Work and school environments may seem particularly daunting in the context of an outbreak, but some simple measures can help prevent infection in the office or classroom.

They are largely the same as those outlined in our earlier blog with additions of a few more critical steps. According to WHO recommendations, the following are the most important preventive steps:

  1. Clean the hands regularly with an alcohol-based sanitizer, or wash them with soap and water. The CDC also make this recommendation, advising that sanitizer should contain “at least 60% alcohol” and that people should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Clean surfaces — such as kitchen seats and work desks — regularly with disinfectant.
  3. Avoid crowded areas when going out, for people over 60 years old and people with any underlying health problems.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with people who display flu-like symptoms, including coughing and sneezing.
  5. Regularly clean work surfaces and objects in continual use, such as phones and computer keyboards.
  6. Regularly wash the hands with soap and water or use sanitizer.

In recent telebriefings, CDC officials advised anyone who is concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 to get in touch with employers and schools to find out exactly what response measures they have in place.

The CDC recommend that all people wear cloth face masks in public places where it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot (2-meter) distance from others. This will help slow the spread of the virus from asymptomatic people and people who do not know that they have contracted it. People should wear cloth face masks while continuing to practice physical distancing.

Note: It is critical that surgical masks and N95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers.