With COVID-19 cases surging in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued new guidelines along with easy-to-follow questions and answers about the virus.
The following questions focus strongly on how to reenter society, safely engage people, safely use public transport, and what to do if you get sick with the coronavirus. The CDC also released a serious of questions that you can use to determine your potential risk for contracting the virus.
13. Does interacting with people increase my risk of contracting the virus?
Please remember that interactions with a variety of people increase your risk substantially. If you regularly interact with the following, then you are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Joining or associating with a large group of people who are not wearing face masks or practicing acceptable social distancing will substantially increase your risk of catching the coronavirus.
- Engaging with strangers or numerous people every day, such as at work or various functions.
Many individuals might have the virus but remain asymptomatic and display no symptoms but are still highly contagious. In some cases, the symptoms might not have manifested yet, but they are still able to transmit the infection to others.
12. Why maintain social distance indoors and outdoors?
For months, health officials have advised people to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and others to curb the potential for spreading or catching the virus. This is true whether you are indoors or outdoors. Without a doubt, the closer you are to another person the greater your risk contracting COVID-19.
Older individuals and those with a compromised immune system are at increased risk of death if they contract the coronavirus. It is imperative that you try to stay away from older adults or those with underlying medical conditions.
Congregating indoors is far riskier than outdoor spaces, where it is easier to stay apart from individuals. Plus, indoors there is far less ventilation so the air can become stagnant and more laden with viral particles.
11. Is it dangerous to spend a lot of time with people?
There are not any set lengths of time that increase your risk, but common sense indicates that the more time you spend with someone the greater the risk. If you are wondering how long you can interact with people, then consider these situations:
- Spending an extended amount of time with people increases your risk.
- You might unknowingly be an asymptomatic carrier, so if you spend time with people then you have unknowingly put them at risk.
10. Is there community spread in my area?
Stay up to date to learn if there is community spread in your area. You can start by looking at your state’s reports, which are usually maintained by the states’ health departments. You can also seek out community resources to get more COVID-19 information. Some areas release the information of confirmed cases in each zip code
9. How do I discover the local orders in my area?
You will want to check the updates posted on your local health department’s website so you can learn about your community and the virus risks. They also usually post local orders for individual communities.
If you are curious about school closures, then look at the various school websites or call to find out the status. Sometimes schools will also send out newsletters via mail or online with updates.
Business reopenings are often not widely publicized, but you can call the individual businesses or look at their social media sites to gather more information. As various states announce reopening the rules might change, such as some businesses might only be allowed to operate at reduced capacity.
8. Can my daily activities put me at an increased risk?
If your daily activities such as going to work, school, shopping, doctor appointments, or other places put you at an increased risk, then you need to make sure that you work to practice social distancing.
In addition, you can try the following:
- Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth.
- Choose to only participate in outdoor activities.
- When picking businesses to frequent, such as stores, choose ones that have a plexiglass barrier between you and the cashier for added safety.
- Use the visual barriers in banks and other establishments to help remind yourself to socially distance from other patrons.
7. Am I in danger of severe illness?
COVID-19 is a severe respiratory virus that takes a toll on all age groups. However, older adults are at an increased risk, as are those with underlying health issues. Despite the risk, some individuals will exhibit mild or no symptoms despite testing positive for COVID-19. Often there is no way to pinpoint exactly who will suffer severe illness and who will not.
6. Are there risks because I live with an elderly person or someone with a chronic health condition?
If you live with older family members or individuals with underlying health conditions, then you should always take extra precautions to minimize the risk to those individuals, including yourself, so you do not accidentally bring the virus home.
5. Do I take enough everyday preventive measures?
It is imperative that you diligently practice preventive actions such as washing your hands, monitoring your temperature, disinfecting surfaces, wearing face covers, not touching your eyes, nose, or face, and staying at home when you are sick.
4. Is it dangerous to touch items shared by other individuals?
You should always limit sharing items. If you have touched something, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and has undergone complete disinfection.
Try to only frequent establishments that thoroughly clean all surfaces regularly, such as stores which take the extra steps to wipe down the shopping carts between users or clean the store’s countertops.
3. Is it safe to use public transportation?
Using public transportation is risky. Ideally, you should practice all preventative measures such as wearing a mask and disinfecting your hands. If you can avoid travel, then you should abstain when necessary.
2. Do I have to miss work if I get sick with COVID-19?
Yes, it is imperative that you take all necessary steps to self-quarantine if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect that you might have contracted the virus. You can unknowingly spread the virus to others if you report to work. Please remember, if you start to feel critically ill then you should seek immediate medical help at a local hospital.
1. What items should I carry with me to prevent the spread of the virus?
You should carry the following:
- A face covering
- Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
- Tissues to handle or grab things and then promptly throw away the used tissue