Viral Mousetrap And Ping Pong Ball Video Explains How Social Distancing Works

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Mousetrap And Ping Pong Ball Video Makes Clear Why Social Distancing Works
Ohio Department of Health

The video shows the difference between social distancing and not

A sobering video from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State University has gone viral for its depiction of the need for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The short video is a perfect metaphor for what happens when just one person interacts with another in close proximity. In the case of a killer virus — the consequences are devastating and unstoppable. The visualization at the end of the video shows what distance between people can do to help slow the spread.

The video is full of rows and rows full of mousetraps. When a single ping pong ball drops and there is nowhere for anyone to go, you can see the immediate impact one explosion makes on those near it. And so on and so on. The second half shows that with a little distance, the ball has room to move more freely without disturbing any of the traps. It’s a powerful reminder as to why everyone needs to just stay home.

A real-life version of this video played out in Chicago when the virus first made it’s way to the state of Illinois. The CDC has been able to trace back the “super spread” to one man attending a funeral, a birthday party, and a church service. Three of the people he came into contact with later died.

Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, has been credited with flattening the curve in his state when he shut down a fitness expo in Columbus on March 4, days before Trump even acknowledged the virus was a serious threat. Since then, the state has had about 5100 cases, much lower than states similar to Ohio’s size and a fraction of the fatalities.

“Social distancing works,” the state’s health agency posted on Facebook, along with the video which has now been shared more than 400,000 times. Even with all the precautions and necessary social distancing efforts, some feel people will get too comfortable too early and cause a spread of the virus in the state.

“The fear I have is when we have these silent victories, people say COVID-19 was never there to begin with and there never was a threat,” Dr. Acton with the Ohio Department of Health said. “Please know, this battle is still ongoing.”

There is no doubt the continued stay-at-home orders most states have issued make life difficult — not only for many people’s livelihoods — but to our mental health as well. But the video has an impactful message about what could happen if we don’t.

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