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Social distancing: Why six feet is the optimal distance to keep between ourselves to prevent coronavirus spread

We're social creatures, but experts are warning us to keep our distance so we're out of range of sneezes and coughs.

BOISE, Idaho — We've certainly heard a lot about social distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

But why is six feet the optimal distance to keep between yourself and other people?

Idaho's top expert on infectious diseases, Idaho State Epidemiologist Dr. Chrstine Hahn explains.

"Six feet really comes out of studies that if I cough or sneeze and don't cover it, you're safe out of my zone," Dr. Hahn said. "Droplets will land before they get to you. If I'm staying six feet away from you and you suddenly sneeze and don't cover it, I'm far enough way that I shouldn't get contaminated."

Division of Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch adds that being vigilant is key in slowing the spread.

"I think the best way for people to protect themselves is to make sure they do the basics," Shaw-Tulloch said. "They (should) wash their hands. They cover their coughs and sneezes. They pay special attention to the social distancing messages that we're putting out there. If you're sick, stay home. Please stay home. That's the biggest way people spread the coronavirus disease is by walking around when they're not feeling well.

This Sunday on Viewpoint we're focusing on the basics of the coronavirus.

The experts explain what it is, what the symptoms are, who should get tested and what you can do to protect yourself and your family from catching it.

Viewpoint airs at 6:30 Sunday Morning on KTVB.

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