COVID-19: Prevention and Groups at Higher Risk

There is widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in New York City, meaning the sources of new infections are unknown. There are currently no vaccines or other medicines to prevent COVID-19. However, medicine and vaccine research is underway.

The precautions described below can help protect you and others from getting sick.

Recent Guidance

Face Coverings

People who do not have symptoms may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering can help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people, so you must wear one whenever you leave home and cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.

A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas. Do not use medical grade masks, such as N95 or surgical masks, as those must be reserved for people in the health care system. Health care workers are at high risk for COVID-19 and need these masks to stay safe and keep serving New Yorkers who are very sick.

Even when wearing a face covering, continue to practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing, including maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when possible.

"Anti-COVID-19" Products and Medicines

Do not use products or medicines promoted as "anti-COVID-19" unless approved by a health care provider. These may be dangerous and fatal. Such dangerous products include household disinfectants, such as bleach and Lysol®, which can be poisonous when ingested or injected into your body.

The only preventive measures for COVID-19 currently approved are social distancing and hand washing. For more information, talk to your provider or contact the Poison Control Center.

Pregnant People

Preventing Infection

All New Yorkers — healthy or sick — must stay home at much as possible.

If you are not sick, you can leave your home for work (if you work for an essential business or entity), getting groceries and supplies, or essential medical care. You may also leave for solitary exercise. When you need to leave home, wear a face covering and keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.

Here are more ways you and your loved ones can stay safe each day:

People at High Risk of Severe Illness

People who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are adults ages 50 and older (people 65 and older are at the highest risk), and people who have serious health conditions such as:

People who are at risk of severe illness need to be especially careful to monitor their health and practice physical distancing and good hygiene. Here are some tips to help:

  • Make a list of medicines you take regularly. Ask your health care provider for a 90-day supply of necessary medicines.

  • Ask your provider if you should have pneumococcal vaccines. There is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, but staying up-to-date on other vaccines is important for your overall health.

  • Check in on friends and neighbors who may need help, such as older people and people with chronic health conditions who need to be more careful.

  • Identify people or community groups who can help you when you need it.

Guidance for Specific Populations

More Information