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Covid-19: Slow the Coronavirus Spread


Why it is important to slow the spread of the 2019 coronavirus:

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is highly contagious (easily spread). COVID-19 can cause severe or life-threatening health problems in some people. Signs and symptoms of infection can take up to 14 days to begin, or may not develop at all. This means you or someone around you may have the virus and pass it to others without knowing it. A COVID-19 vaccine is a shot given to help prevent infection caused by the novel coronavirus. Your healthcare provider can give you more information about when a vaccine may be available to you.

Prevent COVID-19 Infection

Call your doctor if:

  • You have questions about social distancing or ways to keep your home and family safe.
  • You have questions or concerns about the new coronavirus or COVID-19.

How the 2019 coronavirus spreads:

The virus spreads quickly and easily. The virus can be passed starting 2 days before symptoms begin or before a positive test if symptoms never begin. The following are ways the virus is thought to spread, but more information may be coming:

  • Droplets are the main way all coronaviruses spread. The virus travels in droplets that form when a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. The droplets can also float in the air for minutes or hours. Infection happens when you breathe in the droplets or get them in your eyes or nose. Close personal contact with an infected person increases your risk for infection. This means being within 6 feet (2 meters) of the person for at least 15 minutes over 24 hours.
  • Person-to-person contact can spread the virus. For example, a person with the virus on his or her hands can spread it by shaking hands with someone.
  • The virus can stay on objects and surfaces for a short time. You may become infected by touching the object or surface and then touching your eyes or mouth.
  • An infected animal may be able to infect a person who touches it. This may happen at live markets or on a farm.

How to wash your hands to help prevent the virus from spreading:

Use soap and water. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of each hand, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first. Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Teach children how to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.


How to cover sneezes and coughs to help prevent the virus from spreading:

Turn your face away and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the tissue away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Then wash your hands well with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Turn your head and cover your face when you are around someone who is sneezing or coughing. Teach children how to cover a cough or sneeze. Remind them to wash their hands.

How social distancing will help prevent the virus from spreading:

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid anyone who is infected, but this can be hard to do. An infected person can spread the virus before signs or symptoms begin, or even if signs or symptoms never develop. Social distancing means people avoid close personal contact so the virus cannot spread from one person to another. Close personal contact means being within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone for at least 15 minutes over 24 hours. National and local social distancing rules vary. Rules may change over time as restrictions are lifted. Restrictions may return if an outbreak happens where you live. It is important to know and follow all current social distancing rules in your area. The following are general guidelines:

  • Stay home if you are sick or think you may have COVID-19. It is important to stay home if you are waiting for a testing appointment or for test results. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can pass the virus to others.
  • Do not have close physical contact with anyone who does not live in your home. Do not shake hands with, hug, or kiss a person as a greeting. Stand or walk as far from others as possible, especially around anyone who is sneezing or coughing. If you must use public transportation (such as a bus or subway), try to sit or stand away from others. You can stay safely connected with others through phone calls, e-mail messages, social media websites, and video chats. Check in on anyone who lives alone.
  • Only allow medical professionals or other necessary helpers into your home. Wear your face covering, and remind others to wear a face covering. Remind them to wash their hands when they arrive and before they leave. Do not let a visitor into your home, even if the person is not sick. A person can pass the virus to others before symptoms of COVID-19 begin. Some people never even develop symptoms. Children commonly have mild symptoms or no symptoms. It may be hard to tell a child not to hug or kiss you. Explain that this is how he or she can help you stay healthy.
  • Do not go to someone else's home unless it is necessary. Do not go over to visit, even if the person is lonely. Only go if you need to help him or her.
  • Avoid in-person gatherings and crowds. Gatherings or crowds of 10 or more individuals can cause the virus to spread. Avoid places such as parks, beaches, sporting events, and tourist attractions. For events such as parties, holiday meals, religious services, and conferences, attend virtually (on a computer), if possible.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for other ways to have appointments. Some providers offer phone, video, or other types of appointments. You may also be able to get prescriptions for a few months of your medicines at a time.
  • Stay safe if you must go out to work. You may have a job that can only be done outside your home. Keep physical distance between you and other workers as much as possible. Follow your employer's rules so everyone stays safe.

