The CDC Has a Simple "Rule of Thumb" to Help You Avoid Coronavirus

This easy, three-item checklist can help keep you safe as we reopen.

Though the coronavirus lockdowns were difficult, at least the terms were straightforward: if you stayed inside your house as much as humanly possible, you most likely avoided coronavirus during this stage. But now, as our economy begins to reopen amid rising COVID cases in many states, we're going to have to manage the risks of the pandemic with a whole new set of rules. Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a set of guidelines for navigating our return to public spaces, and they come with a handy, three-pronged "rule of thumb" for being around others.

The key, according to the health authority, is to consider each of these three factors before venturing out: the physical closeness of your contact with others, the number of people you interact with, and the length of time you spend together. In other words, by limiting our group sizes, keeping our interactions brief, and maximizing the distance between us, we can significantly reduce our odds of transmission.

RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The CDC also provided additional tips for navigating reopening. These include meeting outside in the open air whenever possible, altering plans when there's evidence of community spread, wearing face masks consistently, and researching meeting places like restaurants or other businesses to assess their safety protocols before visiting them.

Perhaps most importantly, we should all view reopening as a gradual process. It may take time for us to learn which spaces feel safe, and how to balance the risks of coronavirus with the rewards of returning to our normal lives. Adding new activities and destinations one at a time will help keep cases to a minimum—and that is something worth waiting for. And if you've had lingering COVID symptoms, you're not alone: 40 Percent of Coronavirus Patients Have This One Symptom for Weeks.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more