10 Facts the Public Should Know About COVID-19 and Social Distancing© By Donna Adams Pickett, MD, PhD

A sign on the side of a building that says social distance, wash hands and clean surface.

What is accomplished by Social Distancing? Let’s do a little microbiology here:


Viruses are Obligate Intracellular Parasites.  That means they are OBLIGATED, they ABSOLUTELY MUST, reside in a living cell to survive and increase their numbers.



Covid-19 has decided that the cells that they MUST live in are respiratory droplets.



Every time you speak, sing, cough, sneeze, sniff, yawn, laugh you release little tiny drops of saliva from your mouth or secretions  from your nose into the air.


Saliva and nose secretions are all living cells. When those secretions are freshly leaving your body they are happy vibrant cells FILLED WITH VIRUS (if you happen to be infected)



If someone else walks into, talks, sniffs, or touches those vibrant virus filled cells, they take in the virus and the virus now has a whole new batch of living cells in which they can live.



But here’s the thing:

Once cells leave your body, they do not live forever unless they are provided another living environment in which they can grow.



In other words, human cells on the counter, the floor, your clothes,  other inanimate objects will not last forever, they will eventually die. EVENTUALLY



Given enough time, if another living being does not touch, sniff,  or breathe in that cell teeming with virus, that cell will die .  If the cell dies, then the virus is a goner too because, remember, it MUST, it is OBLIGATED to have a living cell to survive.



If we are not close to each other, we cannot touch, sniff or breathe that cell. The little lonely virus filled cell never gets a new home.  It doesn’t get a new home because you stayed in your home. Social distancing allows all the cells to stop where they are.



Viruses NEED cells to survive.

Be stingy with your cells.  Keep your cells at your house, away from gatherings, away from other people in general.




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