A Doctor’s Perspective on the Future of Social Distancing and COVID-19

A Doctor's Perspective on the Future of Social Distancing and COVID-19

Daphne Embrey

     After spending months in a pandemic, we ask ourselves: “when is this going to end?” Throughout the last couple of months, COVID-19 has impacted our lives, and we are not sure on how long this will last. In hopes that the pandemic will end soon, we wonder: will we still have to stay six feet apart, wear masks in public, and still respect social distancing guidelines?

     To answer these questions, Doctor Frank Facchini–a Fenwick alumnus, father of two current Friars, and an Interventional Radiologist–has shared his take.

Claire Woods: Do you think wearing masks and staying six feet away from each other will become common courtesy?

Dr. Facchini: “Well, those are two different questions, Claire. So, number one, wearing your mask now during the time of COVID is necessary and proven to stop the spread of the virus. However, it pertains to the future, but I’m optimistic that we’re going to get a better understanding of the transmissibility and the approach to prevention, including the vaccine as well as the treatment. I think that as we observed in the greater parts of Asia, mask wearing has a custom. Actually, it has been a custom for about twenty years and people feel healed. There’s a social contract that they have in their tradition to wear a mask outside to prevent the transmission of even the common cold. So that’s probably something we’re going to see be durable beyond this time.      

      “As far as saying six feet apart, I don’t think that’s a natural part of American society. I think it’s an important precaution we take now. Again, I think we will learn more about distance and the transmissibility of the virus, but I don’t anticipate staying six feet apart the rest of our lives will be durable… Certain areas that we are in, we could use to be a little less dense and that has nothing to do with COVID, but rather safety of all.”

CW: If and when a vaccine is created, would people still be extremely cautious while in public?

DR: “I think this will be a lasting impact on our consciousness of transmissible diseases, but I think we’re going to get more comfortable with taking safety precautions. So, I don’t think we’ll see the extreme, sometimes emotionally, propagated approach we see now.

CW: Will the tradition of shaking hands become obsolete?

DR: “I’m not ready to say that. I think that cultures greet people worldwide by shaking hands. It originated by showing someone you’re unarmed…but we bow in polite society… I think we’ll probably redefine it and approach it. I don’t think we’ll be getting rid of shaking hands. I think we’ll be washing our hands more often than we did prior to this.”

CW: Since you have worked one-on one with COVID-19, what do you think we should do and keep doing?

DR: “I think we should be very conscious of being ill and taking care of ourselves. I think we should focus on nutrition, taking steps for solid nutrition, and I think we should get plenty of rest. I think we should make sure we get back to a life where we’re not overly busy and we dive back into the important things in life: family, friends. I think that’s my recommendation.”

     I believe that Doctor Facchini gave me great insight on our future with coronavirus and what we should do now to stay healthy and help others. We still truly do not know what the future holds, but we can help shape a better future by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and keeping our distance from others.