The difference between shelter-in-place, physical distancing, quarantine and self-isolation

By on March 30th, 2020 in General

Let me get this off my chest. Too many ignorant people are using the terms self-isolation, social distancing, quarantine, and shelter-in-place interchangeably. These terms have specific meanings and are not interchangeable.

Here are the CDC and government-defined terms. Do not make up your own meanings and learn to use these word carefully. It leads to confusion and the spread of misinformation and has consequences.

  • Isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent the spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.

  • Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

  • Quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

  • To Shelter-in-Place means to remain in your home or workplace during an emergency, and protect yourself there.

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