We are now several months into global shelter-in-place and lockdown orders, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to confuse, terrify, and put our health and safety at risk. The virus, which has rapidly taken over the world in a matter of months, is still difficult to understand and predict.

While healthcare providers, experts, and public health professionals and organizations such as the WHO and CDC put certain measures in place, asking people to abide by these rules that guarantee their own safety and well-being, it’s getting increasingly more challenging to abide by them.

Hawaii locals are battling various mental and physical health challenges are they are unable to socialize, work, or engage in earlier lifestyle habits and choices. But there might be some home.

Understanding the effects of social distancing

Social distancing is the act of restricting your social interactions and engagements in order to mitigate and minimize possible exposure. It’s crucial that you avoid unnecessary interactions, as well as crowded social and public spaces, or places where you’re at risk of catching or transmitting the virus.

Social distancing was effective in containing the virus and flattening the curve, and a large part of that was the limit to social interactions that people shared. The fewer people you’re exposed to, the lower your chances of contracting the virus are, and vice versa. It was especially important when considering who might be asymptomatic and still carrying the virus, thus putting others at risk.

Sheltering in place, lockdowns, self-quarantining, and isolating was a major aspect of social distancing, as people began to work remotely too. However, at one point, prolonged periods of isolation can be overwhelming, and the fear can be paralyzing.

How social bubbles work and can be formed

A great alternative to strict social distancing—especially now that it’s been a while and will continue to last—is the concept of a social bubble.

Caution and quarantine fatigue are something most of us are familiar with, if not aware of. The idea of a social bubble is a middle ground between social distancing and social interaction; you find your home-team and stick to them.

It may seem like an inspirational poster, but it’s more than that. This could be a breakthrough in adjusting to the new normal. The bubble is meant to help you limit your interactions with the wider society, while still giving you various opportunities to socialize safely.

To create this bubble, you will need to agree and play your part responsibly, along with the friends and family joining you. They can be challenging because constant, open, and honest communication is crucial. So, if one of the members has risked exposure, or interacted with people outside the bubble, they should inform the others and avoid interactions for a while.

Keep the group to less than ten people, choose outdoor activities—which Hawaii is ideal for—and self-isolate from those outside this bubble. If you notice any symptoms, inform the others and your urgent care provider.

How we’re trying to play our part in this

As an urgent care clinic, we’re doing our best to help make this difficult time easier for our patients. We have introduced urgent telemedicine services to our clients, and encourage them to remain at home if they experience fever and other symptoms of the virus, helping them monitor their health remotely.

By offering remote services, our patients are also at a lower risk of exposure, allowing them to participate in their social bubbles without compromising on their safety or that of their friends and family.

Our company’s CEO, Donna Schmidt shared her expert opinion on the idea of social bubbles, saying, “We are creatures of habit and social ones at that. We cannot remain in isolation forever, and unfortunately, we have not found a cure or vaccine for this virus. Social interaction is inevitable with businesses, schools, and other places reopening—the most we can do is be extremely cautious.”

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a risk-free life—all we can do is find safe alternatives during this time.