Ask Your COVID-19 Questions Here

How to minimize your risk FAQs

  • Should I purchase or wear a mask for protection from COVID-19?

    The first and most important measure you should take protect yourself and others from COVID-19 remains to stay at home and to follow social distancing guidelines. If you must leave your home: The C...
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  • Am I at risk for COVID-19 in the United States?

    This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website. Source: Centers for Disease Con...
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  • Am I at risk if I touch someone who died of COVID-19 after they have passed away?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is cu...
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  • Am I likely to get sicker if I'm exposed to multiple infected people, similar to medical professionals being exposed to multiple infected individuals?

    Symptom severity can be influenced by many different factors. For other viruses, oftentimes more exposure leads to more rapid disease and a higher likelihood of severe symptoms. Also, people who ar...
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  • Are ammonia-based wipes an effective disinfectant for COVID-19?

    Neither the American Chemistry Council nor the EPA recommend ammonia for killing COVID-19 on surfaces. Bleach is a much better option. More information can be found in the sources below: https://ww...
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  • Are people with hyper/overly active immune systems, such as those with MS, at high risk like those with weakened immune systems?

    For patients with autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, treatments often include suppressing some aspects of the immune system. This means that these individuals may be more susceptible ...
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  • Can COVID-19 be passed via currencies (dollar bills, coins, checks, etc.)?

    Yes, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) can survive on surfaces like dollar bills. How long the virus survives is dependent on the surface itself as well as environmental condi...
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  • Can my pet dog or cat catch COVID-19 and give it to me? Could the virus be on animal fur?

    Two dogs in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been no reports of pets passing the virus to their human owners, and even human-to-pet transmission is not b...
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  • Can people infected with COVID-19 spread the disease before appearing to be ill?

    Yes. US health officials have indicated that the COVID-19 virus can indeed be spread by infected individuals prior to the onset of symptoms such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Nationa...
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  • Could the coronavirus be on fruits, vegetables, produce, or other food products?

    Researchers have found that the COVID-19 virus can be viable on plastic for up to 3 days, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours. So it would not be surprising to find COVID-19 virus on, for example, ...
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  • Could the tap water I drink have coronavirus in it?

    The COVID-19 virus has not been detected indrinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should ...
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  • How can I prevent myself from getting the virus?

    To ensure the lowest chance of obtaining the virus, and spreading the virus to others, it is critical that everyone begin intensive social distancing immediately. As much as possible, limit contact...
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  • How do hand sanitizers work?

    For a virus, sanitizers work by disrupting the virus's outer coat, including the novel coronavirus. For bacteria , they work by disrupting its cell membrane. According to the CDC, hand sanitizers a...
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  • How do I prevent myself from becoming sick when taking care of someone who is already sick?

    Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. Avoid sharing personal household items, like dish...
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  • How long does the COVID-19 virus stay transmissible?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. Typically, viruses last longer on hard surfaces, like a countertop or plastic or metal playground...
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  • How should I take care of someone at home?

    Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.* Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting...
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  • If two people are suspected to be infected, can they self isolate in close proximity to each other?

    Unless it is unavoidable, two people 'suspected' of being infected should not be isolated together if they will have contact with each other or the potential to spread the disease between one anoth...
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  • Is hand sanitizer effective against the virus?

    If used properly, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is an effective way to kill the COVID-19 virus. Hand sanitizer is often faster and easier, however if you have the option, y...
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  • Is it safe to eat takeout food?

    Properly prepared cooked food is unlikely to get you sick with COVID-19. Although there could be some risk from the person-to-person interaction of picking up food or getting delivery, this might s...
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  • Is it safe to go to the grocery store?

    If you're in short supply of food and supplies, and think that going for groceries is an absolute need, you can go. But keep in mind to take appropriate precautions, wear a cloth face covering, use...
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  • Is it safe to go...to the gym...on playdates...to parties...out to the bars for drinks...to sleepovers...to friends’ or family members’ homes for meals or visits...to coffee shops...?

    Spread of the COVID-19 virus makes visiting the gym, and all social interactions, riskier. Many facilities have already shut down and more and more localities are taking steps to limit social inter...
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  • Is it safe to read my mail or the newspaper or handle packages delivered to my house?

    While the likelihood of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus from mail, newspapers, or packages is low, the CDC says it's a good idea to wipe them down with a disinfecting cloth that contains ...
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  • Is this virus really more dangerous for older people / the elderly / seniors? Why?

    One of the main reasons that this virus (as well as many others) is especially dangerous to older individuals is that our immune system becomes less effective as we age. This process is called immu...
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  • Q: Will vodka or other hard alcohols work as disinfectants against the coronavirus? What about vinegar?

    Vodka, or other hard alcohols, are not recommended for disinfecting surfaces. Furthermore, there is no evidence that vinegar is effective against coronavirus. It would be best to use diluted bleach...
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  • Should I wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    Yes. Up to 25 percent of people infected with the novel coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms, and could be able to spread COVID-19 to others by breathing or talking. Furthermore, those who are infe...
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  • What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?

    A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a dece...
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  • What is the best way to use hand sanitizer?

    The best technique is to apply about a dime-sized amount, and then carefully and thoroughly rub it over the palms and the back of the hands and let it dry completely. Hand sanitizer is a good way t...
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  • What is the survivability of the COVID-19 virus outside the human body?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. The World Health Organization's early estimates suggest that COVID-19 virus can survive on hard s...
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  • What should I do if an outbreak occurs near me?

    Just like people should prepare for hurricanes, people should be prepared in case of a pandemic. People should have a two-week supply of food, water, and necessary prescription and non-prescription...
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  • What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

    If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep ...
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  • When should I wash my hands?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for when people should wash their hands, such as: Before, during, and after preparing food. Before eating food. Before and after carin...
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  • Why do viruses survive outside the human body?

    Viruses survive outside our bodies because of how they are built. Specifically, they are pieces of genetic material (RNA or DNA) contained in a special coating of proteins called capsids. Viruses c...
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  • Why is washing hands with soap and water so important?

    Soap destroys germs by wedging into them and essentially pulling them apart. The coronavirus can be thought of as a grease ball. Soap is a bit like a magnet: One part of soap molecules is attracted...
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