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Biden admin says social distance, wear a mask while sheltering from nuclear bomb

The explosion and mushroom cloud resulting from the Trinity nuclear explosion. (U.S. Department of Energy/Released)
February 28, 2022

The U.S. government’s website says Americans should wear a mask and maintain six feet social distancing in the event of a nuclear explosion.

According to — a National public service campaign seeking to help Americans prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters — in the event of a nuclear explosion, Americans should “practice social distancing” and possibly “wear a mask” when taking shelter.

“Go to the basement or middle of the building. Stay away from the outer walls and roof. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who are not part of your household. If possible, wear a mask if you’re sheltering with people who are not a part of your household,” the website states. “Children under two years old, people who have trouble breathing, and those who are unable to remove masks on their own should not wear them.”

The website was last updated Feb. 25, though it’s not clear when the social distancing and masking guidance was added.

The website explains that nuclear fallout is most dangerous within the first several hours after detonation “when it is giving off the highest levels of radiation,” which is why Americans should stay inside for at least 24 hours while continuing to wear a mask and “practice social distancing.”

“Hand sanitizer does not protect against fall out,” the website warns.

“Stay inside for 24 hours unless local authorities provide other instructions. Continue to practice social distancing by wearing a mask and by keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who are not part of your household,” the website continues.

The website also recommends that people taking shelter should “try to bring items that can help protect yourself and your family from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, cleaning materials, and two masks per person.”

“Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed. Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset. Many people may already feel fear and anxiety about the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The threat of a nuclear explosion can add additional stress,” the website states.

The Ready campaign also notes that nuclear explosions can take place “with or without a few minutes warning.”

“Nuclear explosions can cause significant damage and casualties from blast, heat, and radiation but you can keep your family safe by knowing what to do and being prepared if it occurs,” the website adds.’s partner sites include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),  Inspector General, The White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and