During the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the United States, two top infectious disease experts with close ties to the federal government are advising people age 60 and older and people with underlying health issues to strongly consider avoiding activities that involve large crowds, such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls and going to religious services.
Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said people in these two groups "should strongly consider not doing these activities at this juncture."
“This ought to be top of mind for people over 60, and those with underlying health problems, such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, or compromised immune systems,” he added.
“I think clearly the time has come to take these steps,” said Michael Osterholm, a former state epidemiologist for Minnesota, who has served on committees advising the federal government on public health issues.
Both experts were speaking personally, and not as a representative of any government group.
Both Schaffner and Osterholm, who are over age 60, say they have taken some of these steps themselves.
Take note: The CDC has not advised anyone to take such steps, but on its website the agency mentions that “social distancing” – restricting where people go and limiting large crowds – “can help slow the spread” of the novel coronavirus.