The novel coronavirus is likely to spread within contained environments and jumps between individuals who are in close contact. It likely also spreads through droplets of mucus and saliva which can land on others or surfaces after coughing or sneezing. The virus does not currently appear to be airborne, however, so the virus usually only spreads within close contact of another person or by touching an infected area.
It is possible for the virus to linger for several days on surfaces such as stainless steel or plastic, so good hygiene and frequent cleaning and washing of hands are extremely important.
It is estimated that each person who becomes infected with COVID-19 will spread it to 1-3 other people.
The virus can also be spread and contracted without signs of illness. This is one reason it is important to take precautions even if it seems yourself and others are not ill.
Ways to Protect Yourself and Others
Practice Social Distancing
The goal of social distancing is to prevent sick individuals from coming into contact with those who are ill.
This is why many events, gatherings, and schools are beginning to close down. The idea is to contain the spread before it gets out of control, and social distancing is proven to help with this.
It also helps reduce the burden on the healthcare system. If individuals practice social distancing, spend more time at home, and cut back on gatherings, the spread of the virus will slow.
The CDC describes social distancing as, “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”