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COVID-19 Update

The situation with the global coronavirus outbreak is developing rapidly as scientists and doctors learn more about the virus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. ConnectWell will provide updates on issues surrounding the unfolding spread of COVID-19.


We are bringing ConnectWell’s expertise from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health to our visitors. Learn directly from Dr. John Swartzberg who is clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Dr. Swartzberg works closely with ConnectWell through overseeing our digital content development from a medical perspective as Chair of the Editorial Board of the School’s Health & Wellness Publications.

Articles from Dr. John Swartzberg about developments in COVID-19:

Useful Resources

Real-time factual updates on COVID-19, as well as recommendations for preventing its spread, are available on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and White House.

For factual information on COVID-19 in your area and on Public Health Orders that might affect you, consult your local and state health department websites.

CDC Resources


  • This CDC link provides a situation summary of COVID-19.

  • This CDC COVID-19 site link has an interactive map of all the states and how they are impacted. On the map, when you click on a state, you will be brought to the health department’s website of that state and can learn more about specific COVID-19 updates related to that state.

  • For state specific information on COVID-19, go to this CDC site.

WHO Resources

White House Guidelines

  • Here is the link for White House guidelines on coronavirus from the President.


Public Health Orders

During Public Health Emergencies, health officials have broad authority to protect the health of the population and can issue orders that the public must follow. Governors and the President can issue executive orders for the same purpose. Watch for news, smartphone, radio, and television updates. Consult your state and local health department website daily to stay informed about orders that are in effect in your area.


Most of the orders in the COVID-19 outbreak are efforts to slow down transmission. Doing so will reduce the number of people who are sick at one time. Without being slowed, spread of COVID-19 has the potential to move forward rapidly, resulting in a massive wave of ill patients and overwhelming the capacity of the healthcare system and medical facilities. 


COVID-19 is extremely easy to transmit to susceptible people and can be passed on before any symptoms appear. Until testing can help identify who is infectious, slowing transmission means keeping everyone — even people who feel well — separated as much as possible. 


Shelter-in-place Orders

To slow the spread of COVID-19, shelter-in-place orders are going into effect across the United States. The first metro region to implement a shelter-in-place order was the 6-county region of the San Francisco Bay Area, effective March 17, 2020. The shelter-in-place order was expanded by Governor Gavin Newsom to the entire state of California just 3 days later to slow the spread of the virus. The states of Illinois and New York quickly followed with shelter-in-place orders of their own. By the week of March 23rd, a total of 17 states followed with similar orders to reduce the spread of the virus. Orders may be different by region and it is important to know the specifics of the order in your area so you can comply with the ordinance and do your part to reduce spreading of the virus.

Here are some general elements of the country’s first shelter-in-place order:

  • Residents are to stay home as much as possible, with the exceptions of certain “essential” activities and jobs.

  • “Essential” exceptions include: getting food at the grocery store, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, buying gas, going to the bank, and checking on relatives. Restaurants can serve takeout food and do deliveries, and essential government services like transit, police, fire, and healthcare facilities will stay open.

  • During any of those exceptions, strict hygiene and social distancing are required.

  • Nonessential businesses at which people aggregate in numbers — such as gyms, bars, and movie theaters — have been required to close.

  • People are allowed to go outside, run, hike and walk their dogs, as long as they do it alone or with close family, and keep 6 feet away from others. 

  • Homeless people “are not subject to the shelter in place order.” They are urged to find safe places to abide by the order if possible. “Government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.”