Social distancing – one metre or two metres?

 

Sir, – The current debate over the most appropriate level of social distance, one metre or two metres, does not recognise the fact that the level of risk from the corona virus is not uniform across all of society. A fit young person will be unlikely to have a bad outcome from the virus while a pensioner is much more likely to be at risk of death.

That being the case, surely the logical thing would be to recommend that older people and people with medical issues maintain the two-metre distance while younger healthy people could observe a one-metre social distance.

Obviously younger people would continue to maintain the two-metre gap from older people and vice versa.

Bearing in mind that the older group are not generally in the workforce, while the younger people are in the workforce, such a targeted approach would allow some return to a normal economy while not increasing the risk to the vulnerable older population.

In general, older people, including me, know how to look after ourselves and will avoid crowded places and will continue to stay at home as much as possible. But we would like to see a functioning economy which can afford a decent health service and public services, despite this awful virus. – Yours, etc,

TIM O’SULLIVAN,

Dublin 5.

A chara, – Social distancing of two metres or one metre both provide a large degree of protection, while neither comes with a guarantee. What is very significant, however, is the much greater impact the shorter distance would have on the viability of a multitude of businesses and services, with obvious knock-on benefits for the socioeconomic health of the nation.

Public-health officials would be remiss in their duty if they did not advocate for the stricter approach which maximises public safety.

However, it seems clear that on this matter – and perhaps on a few more – the time has come for the Taoiseach to apply a little more common sense to the medical science, before the prescription does irreparable damage to the patient. – Is mise,

DAVID CARROLL, MPSI

Dublin 2.

Sir, – If face-masks become mandatory in public places, as they have in other European countries, then one metre should be fine, but while face-masks remain optional, two metres are essential. – Yours, etc,

KATHARINA GREINER,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.