What I learned reporting on the coronavirus epidemic in China that could help you

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use disinfectant wipes or sanitizer and then let your hands dry.
  • Keep your distance: Stay at least 1 meter, or  3 feet, from other people. Two meters if you can swing it.
  • Don’t touch your face.

Eunice Yoon is CNBC’s Beijing Bureau Chief. She’s been covering the coronavirus epidemic in China since the beginning of the outbreak.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. 

That said, I’ve picked up a few things while covering the coronavirus epidemic in China that might help as people in the U.S. and Europe begin to cope with outbreaks now spreading in their home countries. 

First, try not to panic. The good news is that we all know a lot more about COVID-19 than when it first emerged. That is to your advantage. 

  • Wash your hands: Wash for at least 20 seconds or use disinfectant wipes or sanitizer and then let your hands dry.
  • Keep your distance: Stay at least 1 meter, or  3 feet, from other people. Two meters if you can swing it.
  • Don’t touch your face.

You’ve probably heard the personal hygiene advice a lot by now, but this will likely be your best protection — it certainly has been mine. In China, the health authorities maintain the main way COVID-19 spreads is through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

They say the virus has been detected in feces and, in close quarters, aerosol transmission has been suspected. However, the most common way to get it is through droplets from infected people. So keeping your hands clean, not rubbing your eyes and standing arm’s-length away from the next person will go a long, long way. 

In China, masks are highly recommended. In other words, they are essentially required and enforced by authorities.  The U.S. only recommends them for people who suspect they are sick. 

There are specific reasons why China essentially requires everyone to wear a mask. China is a big country with large parts still developing, and public health education is lacking.  So the government mandated people in the most affected areas to wear masks — and strongly advised the same for the rest of the population.  

People here are used to government orders in a way that many in Western societies are not. In addition, in the early days, little was known about the virus.

If I were living outside of China, I would wear a mask depending on my lifestyle.  If you drive your own car and shop at stores that don’t get too crowded — and you’re not sick — you don’t really need a mask.  However, if you’re crammed on a train in Manhattan, you might want to consider wearing one.  

Chinese health officials found that coronavirus patients may be contagious without showing any symptoms for up to 14 days — in some rare cases even longer. World Health Organization officials told reporters last week that new data shows there aren’t as many asymptomatic cases as they originally thought. The fact is there’s still a lot they don’t know about the virus.

I have heard the argument that masks can be flawed as protection since they usually aren’t a perfect seal.  However, I don’t see the harm in wearing one in cases where crowds cannot be avoided. 

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/09/what-i-learned-reporting-on-the-coronavirus-epidemic-in-china-that-could-help-you.html

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