How to help during the coronavirus outbreak

The new coronavirus has led many people to retreat from social interaction amid recommendations from public health officials. But limited or no physical contact with others does not mean it’s completely hopeless to offer help in your community.

Here are five ways you can assist others during the coronavirus outbreak.

Lend a hand to higher-risk neighbors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated older adults and people with chronic medical conditions including diabetes, lung disease and heart disease are at higher risk of contracting the new virus.

If you have loved ones or neighbors in this group, offer to pick up prescriptions for them or go grocery shopping to help them stock their pantry.

Donate money to food banks

Closures of Atlanta Public Schools means that students won’t be in the cafeteria to eat free breakfasts and lunches that are typically provided to them. The school district has opened five meal distribution sites, which will begin offering families shelf-stable grocery items from the Atlanta Community Food Bank on March 23. Donating to the food bank will help support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support small businesses 

The coronavirus has forced small businesses owners to rethink the ways they conduct business — especially when face-to-face interactions are now off the table. Town and Country recommends buying gift cards from your favorite local shops. Some stores offer products online, so that can be an option, too.

» RELATED: What is social distancing? As coronavirus spreads, here’s what health experts say

Donate blood

The American Red Cross is urging “healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood, platelet or AB Elite plasma donation appointments.” The organization wants to maintain an adequate supply of blood product to avoid any possible shortages. Find out more here.

Avoid social contact as much as possible

Practice social distancing. The CDC previously stated that “(l)ocal communities may employ tools that encourage” it. Now, there have been bans on large gatherings across the country and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has revised her executive order to limit public gatherings to 50 people in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

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