The CDC recommends 3 things you can do to keep from getting Wuhan coronavirus, and 3 things you should not do

AP Photo/Gemunu AmarasingheA doorman distributes hand sanitizing liquid for visitors at a luxury mall in Bangkok, Thailand, January 28, 2020. The CDC says masks are not recommended for Americans — and that hand washing is much more effective.
  • The novel coronavirus has killed at least 362 people and infected more than 17,400 as of Monday.
  • The virus, which has spread around the world but is concentrated in China, has incited panic as nations work to combat its spread.
  • A US official on Sunday said Americans shouldn’t fear the virus and that the risk to the country was “low.”
  • The US Centres for Disease Control released six recommendations on coronavirus, from reminding people to wash their hands to avoiding prejudice against people of Asian descent.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The novel coronavirus – which originated in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province and has spread to 24 other countries – has reportedly killed 362 people in China and one person in the Philippines as of Monday.

At least 11 people have been infected with the virus in the US, but officials there say the risk to Americans is still “low.”

Here are three things the US Centres for Disease Control recommends you do to keep from getting Wuhan coronavirus, and three things you should not do.


The CDC recommends people stay informed by heading to its website for updates on the virus.

ReutersThe Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta.

The CDC has an entire subsection of its website dedicated to the coronavirus, which it regularly updates with new information. The section also contains helpful pages, like a frequently asked questions page, which answers questions like how the disease spreads.

“It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum,” the FAQ page says. “Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.”

You can also follow all of Business Insider’s coverage of the virus here »


It also says to avoid spreading the virus, people should follow regular measures taken to avoid the spread of any illness, like properly washing your hands.

Yu Han/Business Insider

The CDC said to prevent the coronavirus people should stick to the tried-and-true methods they would use to avoid any virus. These suggestions include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are infected.
  • If you’re sick, avoid interacting with other people.
  • Don’t go to work if you’re sick; stay home.
  • When you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that could be contaminated with germs (like your phone).
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60% alcohol or higher if you can’t get to a sink.

If you think you may have the coronavirus, call your doctor or hospital before physically going there.

Associated PressA doctor attends to a patient in an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, January 30, 2020.

“If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have travelled to China or were in close contact with someone with 2019-nCoV in the 14 days before you began to feel sick, seek medical care,” the CDC recommends. “Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.”

That way they can prepare the space for a possibly infected person.


Putting it bluntly, the CDC says people should not travel to China.

Matt Hartman/AFP/Getty ImagesA charter plane at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on January 29, 2020, with passengers evacuated from Wuhan.

The Trump administration on January 31 placed a ban on foreign nationals who had visited China within the past 14 days, with exceptions for immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents.

US citizens who have recently visited the Hubei province, where the outbreak started, must submit to a 14-day quarantine when reentering the US. A second plane was headed to Wuhan on Sunday to remove US citizens in the city, which would be the second instance of such an extraction effort, and may not be the last.

Plus, the US State Department increased its travel warning for China to a Level 4 on Sunday, recommending US citizens “do not travel” to the country because of the virus.


The CDC does not recommend wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Reuters/Bryan R. SmithA resident of Chinatown with a surgical mask in New York, January 31, 2020.

“Do not use facemasks,” the CDC said. “CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks for the general public to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV.”

Experts told Business Insider’s Holly Secon that for the average person wearing a mask is not as effective as everyday measures like hand-washing and avoiding close contact with anyone who might be infected.

“There’s little harm in it,” Eric Toner, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, said. “But it’s not likely to be very effective in preventing it.”


The agency also warned Americans not to target people of Asian descent.

Associated PressPeople wearing protective suits and military personnel inside a military complex where 56 Italians evacuated from Wuhan, China, will be kept in quarantine upon their arrival February 3, 2020, on the outskirts of Rome. A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 17,300 people and 361 deaths as of Monday, Italy has two cases reported.

“Do not show prejudice to people of Asian descent, because of fear of this new virus. Do not assume that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have 2019-nCoV,” the CDC wrote.

The spread of the virus has also led to the spread of racism and xenophobia in various venues like colleges, workplaces, and grocery stores. A worker at a Costco in Washington state refused to serve an eight-year-old boy of a mixed ethnic background a food sample over her fear he was from China, Business Insider reported.

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