Social Distancing: How you can prevent the spread of COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Social distancing, it's what everyone is talking about. But what exactly is it?

The Center for Disease Control defines it as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible."

That means you should avoid large crowds of people that you'll typically see at church services, concerts and sporting events.

When you do go out in public, however, the CDC recommends you stay about six feet away from the nearest person. Because if they cough or sneeze, doctors say it's less likely the droplets will land on you.

"The virus can only travel about 3-4 feet, and so by staying six feet away from people you reduce the risk that you could acquire the infection," said Dr. Bala Hota, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Rush University Medical Center. "You know we're in a situation where there could be community transmission of this virus so this is the time to put that in place."

Recently Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also mandated that all events with 1,000 or more people be canceled or postponed immediately.

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"I do not want to waste precious resources monitoring event cancellations," Pritzker said. "I'm appealing to the civic, patriotic and humanitarian character of the residents of Illinois to act on this guidance immediately without any need for official state action."

So how do you stay safe?

"It's the basics, it's not glamorous but washing your hands, keeping distance, try to avoid touching your face, these are really all the things that will help slow this down," Dr. Hota said.

Other things you can do include sanitizing the things you touch regularly like door handles, your phone and other devices.

If you feel sick, stay home and get better.

Jalyn Henderson is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the north side of Chicago in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, West Ridge and Rogers Park. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods you can send an email to
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