Dr. Richard Zane: Lives are on the line. Please, everyone, get more serious. Practice social distancing to slow spread of COVID-19.

March 25, 2020
Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer, and professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at the CU School of Medicine.


I need your help in suppressing the coronavirus and there are lives on the line. There is no longer any debate — all medical experts agree that the spread of coronavirus is now on pace to overwhelm the U.S. health care system by this summer. The most powerful tool we have left to change this alarming projection is social distancing. Yet far too many people are falling short of what’s needed.

The purpose of this post is to ensure you are fully embracing social distancing and enforcing the practice among all around you. You should self-quarantine if you have any COVID-19 symptoms; any cold or flu symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, or been exposed to the virus. Social distancing applies to everyone else and seems straightforward, at least in theory:

  • Avoid all public places; and
  • Keep six feet between you and anyone not in your household.
Women in Denver practice physical distancing. They are sitting about six feet apart in a park.
Nicolette Hebert, left, and Alison Jones, right, both lost their jobs in Denver restaurants last week. They spent time together, sitting six feet apart and practicing “physical distancing,” in a Denver Park on Wednesday. Both are doing all they can to halt the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Photo by Katie McCrimmon for UCHealth.

This means sacrifices, such as not going out for coffee or food you can make at home, standing six feet apart from others in line at the grocery store, and moving kids’ playdates to FaceTime or Skype. To be clear, no more than 4 people in a room and all at least 6 feet apart. 

I recognize that there may be rare exceptions due to health or safety concerns.  There is no question that consistently practicing physical distancing will require personal sacrifice and at times may be painful but lives depend on it and that life may be your loved one or mine.

The United States, Colorado, your friends and family need you to do this and you need everyone else to as well.

For all updates and to read more articles about the new coronavirus, please visit uchealth.org/covid19

Thinking of you,

Dr. Richard Zane

UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer
Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, CU School of Medicine