How does novel coronavirus spread? How can I minimize the risk of getting an infection or spreading infection to other people?

Novel coronavirus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets (from coughing, sneezing, or touching). The likelihood that a person will become infected with any virus after exposure is different for all viruses and is a spectrum. Novel coronavirus appears to be relatively easily spread from person to person. The CDC recommends the following best practices to help minimize the chances of spreading respiratory infections:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or cleaning wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
    • CDC does not recommend that people who have no symptoms wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • People who show symptoms of COVID-19 should wear facemasks, to help prevent spreading the disease to others. Healthcare workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (like at home or in a health care facility) should also wear facemasks.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (one tip is to wash for the duration of singing the song “Happy Birthday” twice), especially after:
    • Using the bathroom
    • Before eating
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • If you’re not near a sink with soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used. Always wash with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

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