A new virus has rapidly redefined the concept of respecting personal space for tactile Italians, as well as for South Koreans, Filipinos, Americans, Spaniards and citizens of many other crowded parts of the worldBy FRANCES D’EMILIO Associated PressMarch 18, 2020, 7:27 AM3 min readROME — Social distancing could qualify as an oxymoron in Italy, where walking arm-in-arm with friends, kissing neighbors in greeting and patting the heads of babies are part of the demonstrative culture. But a new virus has rapidly redefined the concept of respecting personal space for tactile Italians, as well as for South Koreans, Filipinos, Americans, Spaniards and citizens of many other crowded parts of the world. Whether acting under government orders or following basic public health advice, people are putting distance between themselves to keep the coronavirus away. The new rules of engagement call for maintaining a gap of one to two meters (or three to six feet) to prevent possible exposure when an infected individual coughs or speaks. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most of those infected, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or people with existing health problems. The vast majority of those infected recover. The reset


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