Robert, thank you for the response! You are right, social distancing is intended to “flatten the curve”, which really means keeping the number of cases from spiking too rapidly and overwhelming a health system. In the case where there were not social distancing practices, a system would be quickly overwhelmed and you could connect the dots to a lot more critically ill people not having the proper care. Developing actual herd immunity to COVID-19 is a separate issue and researchers aren’t really sure if people will effectively develop it. Really the purpose of social distancing and/or herd immunity is to slow the proliferation of a disease within a population. Thanks for your thoughtful question!

Medical student, molecular biologist and educator. I write about science and medicine.

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