While practicing social distancing, how close should you get to loved ones?

Woman hands using wash hand sanitizer gel dispenser, against Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or Wuhan coronavirus at public train station. Antiseptic, Hygiene and Healthcare concept(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Panuwat Dangsungnoen)
With everyone practicing social distancing to protect themselves and others from coronavirus, should you be getting close and personal with your loved ones at home?

“Use appropriate judgment,” said Dr. Vinisha Amin, who specializes in hospital and family medicine at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. “Obviously if you have fever, cough, congestion, generalized weakness and if you’re just generally not feeling well, then the answer to that question directly would be no,” Amin said.

She said that you need to watch those around you closely.

“For the first time we are co-dependent on protecting the other person’s health and I think that’s the biggest take-home message with this.”

And if they have recently traveled to one of the countries indicated as high risk by the CDC and start with a fever or a cough, “it’s very important that they immediately notify your primary care physician or your local emergency care physician and get checked out,” she said.

Older adults and those with underlying health issues are at high risk once contracting coronavirus according to the Centers for Disease Control. But what about other high risk groups?

“Especially for pregnant women … there’s a lot of fear,” Amin said.

She added that, because the virus is evolving, they are unsure how it impacts pregnant women and to be especially cautious when practicing social distancing at home.

“Even for pregnancy right now, we don’t know if the virus can transmit to the fetus and with that said, taking those extra precautionary measure to make sure you’re safe if very important. We don’t have enough information to know how the novelty corona will pan out,” she said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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