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COVID-19: Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation

Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation

Limiting face-to-face interaction with people is the best way to decrease the spread of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) .

Social distancing

Social distancing is also called “physical distancing,” means keeping distance between yourself and further individuals outside of your house. To practice social distancing:

  • Keep distance at minimum 6 feet (2 meters) from other individuals
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of congested places and avoid mass get-together

When COVID-19 is scattering in your zone, everybody should limit close interaction with persons outside your house in inside and outside spaces. Meanwhile, individuals can spread the virus before they recognize they are sick, it is essential to stay away from people when conceivable, even if you have no indications. Social distancing is particularly vital for individuals who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Why practice social distancing?

COVID-19 extents mostly among persons who are in nearby interaction (within about 6 feet) for an extended period. Spread occurs when an infected individual sneezes, coughs or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are thrown into the air and land in the mouths or noses of individuals nearby. The droplets may be inhaled into the lungs. Latest studies show that persons who are infected but do not have indications likely also play a part in the spread of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sun light and humidity. Social distancing helps limit contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.

Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community.

Tips for social distancing

  • Follow direction from specialists where you live.
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
    • Consider a grocery delivery service.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, including when you have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store.
  • Stay at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering.
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults. Children should not have in-person play-dates while school is out. To help maintain social connections while social distancing, learn tips to keep children healthy while school’s out.
  • Work from home when possible.
  • If possible, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ride sharing, or taxis.
  • If you are a student or parent, talk to your school about options for digital/distance learning.

Stay connected while staying away. It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family that don’t live in your home. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and having to socially distance yourself from someone you love can be difficult.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?


Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.


Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).

What should I do if I might have been exposed? If I feel sick? Or have confirmed COVID-19?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, If you…

Steps to take…

If you or someone in your home might have been exposed


Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, * cough, or shortness of breath.

  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and stay out of crowded places.

If you feel healthy but:

  • Recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, or
  • Recently traveled from somewhere outside the U.S. or on a cruise ship or river boat


  • Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms.
  • Stay home for 14 days and self-monitor.
  • If possible, stay away from people who are high-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

If you:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or
  • Are waiting for test results, or
  • Have symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath


  • Stay in a specific “sick room” or area and away from other people. If possible, use a separate bathroom.
  • Read important information about caring for yourself for someone else who is sick.

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