The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and the number of cases continues to rise worldwide. These basic steps can help you reduce your risk of getting sick or infecting others.
The coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, with over 200,000 confirmed cases and at least 8,000 dead. In the United States, there have been at least 8,000 cases and more than 100 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Coronavirus is here, and it’s spreading quickly. Older Americans, those with underlying health conditions and those without a social safety net are the most vulnerable to the infection and its societal disruption.
Though life as we know it is sharply off-kilter, there are measures you can take.
Most important: Do not panic. With a clear head and some simple tips, you can help reduce your risk, prepare your family and do your part to protect others.
Stay home if you can.
Even if you have no underlying health conditions, and no symptoms, be extra cautious to protect other people
You can do your part to help your community and the world. Do not get close to other people.
This is called “social distancing” or “physical distancing,” and is basically a call to stand far away from other people. Experts believe the coronavirus travels through droplets, so limiting your exposure to other people is a good way to protect yourself.
Avoid public transportation when possible, limit nonessential travel, work from home and skip social gatherings. Don’t go to crowded restaurants or busy gyms. You can go outside, as long as you avoid being in close contact with people.
[How to keep your distance: A guide to help you make the right decisions]
That might be hard to follow, especially for those who can’t work from home. Also, if you’re young, your personal risk is most likely low. The majority of those who contract coronavirus do not become seriously ill, and it might just feel as if you have the flu. But keeping a stiff upper lip is not only foolhardy but will endanger those around you.
If you develop a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom, call your doctor. (Testing for coronavirus is still inconsistent — there are not enough kits, and it’s dangerous to go into a doctor’s office and risk infecting others.) Then, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and your local health department for advice about how and where to be tested.