Human Interest

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 26: Signs detailing the Center for Disease Control's advice for combatting Coronavirus are displayed above facemasks at a Manhattan hardware store on February 26, 2020 in New York City. Stock markets have been volatile and concern has grown as cases of the flu-like virus expand to Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.(Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Understandably, lots of Americans are concerned about the coronavirus, the virus which has infected at least 100 Americans (according to the New York Times). But how does the disease travel?

Experts say four factors likely play a role determining your odds of getting the virus from someone else, according to the Times: how close you get to an infected person; how long you are near that person; whether that person projects viral droplets on you; and how much you touch your face.

To infect you, the virus must “hitch a ride” on a droplet of mucus or saliva — most likely from a sneeze or a cough, some experts say — and enter through your eyes, nose or mouth.

The droplets travel via mucus or saliva, which usually happens via a sneeze or cough, and enter through your eyes, nose or mouth. The Center For Disease Control recommends that you stay at least six feet away from an infected person. The Journal of Hospital Infection says that the germs were able to remain on metal, glass and plastic for two hours to nine days. A person who touches that surface could pick it up. How much is required to infect a person is unclear.

Using any disinfectant on a surface is “nearly guaranteed” to break the delicate envelope that surrounds the tiny microbe, rendering it harmless, according to the Times and washing your hands before touching your face should protect you, as droplets don’t pass through skin.

But wearing masks is not effective, and people buying masks are creating a shortage, which could cause other health risks. The U.S. Surgeon General tweeted Seriously people- stop buying masks! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

 

However, Fox News reports that health officials in Washington state announced four deaths among coronavirus patients today (March 2), bringing the total number of fatalities to six. According to Fox, the virus has infected more than 89,000 people worldwide, and while the majority of cases have occurred in mainland China, at least 66 other countries have reported illnesses.

USA Today reports that the worldwide death count rose to nearly 3,100 Monday, and the number of confirmed cases increased to more than 90,000.

80,000 of those cases have been reported in mainland China, but the crisis appears to be shifting away from China, where hundreds of patients have been released from hospitals.

The World Health Organization reported that nine times as many new infections were recorded outside China as inside it over the past 24 hours.