The New York City Health Department has some advice for people thinking about having sex during the coronavirus outbreak — consider taking matters into your own hands.
As the New York Post reported, the city’s health department has put out a memo with advice to people on how to stay safe in their love life and avoid contracting the virus. The guidance, sent out on Saturday, noted that the safest sex right now is none at all, given that the virus is spread through physical contact with another person, especially around the face.
“You are your safest sex partner,” noted a version of the document shared on Twitter. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”
The memo went on to say that if people want to have sex with another person, it is safest with a live-in partner. Health experts have recommended that people practice social distancing, remaining in their homes as much as possible while limiting contact with people outside their household. The memo advised city residents to stay within “a small circle of people” for sexual encounters to prevent the spread of the virus, but explicitly advised against multiple partners at the same time.
The memo also warned against online dating, which would put people in contact with strangers, but did offer other online options.
“Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you,” the memo said.
New York City has become the epicenter for the virus within the U.S., with the New York Times reporting a total of 5,683 confirmed coronavirus cases and 43 deaths, in numbers updated on Friday. State and city officials have enacted very stringent measures in order to slow the spread of the virus, including closing all non-essential businesses and banning gatherings across the state.
Most forms of sexual activity would likely be out of the question for older New Yorkers. As the New York Times noted, the state has put even stronger recommendations for people over the age of 70, who are the most vulnerable demographic. This includes cutting out nearly all forms of personal contact with others outside their homes.
“There are stronger restrictions for people who are 70 and older, have compromised immune systems or have underlying illnesses,” the report noted. “Those rules include wearing masks when in the company of others and not visiting households with multiple people.”