Prevent an infection in your home:

  • Wash your hands often. Make it a habit to wash your hands throughout the day. Wash before and after you care for anyone who thinks or knows he or she has COVID-19. Use soap and water. Remember to wash for at least 20 seconds. You can use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects in your home often. It is not known for sure how long the virus can stay on surfaces and objects. The following are general disinfection guidelines:
    • Wear disposable gloves while you are cleaning. Do not touch surfaces or items with your bare hands.
    • Use disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting solution. You can make a solution by diluting 4 teaspoons of bleach in 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Clean with a sponge or cloth that can be thrown away or washed in hot, soapy water and reused.
    • Be careful with cleaners. Open windows or have circulating air as you clean. Do not mix ammonia with bleach. This will create toxic fumes. Read the labels of all products you use.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces throughout your home. Surfaces include countertops, cupboard doors, desks, handrails, doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets, chairs, and light switches.
    • Clean and disinfect items well. Objects include keys, phones, computer keyboards and mice, video games, remote controls, and children's toys.
    • Clean used dishes and utensils well. Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher.
    • Wash clothing and bedding well. You can use regular laundry detergent. Follow instructions on the clothing or bedding label. Wash and dry on the warmest settings for the fabric.
  • Do not share items with anyone. This includes food, drinks, dishes, and eating utensils.
  • Safely handle packages delivered to your home. It is not known for sure how long the virus can stay on cardboard or other packaging. Throw the packaging away outside your home. Then wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Safely handle food you have delivered or pick up from a restaurant. If possible, have food left at your door or placed into your car. This helps prevent close physical contact with anyone. Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Keep anyone who is infected away from others in the home. If possible, keep the infected person isolated (away from others in the home) to prevent infections. The person should have his or her own dishes and eating utensils. Items the person uses need to be cleaned separately. Anyone who touches the person's items, clothing, or bedding needs to wear gloves that can be thrown away after use. It is important for the person to feel connected with others. Isolation can be lonely. The person may feel anxious or depressed. He or she can safely stay connected through phone calls, video chats, social media, and e-mail messages.
  • Anyone who is infected should not handle live animals unless it is necessary. Until more is known, it is best for the person not to touch, play with, or handle live animals until well. Some animals, including pets, have been infected with the new coronavirus. Care includes feeding, petting, and cuddling your pet. A pet should not lick the person or share his or her food. Someone who is not infected should take care of the pet, if possible. If the infected person must care for a pet, he or she needs to wear a face covering. Handwashing is important before and after the person gives care. Talk to a healthcare provider about how to keep a service animal safe, if needed.

Stay safe if you must go out of your home:

It is not known for sure how long the virus can live on objects and surfaces. Until more is known, follow these and any local recommendations to prevent infection:

  • Wear a face covering (mask) around anyone who does not live in your home. Use a disposable non-medical mask, or make a cloth covering with at least 2 layers. Cover your mouth and your nose. Securely fasten it under your chin and on the sides of your face. Do not wear a plastic face shield instead of a covering. Continue social distancing and washing your hands often. A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing safety measures.
    How to Wear a Face Covering (Mask)
  • Limit trips out of your home. You may be able to have food, medicines, and other supplies delivered.
  • If you must go out:
    • Plan your route. This will help you make the fewest stops possible and help prevent close contact. Keep track of places you go. This will help contact tracers notify others if you become infected.
    • Remember to wash your hands. Wash before you leave your home, so you do not bring the virus with you. Wash again when you get home, after you put away any items you bought.
    • Bring disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer with you. Use the wipes or hand sanitizer between stops. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water when you get home.
    • Make a list of items to buy before you go out. This will limit the items you touch in the store. The more items you handle, the more risk you take of getting the virus on your hands.
  • While you are out:
    • Wear a face covering. Do not touch the covering or your eyes while you are out.
    • If possible, use a debit or credit card to pay. The virus may be able to stay on paper money. You can become infected when you touch the money.
  • When you get home:
    • Carefully take the face covering off and wash your hands. Put used coverings together. If possible, keep them in a closed laundry bag or basket until you can wash them.
    • Unpack your items safely. Wipe or wash your hands before you open packaging.

For more information:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Road
    Atlanta , GA 30333
    Phone: 1- 404 - 6393311
    Phone: 1- 800 - 3113435
    Web Address:

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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