Basic infectious disease principles are key to curbing the spread of any virus. Wash
your hands regularly. You can also carry a small container of an alcohol based
hand sanitizer and use when you come in contact with things that may concern
you. Wear a mask if you have a cough or sneezing. Cover coughs and
sneezes with your inner elbow, or tissues. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or
mouth with your hands. Stay home from work or school if you have a fever. Stay
away from people who have signs of a respiratory tract infection, such as runny
nose, coughing, increased temperature and/or sneezing.
The Big Story right now: Coronavirus
Unless you have been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus – which right now, typically means a traveler from Wuhan, China who actually has the virus – you’re likely to be safe. In the US, for example, only a handful of cases have been confirmed so far, although this is likely to change.
While experts don’t yet understand how the virus spreads, it is usually through droplets containing large particles that are suspended in the air for distances measuring three to six feet before dissipating. By contrast, measles or varicella (chickenpox) spread through smaller droplets over much greater distances. The coronavirus has also been found in stool of certain individuals.
So in summary, it is likely that coughs or sneezes from an infected person in immediate proximity may spread the virus. It is too early to determine any other routes of transmission.