Woman wearing a mask looking at her phone on an empty street.

While young people are less likely to experience severe or life-threatening complications from COVID-19, they play a critical role in minimizing the spread of the disease. Young people can impact how soon life returns to normal. Here are some important factors to consider to help control the spread of COVID-19.

What can I do to stop the spread?

COVID-19 spreads primarily from person-to-person through close contact. However, it can also remain active in water droplets in the air from coughs or sneezes or by touching infected surfaces. 

You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following these guidelines:

  • Stay at home. You are allowed to go into public to get groceries, pick up medical supplies, receive medical attention and exercise. If you are not engaging in one of these activities, stay indoors or on your own property. 
  • Practice social distancing when outside or in public spaces by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid large gatherings and crowded areas and do not host social gatherings of any size.
  • Wear a cloth mask while in public. You can find easy tutorials for making your own mask through the CDC or by visiting the Colorado Mask Project where extra masks can also be donated to those in need. 
  • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, sanitizing commonly touched surfaces and coughing/sneezing into your sleeve. 

These guidelines are the best way to help control the spread of this virus, limit the strain on our health care systems and keep people out of the hospital. 

But what if I’m not sick?

Many people who are infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. While you may feel well, you could still be at risk for spreading the disease. Because it is difficult to tell if you are infected without proper testing, it’s important to adhere to all state and federal guidelines. Even if you feel okay, you can still infect people around you, including your friends, family or other loved ones, who may be at risk for developing more serious complications.

Can I still hang out with a small group of close friends?

No. All gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason outside of your immediate household are banned by Colorado's Stay at Home order. Colorado’s orders are currently in effect until April 26. Federal recommendations for people outside of the state of Colorado will be in effect until April 30. These orders are subject to change and may be in effect for longer periods of time if needed. They are in place to help slow the spread of the virus and outline strict guidelines for activities outside of your home.

But what if I’m outside?

The virus spreads the same way, whether you’re indoors or outside. Colorado's Stay at Home order requires everyone to stay at home, unless you’re outside to perform essential activities, such as grocery shopping, medical care or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties. Outdoor gatherings and group activities are banned. Public parks should be used for exercise only. Activities like sunbathing, picnics and family outings are not allowed. 

If you choose to exercise outside, you are required to practice social distancing and the CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask. Stay in your neighborhood or local area and refrain from gathering in groups. Try to go outside during less busy times (early mornings are best). Avoid crowded trailheads. One way to tell how much foot traffic is in an area is to look at how many cars are parked in lots or along the streets. If you decide to go for a walk or hike on a local trail, practice social distancing and step aside for other hikers. Understand and follow the responsible recreation guidelines for use of the Boulder city and county open space and trails. Additionally, take care to avoid unnecessary contact with rural communities. These communities are more vulnerable to the virus and the impacts of limited health care resources. If you must stop at a rural town or business, maintain social distancing and keep your interactions brief.

Do my actions really make a difference?

Yes. While we may be missing friends and loved ones or feeling worried about our boredom levels or other life events, following these guidelines will make a difference. 

Staying at home isn’t just about protecting yourself, it’s also about protecting all of our loved ones, our health care workers and other people in our communities.  

Take a moment to remember who you are staying home for. This could be a parent, grandparent, friend or someone you may not even know. Identify a list of people that are worth staying home for and remind yourself of how much they mean to you before you make plans to go outside. How are your decisions impacting them and what could you do instead to keep them safe?

If you are looking for activities to do at home, check out our list of at-home activities to keep you entertained

Visit colorado.edu/coronavirus for CU Boulder information and updates.

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