This newest coronavirus, COVID-19, has been making headlines nonstop ever since it arrived in the United States.
In an Associated Press report released Thursday, the U.N. health agency urged all countries to “push this virus back,” a call to action reinforced by dramatic surges in new cases. The virus has infected 98,000 people and killed more than 3,300 globally — even though in the U.S., those numbers are much smaller.
At last check, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus was at 12, with all but one of the victims in Washington state, and the number of infections swelled to just more than 200, scattered across 18 states, the AP said.
There’s a lot to know about how to protect yourself from the coronavirus, but one of the most important things to be aware of is how it spreads.
This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but it’s now spreading from person to person, health officials said.
“It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote on its website.
The CDC recommends keeping infected and possibly infected people quarantined so that the virus can’t spread anymore.
On the bright side, the CDC said, “There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”
The organization does recommend washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, as well as after you go to the bathroom.
The CDC said the best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to steer clear from people who may have been affected, as well as refraining from touching your eyes, face, nose and mouth.
If you are feeling sick and you’re having flu-like symptoms, the CDC suggests covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough and staying home from work or school so you don’t spread your illness to anyone else.
It may seem overwhelming to think about the spread of this potentially deadly virus, but just being aware of your surroundings and keeping things clean will help put your mind at ease. They’re seemingly little things, but they could make a lot of difference.
Learn more: CDC FAQ page