What is the coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that was ﬁrst identiﬁed in China. It is contagious and includes symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
How does the virus spread?
The virus spreads from person to person through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread through infected surfaces or objects. You may be at greater risk if you have recently lived in or traveled to regions where there are current outbreaks or if you come into contact with someone who has the virus.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is intentionally increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes. Being greater than six feet away from a person with symptoms and washing your hands frequently greatly reduces the risk of spread. This is why events are being canceled, people are being asked to work from home or avoid public/crowded areas, and why sick people may be asked to wear a mask.
Why is practicing social distancing so important?
When new, contagious outbreaks like COVID-19 occur, practices like social distancing have become one of the simplest and most effective measures communities can take to avoid exposure as well as spreading the virus.
COVID-19’s incubation period could last up to 14 days, which means you could be carrying the virus to others and not be aware of symptoms until later.
The more we practice social distancing (i.e., working from home, remaining six feet apart from people in any public setting, and avoiding heavily public areas or events), the more likely we are to avoid the spread and shorten the period of time we must be out of our normal routine.
Another significant reason social distancing should be exercised is for those who have weakened or compromised immunities. People with diabetes, cancer, respiratory issues, and other specific diseases or disorders can’t afford to get COVID-19.
Effective ways to protect yourself from the virus
- Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid heavily public areas and touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache or slightly runny nose
- Seek medical advice or care if you develop a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing