The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales near others. Many people may not know they are infected because they may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. In either case they may be contagious and can spread the virus. This is why it is important to practice social distancing: keep at least 6 feet of physical space between yourself and others.
Some research suggests that 6 feet may not be enough space to assure safety in indoor environments. Whenever possible, try to maintain a distance of 12 feet from others when indoors.
Steps to help with social distancing include:
- Stay home, work or attend school remotely if possible
- Visit friends and loved ones virtually instead of in-person
- Avoid meetings and gatherings of groups of people where 6–12 feet of physical space between individuals cannot be maintained
In addition to social distancing, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public areas to help reduce transmission.
Shelter In Place
If the rate of infection increases, you may be required to shelter in place, staying confined to your home for a period to slow the spread of the virus. This measure helps prevent hospitals from becoming overhwlemed with COVID-19 patients (also called “flattening the curve”). Sheltering in Place means you can only leave your home for “essential activities” including:
- Visiting your healthcare provider and picking up medicine.
- Getting food, needed household items, and pet food.
- Exercising: Try to maintain a much greater distance from others while exercising outdoors. While contagion risk from outdoor activity is still unclear, some experts recommend that runners keep a distance of approximately 33 feet, and for cyclists, 65 feet.
- Leaving your home to care for vulnerable people, e.g. the elderly, minors, dependents, and people with disabilities.