Every one of us can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home.

“To save lives, we urgently need to slow the spread of the virus now,” said the Big Cities Health Coalition, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, in an open letter published today in newspapers across the country. “Many of our cities have put measures in place to sharply limit the spread of COVID-19. But no matter the extent of these measures, and even if you feel fine, we again implore you: Just Stay Home!

STAY HOME Help us win the fight against COVID-19We’ve all heard the importance of limiting large gatherings and keeping a six-foot distance between ourselves and others to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The White House has issued national guidance, and most states have specifics on avoiding any unnecessary outings. Yet public health officials say many of us are struggling to stick to the guidelines.

“We know it is hard,” Oxiris Barbot, MD, New York City’s health commissioner and co-author of the letter, said in a statement. “We know that connection to and within our communities are some of the best things about our day-to-day lives. But for now, staying physically apart is the absolute best thing we can do for our friends, our family and our neighbors. The difference this will make will save lives.”

The letter, signed by health officials from public health departments serving nearly 62 million residents, is one of many recent efforts to spread the word about the simple but not easy things we all can do in the face of the biggest public health threat of our lifetimes.JUST STAY HOME Help us win the fight against COVID-19

A large part of APHA’s work in the past three months has been to share clear, science-based information like the stay-at-home directives issued nationwide. A letter from APHA and a long list of public health, health care and science groups urged President Trump and Vice President Pence to extend the national stay-at-home guidelines past April 30. The focus of the first two COVID-19 Conversations webinars co-hosted with the National Academy of Medicine was the science of distancing and ways limiting our day-to-day contacts can help and hurt during a pandemic. Today’s letter made it clear that we’re all in this together.

“We understand that what we are asking of you is not easy,” the letter stated. “We know that for many of you, sounding this alarm may cause fear and anxiety. But, we must. While we ask you to stay apart physically, we implore you to come together emotionally and spiritually. Together we are the best defense against this pandemic.”

“When we ask people to stay home, we don’t take it lightly,” said Sara Cody, MD, Santa Clara County health officer, public health director, and chair of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “We understand many people cannot work from home and are suffering from real impacts to their livelihood. Right now, we all need to reduce the number of people with whom each of us comes in contact. We each have a part in slowing the spread of this virus.”

To stay up to date, visit and bookmark APHA’s COVID-19 and Get Ready pages and our coronavirus post series here on Public Health Newswire.

Images courtesy Big Cities Health Coalition.