The World Health Organization and other health experts would prefer if we stopped calling the practice "social distancing."
Instead, they're opting for the term "physical distancing."
The reason? The term "social distancing" can imply a sense of disconnection from loved ones. And at a time when being physically isolated from others can take a toll on mental health, the organization wants to emphasize how critical it is for people to stay socially connected.
The WHO announced that it was moving away from the term "social distancing" in a briefing on March 20. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious diseases epidemiologist with the WHO, reiterated that stance in a news conference on Wednesday.
"We've been saying 'physical distancing' because it's important to remain physically separate but socially connected," Van Kerkove said, adding that people should be looking after their mental health and that of their loved ones during the pandemic.
"There's no lockdown on laughter,"