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VERIFY: What's the difference between 'quarantine,' 'isolation' and 'social distancing'?

All three of these terms refer to preventative measures meant to slow the spread of communicable diseases like coronavirus. But each represents a different level.

As concern over the coronavirus continues to spread, a lot of unfamiliar terms are being thrown around. "Quarantine," "isolation," "social distancing" – but what's the difference between them? KVUE wanted to clear up the confusion.

THE QUESTION

What is the difference between "quarantine," "isolation" and "social distancing"?

SOURCES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

WHAT WE FOUND

All three of these terms refer to preventative measures meant to slow the spread of communicable diseases like coronavirus. But each represents a different level.

According to the CDC, "social distancing" means remaining out of crowded public spaces where close contact with others may occur and maintaining distance – approximately six feet – from others when possible. Someone does not have to have come in contact with a coronavirus patient to practice social distancing.

Next, "quarantine" generally refers to when someone who is reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but isn't showing symptoms is separated from healthy populations to prevent any possible spread of disease.

Finally, "isolation" is used when someone who is reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease is separated from those who are not infected. Isolation may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state or local public order, according to the CDC.

WATCH: Flatten the curve: Slowing the spread of coronavirus

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