By now, you’ve heard the advice that to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., we need to practice social distancing. But if you’re confused as to what that looks like in practice, we’ve got some answers.
On Monday, the White House announced new guidelines for the next two weeks, urging Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people; to avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, or social visits; and not to go out to restaurants or bars.
This guidance is based on new modeling on how the virus might spread, according to Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force.
“What had the biggest impact in the model is social distancing, small groups, not going in public in large groups,” Birx said at a White House press conference Monday.
Also critically important, said Birx, is a 14-day quarantine of any household where one person is infected with the coronavirus. In models, “that stopped 100% of transmission outside of the household,” she said.
The federal government is urging older people and those with serious underlying health conditions — like lung or heart conditions or a weakened immune system — to “stay home and away from other people” because data shows that these groups are most vulnerable to developing a severe form of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Every single generation has a role to play,” Birx said Tuesday at a White House press conference. “We’re asking our older generation to stay in their homes. We’re asking the younger generations to stop going out in public places, to bars and restaurants, and spreading asymptomatic virus onto countertops and knobs.”
So what is and isn’t OK in our new world of social distancing? Can I have people over or go visit Grandma? Here’s what the new CDC guidelines and other health experts have to say.
Can I go to a restaurant, food court or bar?
According to Monday’s new guidelines, no — at least not for dining in. The CDC says people should use drive-through, pickup or delivery options instead.