This is what shelter-in-place actually means

In order to dramatically flatten the exponential Covid-19 growth curve provisional social disruptions need to take place all across the globe.

One such measure already appearing abroad, called shelter in place, has alerted the consideration of elected officials within the US. 

More than a commercial plea for social distancing, shelter-in-place is a mandate that requires citizens to remain within their homes unless nutritional or medical necessities dictate otherwise. 

“These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” San Francisco mayor London Breed said of her decision to employ the guideline. “There is no need to rush out for food or supplies, as these stores will remain open.” 

In the past, shelter-in-place orders were most often initiated in reaction to violent occurrences or environmental hazards. In either scenario, citizens were freed from their hold in less than a week’s time.

There are simply too many rotating factors to apply a timeline to isolation tactics, and rapidly rising cases are jawboning policymakers towards extreme means. 

Moreover, until specific antiviral treatment passes human trials the only viable actions we can take are preemptive ones. 

To encourage citizens to abide by the extended shelter in place orders, service and retail institutions have suspended operations alongside various other public establishments, including schools. 

“A broad shelter in place might be enforced after an emergency when you absolutely do not let people go out in public,”  says Brian Labus, PhD, MPH. “In [San Francisco’s] case, people can still go out for important critical things. It’s not like they have police roaming the streets or stopping people from leaving their homes. They’re just making it so that people do it as little as possible.”

International statistics and internal research have established a robust correlation between recovery rates and restricted mobility. The more time we spend away from populations, the shorter the tunnel separating our global pandemic and societal normalcy. 

“We control the desire to be in public spaces by closing down public spaces. Italy is closing all of its restaurants. China is closing everything, and we are closing things now, too,” said Drew Harris, a population health researcher and assistant professor at The Thomas Jefferson University College of Public Health. “Reducing the opportunities for gathering helps folks social distance.”

Policymakers are divided on how drastic social distancing should be implemented. Mayor Bill De Blasio has proposed shelter in  place order for New York City, though Governor Cuomo has yet to intimate conformance with this motion

“Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require state action and as the governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time,” Melissa de Rosa, secretary to the governor, said in a media statement. 

If you live in a region that has yet to propose or pass social distancing legislation, consider curbing your contact with your community. If we combine all of the individuals who are living with conditions that increase their likelihood of enduring fatal and or extreme reactions to the new Coronavirus, we are just as soon presented with a grim majority.