UC Davis Health is committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 prevention and vaccines. Learn how to protect yourself and others from novel coronavirus spread:

Health care workers and people living in assisted living homes are among the first, high-risk tier to get a coronavirus vaccine. Next in line are people ages 75 years and older, and those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:

  • education
  • childcare
  • emergency services
  • food and agriculture

Although we cannot predict exactly when the COVID-19 vaccines will be readily available to the general public, many experts estimate that they could arrive as early as Spring 2021.

Learn more about the coronavirus vaccine and the distribution plans

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As of November 16, Californians must wear face coverings or masks in at all times when outside the home, with some exceptions.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), research shows that people with no or few symptoms of novel coronavirus (also known as asymptomatic) can still spread the disease. The agency added that face coverings, combined with social distancing and good hand washing practices, will reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The new requirements also list when people are exempt from wearing face coverings, such as:

  • In a car alone or solely with members of their own household
  • While working in an office or in a room alone
  • While actively eating or drinking provided that they're able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from non-members of the same household or residence
  • While outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance from others not in their household. Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household
  • While obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service
  • Workers who are required to wear respiratory protection
  • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance

Other exceptions to the mandate are listed on CDPH’s website. Children ages 2 and under, and people with a medical, mental health or a developmental disability that prevent them wearing a face covering, are among those exempted.

Find out why you should wear masks and what materials are best

Learn from our experts about the science of wearing a mask

Currently, there isn’t a study that shows increased protection from COVID-19 while wearing disposable gloves. Human hands have a lot of microbial, built-in defenses in the skin. COVID-19 can largely survive longer on gloves than it would on hands. The virus isn’t going to infect you through your hands, but rather because you touch your face, which can also happen while wearing gloves. In certain circumstances, wearing gloves is advised. For example, if you’re in contact with a surface that is likely infected, you can wear gloves and then take them off when you’re done. If you have problems with hand hygiene, like skin irritation from repeated washing, then wearing gloves (and changing to new ones often) is reasonable.

Don’t rely on gloves as a barrier to coronavirus, as your hands are probably more resistant to the virus than the gloves are. What’s most important is hand hygiene and not using your hands (gloved or not) to spread virus to your mouth, nose, eyes or ears.

You can reuse gloves – although they are inexpensive, and it’s recommended to use a new pair each time. However, the virus doesn’t last forever on a surface. After 7 days, the chance of the virus infecting you is very low. You can sanitize gloves with alcohol or wash them with soap and water.

Learn other novel coronavirus (COVID-19) mistakes you may be making in preventing the virus

The best way for people to protect themselves is to not be around sick people. Much is unknown about how the novel coronavirus spreads. However, coronaviruses typically are spread from person-to-person when in close contact (about 6 feet).

The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures, such as:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, and after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick person. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home from work and away from other people if you become sick with any respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. People who are sick should be in a room, with the door closed, to help prevent spreading the disease to other people.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you're coughing and sneezing, isolate yourself away from others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and in your car.
  • Do not travel or go out into public while sick.
  • Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Check out these ways to stay healthy amid the COVID-19 pandemic (pdf)