIAL DISTANCING” and “PHYSICAL DISTANCE” is same but physical distancing sounds more better. To flatten the curve of this pandemic it is encouraged to keep a safe social distance of at least 6 feet. While the term social distance is widely used it may send wrong message to the society. It may lead people keeping distance from one another but also ignorance, pass each other without eye contact, no exchange of greetings or waving each other etc. Engaging yourself in social activity like eye contact, saying hello wearing mask from 6 feet or waving each other will give a workout to our mirror neurons and vagus nerve which in turns send a signal to your stress response system to stand down.

Social distance sound like we have to be socially separate from your family and friends but physical distance make the concept clear of keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from one another and also we can reach out one other through social medias platform, waving each other, eye contact, greetings or saying hello wearing mask by keeping physically 6 feet apart on the public places. Nurturing the relationships is essential for the mental health and idleness in this lockdown. It doesn’t mean we have to gather in large groups and other social or family gatherings. We can practice the physical distance by limiting the time in public like essential items and medicines once a week or use delivery services, maintaining a distance of 6ft wearing mask, using hand sanitizer, use of elbow while sneezing or coughing and washing hand frequently for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching face etc.

Encouraging the term social distance instead of physical distance in Nepalese society and lso south asian society will bring a 6ft physical distance but the term “SOCIAL” may bring a “ostaracising” i.e. to avoid someone intentionally as WHO is also encouraging to call it as a "physical distancing” instead of social which will  bring a gap between individuals in society like untouchability, according to the caste like higher to lower or according to religions etc.
So, lets encourage to use the “PHYSICAL DISTANCE” instead of “SOCIAL DISTANCE”.


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