Coronavirus: Celebrities urge people to practise social distancing amid covid-19 outbreak

Social distancing aims to reduce opportunities for disease transmission 

Chelsea Ritschel
Sunday 15 March 2020 20:52 GMT
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As the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase around the globe, celebrities are using their platforms to encourage people to practise social distancing in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

Social distancing is a public health method that aims to prevent the spread of illnesses by minimising close human contact. It includes measures such as avoiding public transportation, cancelling large public gatherings such as weddings or funerals, not attending sporting events or concerts, and staying home rather than going out to eat.

While the majority of the United States has not been placed under a mandatory lockdown yet, celebrities including Lady Gaga and Emily Ratajkowski are urging people to consider the safety of others - who may be at a higher risk of contracting the virus - by limiting time spent in public.

“So I talked to some doctors and scientists. It’s not the easiest for everyone right now but the kindest/healthiest thing we can do is self-quarantine and not hang out with people over 65 and in large groups,” Lady Gaga wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “I wish I could see my parents and grandmas right now but it’s much safer to not so I don’t get them sick in case I have it.”

The pop star concluded her message assuring her more than 39.8m followers that we’ll “all get through this”.

Emily Ratajkowski also used the social media platform to encourage her fans to “stay home” over the next few weeks.

“Hi folks. Please stay home for the next couple weeks if you are able to and practice social distancing,” the model captioned a photo of herself.

Ariana Grande was among those using their platform to make a point about the need for social distancing amid the "incredibly dangerous" coronavirus outbreak.

"I keep hearing from a surprising amount of people statements like: 'This isn't a big deal,' 'We'll be fine'... 'We still have to go about our lives' and it's really blowing my mind," Grande wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. "I understand if that is how you felt weeks ago. But please read about what's going on. Please don't turn a blind eye.

"It is incredibly dangerous and selfish to take this situation that lightly. The 'We will be fine because we're young' mindset is putting people who aren't young and/or healthy in a lot of danger.

"You sound stupid and privileged and you need to care more about others. Like now."

On Twitter, John Legend addressed the tactic as well, and the realisation that the entertainment industry is “full of individually non-essential events”.

“Now that folks are cancelling non-essential travel and events, you start to realise how much we schedule that's non-essential,” the All Of Me singer tweeted. “Of course, what we do is critical to human joy, inspiration, etc, but our entire entertainment industry is full of individually non-essential events.”

Kelly Ripa shared a video of Italian citizens singing amid the coronavirus pandemic as a successful display of social distancing. "Social distancing Italian style," the talk-show host wrote on Instagram. "Stay safe. Wash your hands. Dance alone."

Others, including celebrity chef David Chang, have discussed social distancing as a means of “flattening the curve,” a term health experts use to refer to practises that limit the spread of disease rather than resulting in a sharp increase.

Including a link to a Washington Post article with graphics that depict the outcomes of social distancing on flattening the curve, Chang, who temporarily closed his New York City restaurants this week, tweeted: “Everyone in the restaurant world needs to study these simulations.

“It seems wildly counterintuitive and an impossible decision (for so many reasons) but I think the best thing we can do for our employees is not be open,” the chef continued, adding the hashtags #flattenthecurve and #socialdistancing.

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