Be Prepared by Staying Informed About COVID-19

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A woman reading the newspaper.

The U.S. Government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is coordinating an emergency response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, and it’s rapidly evolving situation.

As new information and updated guidance becomes available, CDC is using traditional and digital methods, including social media, to inform the whole community, including schools, businesses, and healthcare professionals.

Rumor Has it

At the same time, rumors and misinformation will continue to pop up on social media and may even find their way into the conversations people have with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. In a rapidly changing situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for people to know how to stay informed and to talk with the people around them.

Whether they know it or not, people can support the response by helping to share facts, guidance, and answers to frequently asked questions with people in their social networks at work, school, and online.

Need help distinguishing rumor from fact? Visit FEMA’s Rumor Control webpage for current and accurate myth-busting information about the COVID-19 response.


How can my family and I prepare for COVID-19?

Create an emergency action plan:

  • Talk with our family about what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications, particularly older adults and those with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease.
  • Get to know your neighbors and find out if your neighborhood has a website or social media page to stay connected.
  • Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.
  • Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.

How can I prepare for COVID-19 at work?

Talk to your employer about their emergency response plans, including sick-leave policies and telework options. Learn how businesses and employers can plan for and respond to COVID-19.

How can I stay informed about COVID-19?

A big part of staying informed an emergency is knowing where to turn for timely, consistent, and reliable information. Bookmark CDC’s COVID-19 response webpage, and follow only trusted sources on social media, including handles run by CDC and state and local public health departments.

How can I prepare in case my child’s school, childcare facility, or university is dismissed?

Talk to the school or facility about their emergency operations plan. Understand the plan for continuing education and social services (such as student meal programs) during school dismissals. If your child attends a college or university, encourage them to learn about the school’s plan for a COVID-19 outbreak.

How can I and my family reduce our risk of getting COVID-19?

Practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick and remind everyone in your home to do the same. These actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
    (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

I heard that someone’s dog tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Should I be worried about my dog getting infected and passing on the infection to others?

CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.

CDC is working with human and animal health partners to monitor this situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

Staying Informed

As important as it is to stay informed of the situation, there is such a thing as too much information. Try to limit your family’s exposure to news, including social media, coverage of the event. Children can misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

Click here for more frequently asked questions and answers on topics including COVID-19 symptoms, travel, and personal protective equipment.



Thanks in advance for your questions and comments on this Public Health Matters post. Please note that the CDC does not give personal medical advice. If you are concerned you have a disease or condition, talk to your doctor.

Have a question for CDC? CDC-INFO ( offers live agents by phone and email to help you find the latest, reliable, and science-based health information on more than 750 health topics.

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5 comments on “Be Prepared by Staying Informed About COVID-19”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    I’m trying to find out about the information on wearing a face mask for people who have severe lung disease and comprised immune systems that wearing one is extremely dangerous to them.

    Be Prepared by Staying Informed About COVID-19

    As an Infection Preventionist nurse my job is to be aware and stay updated on the latest guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) so I will be informed of what kind of infection prevention protocol needs to be implemented or changed at job. The information from the CDC websites informs me of what current personal protective equipment should be in use by the staff and visitors. Because of the pandemic the company I am employed with has changed their policies and procedures and is continually changing them due to the pandemic. It is important to stay informed so that we will know how to better protect ourselves, our families, and the patients/clients we work with. I believe staying informed with the correct information will help keep individuals prepared about what precautions need to be taken. The CDC website is a great site to obtain information on the latest of preventing or decreasing the risk of contracting COVID-19. There are so many myths about COVID-19 and the vaccine people are not sure of what to believe and some believe it is not as bad as the CDC report it, so they refuse to wear mask or use any precaution measures. I agree with this blog if we stay informed, we can better prepare ourselves for a better outcome.

    “Be prepared by staying informed,” but please make sure that the information you got is true because many people believe information even if it is untrue. Do research to ensure its legitimacy.

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Page last reviewed: May 18, 2020
Page last updated: May 18, 2020