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The CDC Just Issued These Big New Guidelines About Coronavirus

You’ll want to read this before going into your city

Now that cities are reopening after closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you must have a ton of questions, many of which involve the risk you're taking as you reenter society and engage with people, take public transportation and—yikes—possibly get sick. The CDC just announced a series of questions to ask yourself to "help determine your level of risk." Click through to see them verbatim, and all the valuable answers.


Ask yourself: How many people will I interact with?

people wearing medical mask for coronavirus covid 19 protection standing together beside office building and talking in city

Interacting with more people raises your risk.

  • Being in a group with people who aren't social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
  • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don't live with you) also raises your risk.
  • Some people have the virus and don't have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

Can I keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?

Grandmother and grandson separated by social distancing on park bench
  • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
  • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there's less ventilation.

What's the length of time that you will be interacting with people?

You're Having a Poor Diet
  • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
  • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.

Is COVID-19 spreading in my community?

ambulance on emergency car in motion

Find out by viewing the latest COVID-19 information and a map of states with reported COVID-19 infections.


What are the local orders in my community?

Beautiful dark skinned businesswoman with casual hairstyle working on her laptop, looking at screen with concentrated face and touching chin with hand

Review updates from your local health department to better understand the situation in your community and what local orders are in place in your community. Also find out about school closures, business re-openings, and stay-at-home orders in your state.


Will my activity put me in close contact with others?

woman outdoor wearing medical face mask, social distancing, sitting on a bench, isolated from other people

Practice social distancing because COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with others.

  • It's important that you and the people around you wear a cloth face covering when in public and particularly when it's difficult to stay 6 feet away from others consistently.
  • Choose outdoor activities and places where it's easy to stay 6 feet apart, like parks and open-air facilities.
  • Look for physical barriers, like plexiglass screens or modified layouts, that help you keep your distance from others.
  • Use visual reminders—like signs, chair arrangements, markings on the floor, or arrows—to help remind you to keep your distance from others.

Am I at risk for severe illness?

Woman with a cold and high fever

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. While the risk for severe illness is lower for others, everyone faces some risk of illness. Some people have no symptoms, others have mild symptoms, and some get severely ill.


Do I live with someone who is at risk for severe illness?


If you live with older adults someone with certain underlying medical conditions, then you and all family members should take extra precautions to minimize risk. Learn more about what you can do if you or any members of your family are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.


Do I practice everyday preventive actions?

Woman Washing her hands with soap and water at home bathroom

Continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions, like monitoring yourself for symptoms, not touching your face with unwashed hands, washing your hands often, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces, wearing cloth face covers, and staying home if you are sick.


Will I have to share any items, equipment, or tools with other people?

Disinfection of Computer Keyboard and Mouse. Woman disinfecting Computer Keyboard and Mouse with Alcohol-based disinfectant

Choose places where there is limited sharing of items and where any items that are shared are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.  You can also choose to visit places that share, post, or announce that they have increased cleaning and disinfection to protect others from COVID-19.


Will I need to take public transportation to get to the activity?

man in glasses feeling sick, wearing protective mask against transmissible infectious diseases and as protection against the flu in public transport/subway, using and looking at smartphone

Public transit can put you in close contact with others. When using public transportation, follow CDC's guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation


Does my activity require travel to another community?

sinesswoman wearing protective mask while traveling by public transportation.

Before considering trips outside your community, consult CDC's travel considerations.


If I get sick with COVID-19, will I have to miss work or school?

Young man suffering from cold at his home

If you are sick with COVID-19, stay home. Also, find out about your work or school's telework or sick leave policy.


Do I know what to do if I get sick?

A man browsing the CDC website to learn key facts about the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Know the steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick.


If you decide to engage in public activities…

young woman wearing a hygiene protective mask over her face while walking at the crowded place

…continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions. If you will be running an errand, follow CDC's running errands considerations.


Items to have on hand

DIY fabric face mask ,hand sanitizer spray and cloth bag
  • A cloth face covering
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible

In addition to that essential advice, to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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