Social distancing refers to a host of public health measures aimed at reducing social interaction between people based on touch or physical proximity. It is a non-pharmaceutical intervention to slow the spread of infectious diseases in the communities. It becomes particularly important as a community mitigation strategy before vaccines or drugs become widely available. This essay describes how a protracted adherence to social distancing guidelines could affect the Indian society. Changes are expected in some of the prevalent cultural norms such as personal space and common good. Gender relations within the family are likely to change in favour of greater sharing of domestic responsibilities between men and women. Older adults may particularly experience stress due to social distancing because of their physical dependency and emotional vulnerability. Working patterns are likely to become more flexible and promotive of social distancing. Human interaction based on digital technology is likely to increase. The implications for public health in India due to such changes are also discussed.
Manasee Mishra and Piyusha Majumdar (2020). Social Distancing During COVID-19: Will it Change the Indian Society? Journal of Health Management. 22(2). pp: 224–235.