With the outbreak of the new coronavirus spreading and news of how Americans are responding changing every day, it can be hard to keep track of the latest information.
According to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, there have been at least 3,813 known cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, causing at least 69 known deaths, in the United States as of Monday morning.
Correctly washing your hands and maintaining social distance by avoiding large gatherings and close contact with people who are sick are two of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, health officials say.
Here are more tips to help protect you and your loved ones, according to the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
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Wash your hands often and correctly
Wet your hands, scrub everywhere (under those fingernails, too) with soap for at least 20 seconds, then rinse and dry well with a clean towel.
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If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer works, but the CDC and WHO both recommended the former.
Keep social distance by avoiding close contact
Stay at least 3 feet away from someone who is sick. The virus can spread through respiratory droplets, which are easy to breathe in if you are close to someone who has the COVID-19 virus and is coughing.
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If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, put distance between yourself and others. The CDC is recommending that large gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed for canceled for the next eight weeks.
Avoid touching your face, including eyes, nose and mouth
It’s easy to touch a surface that may be contaminated with the virus and then unknowingly touch your face. The virus can transfer from your hands to your nose and mouth and then enter your body and make you sick.
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Cover your cough or sneeze
Use a tissue then throw it out to cover your mouth and nose as you cough and sneeze. Wash your hands immediately after. You can also cough or sneeze into your elbow. This helps prevent respiratory droplets from spreading to those in close contact with you.
Wear a face mask if you are sick
While the CDC says people who are healthy do not need to wear a face mask, people who are sick and around others should. A face mask can help stop respiratory droplets from spreading. If you are sick and a face masks makes it hard to breathe, the CDC says that’s when a healthy person around you should wear a mask instead.
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Stay home if you’re sick
If if your illness is mild, restrict when and where you leave your home. If you need to see your doctor, call ahead. If you have other people living with you, try to stay in one room. Don’t share common household items, either.
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If you do have to leave your house for any reason, wear a face mask. Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated areas, and any non-essential travel.
Monitor your symptoms and stay home until you’re instructed by a medical professional that you can leave.