Prevention and Control of COVID-19


COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can be inhaled by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouths. In some situations, the virus can also spread through smaller particles that can linger in the air for longer periods of time and travel farther distances. This is called airborne transmission and it can occur in poorly ventilated or crowded indoor settings. 1

To prevent COVID-19 and protect yourself and others from getting infected, it is important to follow some general prevention measures that can reduce the risk of exposure to respiratory droplets and airborne particles. These measures include:

  • Vaccination: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its complications. There are four vaccines that are authorized or approved for use in the United States: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, and Novavax. The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel recommends COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible for everyone who is eligible according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AI). 2
  • Hand hygiene: Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can help remove germs and dirt from your hands and prevent them from contaminating your mucous membranes or other surfaces. If soap and water are not available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 3
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people: You should avoid close contact with anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus. Many people with COVID-19 may not have any symptoms but can still spread the virus to others. Therefore, you should also limit your contact with people outside your household and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others when possible. 3
  • Wearing a cloth face cover in public: A cloth face cover can help block some of the respiratory droplets and particles that may contain the virus from reaching your mouth and nose or spreading to others. You should wear a cloth face cover when you are in public settings where it is hard to keep a safe distance from others, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, or public transportation. Make sure your cloth face cover fits snugly over your nose and mouth and does not have any gaps or holes. You should also wash your cloth face cover regularly and replace it if it becomes damaged or wet. 3
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing: When you cough or sneeze, you should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow to prevent droplets from spraying into the air or onto other people or surfaces. You should dispose of used tissues properly in a lined trash can and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards. 3
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces: You should clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. You can use household cleaners and disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface and follow the instructions on the label. You should also wear gloves and wash your hands after cleaning and disinfecting. 3

These measures can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 through droplets and airborne particles. However, they are not foolproof and they do not eliminate the risk of infection completely. Therefore, you should also monitor your health for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical attention if you feel sick or test positive for the virus.