When a person who has COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the disease. To avoid that, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Some of us, however, don't get it and aren't following these guidelines.
To teach them how it's done, Bored Panda has compiled a list of photos that show animals "practicing" social distancing in the face of the pandemic. From pigeons and seagulls to cats and moose, if everyone behaved like these critters, we would flatten the curve way quicker!
Intrestingly, some animals, for example, chimpanzees and honeybees, do take measures to prevent the spread of disease. The two species can be really ruthless when it comes to ousting the sick.
Bacterial diseases that strike honeybee colonies, like American foulbrood, are particularly threatening to them, liquifying honeybee larvae from the inside. "That's where the name comes from, that brown gooey mess. It smells very, very foul," Alison McAfee, a postdoctoral fellow with North Carolina State University's Entomology and Plant Pathology department, told National Geographic.
Infected larvae emit telltale chemicals that older bees are able to smell, like oleic acid and β-ocimene, a bee pheromone, according to McAfee's research. Immediately after identifying them, the bees will physically toss these diseased members from the hive, she said.
In 1966, as she was studying chimpanzees in Tanzania, Jane Goodall observed a chimp named McGregor who had contracted polio, caused by a highly contagious virus.
His fellow chimps attacked him, casting McGregor out of the troop. Partially paralyzed, McGregor even approached a few chimps grooming in a tree. He reached out a hand in greeting, but the others quickly moved away.
"For a full two minutes old [McGregor] sat motionless, staring after them," Goodall noted in her 1971 book In the Shadow of Man.
Goodall mentioned other instances of ostracized, polio-ridden chimps during her research as well, though highlighted that in some cases, infected individuals were eventually welcomed back into the group.
Chimpanzees are visual creatures. They're like humans in this regard. According to some research, the initial stigma toward polio-infected individuals may be caused by fear and disgust of their disfigurement—which is a form of avoiding catching the disease that causes such deformations.
So as you can see, social distancing is not a new concept in the natural world!