CDC updates how COVID-19 spreads, who is at risk

CDC’s latest guidance on how COVID-19 spreads and who is at risk can help employers better plan to protect their workers.

Posted June 4, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted guidance on how COVID-19 spreads, and describing on individuals at higher risk.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet). Transmission occurs through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

It may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but CDC is still learning more about how this virus spreads.

At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low. It appears the virus can spread from people to animals in some situations. CDC is aware of a small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, reported to be infected, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.

To prevent illness, maintain social distance, and wash hands often with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others.

People at higher risk

Based on current information, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

  • People 65 years and older;
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled.

Underlying medical conditions of concern include:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
  • Serious heart conditions.
  • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher).
  • Diabetes.
  • Chronic kidney disease or people undergoing dialysis.
  • Liver disease.
  • Conditions that cause a person to be immunocompromised including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplants, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.

This article was written by Ed Zalewski of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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