To Stop Coronavirus In Its Tracks, Here’s Your Guide To 5 Degrees Of Separation

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

Monday, March 16, 2020 (Kaiser News) — As the number of coronavirus cases grows in the U.S., we’re hearing a lot about how social distancing, self-monitoring and even quarantine play into containment efforts.

But what do those terms mean and when do they apply?

We asked experts and found out there is some overlap and lots of confusion.

Here’s a quick guide for what you need to know.


Q: Why is all this happening?

In the U.S., testing got off to a slow start, limiting efforts to isolate those with the disease. Public health experts now say the most important goal is to slow the spread of the coronavirus so that the number of people who require medical attention doesn’t overwhelm hospitals.

If evidence holds from experiences to date in countries further along in the outbreak, most people who contract this virus will have mild cases. Still, the data from abroad indicates that 10% to 20% could end up in a more serious condition. That means if tens of millions of Americans come down with COVID-19, potentially hundreds of thousands may need hospital care.

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