Socializing during the coronavirus pandemic is difficult, but not impossible.
Now more than ever, doctors across the country are talking about the importance of social distancing bubbles if you want to be able to see your friends and family during the pandemic.
But what exactly is a social distancing bubble?
A bubble is a group of people who agree to only see each other throughout the pandemic period.
The key is that every person in the bubble follows the same, strict rules when it comes to being around other people without a mask on. The most important rule is that people within the bubble are not to socialize in person with people outside of the bubble.
Dr. Sadiya Khan, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says that it's important to keep these social bubbles small, CNN reports.
"The fewer the better," she said. "Your bubble consists of everybody that your entire bubble is in contact with. So even if you're only including one other person in your bubble, but that person has 10 people in their bubble, you've now got 11 people in your bubble."
Health experts have warned that the next few months will prove to be the most challenging yet of the pandemic, so social bubbles are more important than ever.
In reference to the next few months, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that's going to be put on our health care system."
With hospitalizations increasing to the point of capacity in some cases, hospitals are running out of ICU beds. This puts people in emergency need of care in jeopardy.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine believes that people should be very selective about who they choose to allow into their social bubbles.
"Think about who you want to do your social distancing with... and get ready to hunker down," he said. In an ideal world, this would mean just members of your household or "just a couple of friends" outside of it.
Here are some rules you should follow in your social bubbles, according to CNN
• Don't socialize with anyone outside of the bubble, especially not inside or without a mask.
• Wear a mask around anyone not within your bubble.
• Always wear a mask in public.
• Have ground rules about risky activities like gym visits, flying, or dining out.