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It's important to stay socially connected, even if you can't be physically close

Just because our connections with each other have changed, that doesn’t mean we should just put them aside all together.

NEW ORLEANS — Whether it’s out getting exercise, buying groceries, or feeding the ducks at the park, completely avoiding other humans is not easy, which is why health leaders stress the importance of putting distance between you and other people.

“If you’re meeting up with people, if you’re seeing someone crossing the street for example or walking on the sidewalk,” said Lina Moses, an assistant professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Moses also works with the World Health Organization, serving as a technical advisor for the COVID-19 response. When it comes to folks not keeping that physical distance, Moses says there are things to think about.

“You have to keep in mind what your environment is like,” Moses said.

While anyone can catch the virus, Moses says there is a reduced risk when under the sun, because the virus doesn’t stick around long in UV light. That doesn’t mean social distancing doesn’t apply. Signs in New Orleans City Park even remind folks to keep a distance. Moses says make sure to pay attention when in smaller spaces.

“I’m less concerned about what’s circulating in the air because this virus has been demonstrated to be transmitted through droplets,” Moses said.

That means being extra mindful of what your hands touch and try to avoid touching your face.

“Your hands right now are probably some of your biggest weapons but also the biggest risks,” Moses said.

Just because our connections with each other have changed, Moses says that doesn’t mean we should just put them aside all together.

“Making sure that you stay socially connected without becoming physically close is I think is a really important step in making sure that we can make this through together,” said Moses.

The World Health Organization has even started using the phrase "physical distancing" instead of "social distancing" to make sure folks understand social connections can still happen without being physically present.

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