3D Rendering of Coronavirus

The CDC’s New COVID-19 Guidelines: What You Should Know

COVID-19 is still a new disease, and we learn more every day about preventing it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines to help you avoid catching COVID-19.[1] Let’s explore some important takeaways.

How COVID Spreads

To better understand COVID-19 prevention, let’s first review how the disease spreads. According to the new CDC guidelines, COVID-19 spreads mostly through close contact — defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person.[2] At this close range, COVID-19 can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets — small bits of liquid expelled when we breathe, talk, sing, cough or sneeze. These droplets become known as particles if they dry quickly in the air.

Although respiratory droplets and particles usually spread through close contact, they also sometimes can stay airborne and infectious for minutes to hours after an infected person leaves a space. [2]

In addition to transmission through the air, COVID-19 occasionally spreads via contaminated surfaces and, rarely, from animals to humans. [2]


Staying SafeMan Wearing a Mask and Reading a Newspaper

In light of COVID-19’s transmission methods, let’s talk about preventing it.

Keeping a distance of at least six feet from other people is heavily emphasized by the CDC’s prevention guidelines. [1] Social distancing demonstrably lessens the spread of COVID-19, according to research published by the CDC.[3]

Next up is wearing a mask. A growing body of evidence confirms mask-wearing slows the spread of COVID-19.[4] It’s important to choose the right kind of mask, though. The CDC recommends well-fitted masks with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric.[5]

Washing your hands is crucial, too. Soap and water are preferred here, but hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content can suffice.[1] You especially should wash your hands after leaving a public place and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. These, however, are just a few of the instances where the CDC recommends washing your hands.

Speaking of disinfecting, it’s important to sanitize frequently-touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, phones and keyboards every day.[1] After cleaning these surfaces of any dirt, apply a household disinfectant to finish the job.

It’s also important to avoid crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor spaces. COVID-19 droplets and particles more easily travel through the air — and even beyond six feet from infected people — in poorly ventilated spaces.[2]


What If I Get Sick?Thermometer

It’s key to stay home and isolate from others — except to get medical care — if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you might be.[6] You should stay in contact with your doctor and monitor your symptoms, including checking your temperature regularly. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and more. Of course, you also should wear a mask when needed, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid sharing personal household items with others. You might also consider getting tested for COVID-19. The CDC offers more detailed guidance for what to do if you get sick.


A Developing Story

As doctors and scientists continue discovering more about COVID-19, it’s likely recommendations for preventing the disease will change further. Be sure to check the CDC website for the latest updates. You can also visit our COVID-19 page for useful information and resources.



  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html
  3. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-1093_article
  4. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00818
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html