Local experts explain ‘social distancing,’ importance during COVID-19 pandemic


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — We’ve heard the messages for a few days: practice social distancing and stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Many properties on the Las Vegas Strip are closed or will close soon. Those closures go hand-in-hand with social distancing, which means avoiding close contact with people. So, why is it so important? And how many are actually doing it? 8 News Now spoke to experts to find out.

“This is a brand-new thing that we’ve never asked people to do before,” said UNLV professor and infectious disease expert Brian Labus.

We have been talking about social distancing for about a week now. But places like Fremont Street are still packed with people. So, how do we make sure everyone takes this seriously?

“It’s brand new, so it’s going to take a little time to get that message across,” Labus said. “It’s important that you do these things to protect not just you, but the people around you.”

Labus said social distancing can really help combat COVID-19.

“The virus will fall out of the air in the first few feet after it leaves your mouth and the farther back you stand from somebody who is sick, the less likely you are to be infected,” Labus revealed.

Family therapist Donna Wilburn noted while social distancing is crucial, the risks of coronavirus need to be put in perspective while explaining it to kids.

“Generating fear is not what you want to do to your child,” Wilburn said. “They can’t process the big picture. They can’t really understand that this is for prevention, so when you’re talking to them, it’s really important to model that you’re clam and confident.”

All K-12 schools are temporarily closed in Nevada. Wilburn said if your kids ask to see their friends, see outside the box.

“They can get creative with a virtual play date,” Wilburn said.

Labus added, “These are some of the best measures we have to protect people in our community.”

Experts stress that social distancing is extremely important because even people who might not be showing symptoms, but are infected, could further spread the coronavirus.

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