As the United States continues to deal with the spread of coronavirus, more than 20 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, and Washington are ordering their residents to stay at home. The “shelter at home,” also referred to as “stay at home” or “safer at home” order comes with specific stipulations and is not the same as a “lockdown.” Here, the differences between the terms are explained.
Shelter in Place, Stay at Home and Safer at Home
Local officials typically use shelter in place orders, during or immediately after a crisis such as a natural disaster, mass shooting, or chemical spill. Over the past few weeks, state and local officials have been implementing the measure in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. This is what the order mandates:
Residents Must Stay at Home
In most cases, residents can only leaver their home to:
Purchase food and essential household items
Deliver supplies such as food, pet products, and any necessary equipment to others
To enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling, or running provided they remain at a safe distance from others
To go to work for essential businesses
To care for a family member
To tend to livestock
To seek medical care
Although state “stay at home” orders are laws and to break them is illegal, it is not clear exactly how the orders are being enforced.
What a National Lockdown Would Mean
Some countries, such as Spain and Italy have imposed a national lockdown in response to their COVID-19 outbreaks. President Trump has, so far, said this will not be necessary for the U.S. But would it even be possible and if so, what would it mean?
If a national lockdown was imposed, it would mean that you could get fined or face imprisonment for going outside for non-essential reasons, which would limit you to going to work, seeking medical care, or obtaining groceries. For example, you could be fined for going for a walk, unless you were taking your pet, or going to visit friends.
Some regions of America where there is a high number of coronavirus cases, such as California, have already imposed a lockdown. This may become more common over the coming weeks.
Other Common Terms Used During the Coronavirus
There are a number of other terms related to the COVID-19 response. Understanding them can help you stay informed about the disease. These include:
Social distancing: Social distancing involves the cancellation of events that would draw a crowd, such as music concerts and church services. In many states, gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. You are also recommended to stay at least six feet away from other people to reduce your risk of becoming infected.
Asymptomatic: A person who is asymptomatic is one who shows no signs or symptoms of the disease. However, just because an individual does not have symptoms, does not necessarily mean that that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
COVID-19 is a serious epidemic and is threatening to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system. Staying at home as much as possible can help to spread the virus.