With COVID-19 forcing countries around the world to practice “social distancing,” scientists point to similar practices in the animal kingdom 

Currently, social distancing is common practice in the United States and around the world to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. According to The Straits Times, countries around the world are handling this idea of social distancing differently, but seem to have the same goal. The United States is urging people to remain at home and shutting down schools, sports events, and theme parks. Italy has shut down all stores, events, and schools, with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores. Italians are also unable to travel without police permission. South Korea has closed down most schools and stores but set up drive-by virus-testing stations. China has completely shut down Wuhan and other cities with a significant amount of cases. All of these actions have come from the idea of social distancing. ~

According to medical experts at American Red Cross, “social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.” This practice, although seen prominently among humans around the world due to COVID-19, can be seen quite often in the animal kingdom, National Geographic claims. Animals like honeybees, chimpanzees, tadpoles, and lobsters practice social distancing, or at least some form of it. Infected honeybee larvae release chemicals like oleic acid and β-ocimene that older bees can smell. The older bees identify that this larva has a disease and physically toss the infected member out of the hive. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, attack infected members and then shun them out of the community (ChimpanZoo). These communities of chimpanzees eventually let the infected member back in once they have gotten rid of the infection. Tadpoles and lobsters, similar to honeybees, rely on chemicals to tell if a member has an infection. ~

While we do not attack those with the virus or have chemicals we can smell to identify who we should avoid, we are staying clear of others to stop the spreading. Animals have been successful with social distancing and have even been bred to continue this trait (National Geographic). This just shines another light on the idea of social distancing when facing the Coronavirus.  ~

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