Monday update: Mask recommendations and latest COVID-19 numbers
Updated April 6, 8:30 a.m.
News reports about the new coronavirus have flooded your social media feeds and your TVs, and the numbers and headlines seem to be changing every hour. Here is the latest: The Centers for Disease Control has recommended “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
And the CDC provides some clear, practical tips you should know about wearing masks here. It describes when to wash a mask, how it should fit and answers other important questions.
But it’s important to remember that the masks aren’t meant to protect you from the virus. The masks are meant to try to prevent you from spreading it, and they’re no replacement for social distancing.
“It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus,” the CDC reports on its website. “CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
Meanwhile, Illinois and Wisconsin have reported their latest escalating COVID-19 numbers.
On Sunday, Illinois reported nearly 900 new cases in one day, bringing the state’s total to 11,256. And the number of COVID-19 deaths climbed by 31 people, to a total of 274. The number of deaths in Wisconsin rose by 12 people, up to 68. And the number of cases rose by 155 to 2,267.
Both states have put stay-at-home orders in place. While essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open, people are being told to remain at home and stay home from work whenever possible. Essential workers such as health care workers and delivery drivers will continue to work, and taking a walk outside while keeping a safe distance from others is encouraged.
Unless people take action, the virus will continue to spread.
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, start with a COVID-19 Symptom Checker that can be found here.
The flood of news be scary and confusing, even when coming from trustworthy mainstream media reports. But there also are national and local public resources available online where you can keep track of the latest COVID-19 advice and reports for yourself, whether you’re trying to plan travel, inform your relatives or just get through the day.
On the national front, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a trustworthy public source. It released a new video over the weekend on the importance of social distancing, the buzzword used to describe what Pritzker and Evers are asking people to do.
The CDC also released a video about how the virus spreads.
The COVID-19 outbreak has been described as a serious danger to older people, and rightly so. Many of the deaths from the new coronavirus outbreak worldwide have been among people 70 years old and above.
But a new Centers for Disease Control report suggests that nearly 40% of the Americans hospitalized at the time of the report were between the ages of 20 and 50. Numbers are changing fast as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country, but the report’s findings are clear: Younger people must take this outbreak seriously, even if they feel healthy and immune to its effects.
In addition, some key resources that you can bookmark are listed below.
The CDC updates its website regularly, using clear language to give you the latest information known by public health experts. Here are a few key pages:
- What to do when you think you have COVID-19
- The known symptoms of COVID-19
- Common questions about coronavirus answered
- How to prevent illness
- A summary of the situation
- The latest U.S. cases
In addition, states update their own public health pages that have more local data and guidance. The governors of both Illinois and Wisconsin have called on people to keep gatherings to less than 10 people.
This story will be updated to include new and additional materials as they become relevant or available. Sign up to have email newsletters delivered to you by going here.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.