Do you have COVID-19 questions? Our scientists have answers.

How to minimize your risk

  1. When should I wash my hands?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for when people should wash their hands, such as: Before,...

  2. Should I wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    Yes. Up to 25 percent of people infected with the novel coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms, and could be...

  3. Is this virus really more dangerous for older people / the elderly / seniors? Why?

    One of the main reasons that this virus (as well as many others) is especially dangerous to older individuals...

  4. Am I likely to get sicker if I'm exposed to multiple infected people, similar to medical professionals being exposed to multiple infected individuals?

    Symptom severity can be influenced by many different factors. For other viruses, oftentimes more exposure leads to more rapid...

  5. Can my pet dog or cat catch COVID-19 and give it to me? Could the virus be on animal fur?

    To be safe, you and pets in your household should remain physically distant from those outside your household, and...

  6. Is it safe to eat takeout food?

    Properly prepared cooked food is unlikely to get you sick with COVID-19. Although there could be some risk from...

  7. Are ammonia-based wipes an effective disinfectant for COVID-19?

    Neither the American Chemistry Council nor the EPA recommend ammonia for killing COVID-19 on surfaces. Bleach is a much...

  8. Is it safe to go to the grocery store?

    If you're in short supply of food and supplies, and think that going for groceries is an absolute need,...

  9. Could the coronavirus be on fruits, vegetables, produce, or other food products?

    Researchers have found that the COVID-19 virus can be viable on plastic for up to 3 days, and on...

  10. Is it safe to read my mail or the newspaper or handle packages delivered to my house?

    While the likelihood of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus from mail, newspapers, or packages is low, the CDC...

  11. Why is washing hands with soap and water so important?

    Soap destroys germs by wedging into them and essentially pulling them apart. The coronavirus can be thought of as...

  12. Is it safe to go...to the gym...on playdates...to parties...out to the bars for drinks...to sleepovers...to friends’ or family members’ homes for meals or visits...to coffee shops...?

    Spread of the COVID-19 virus makes visiting the gym, and all social interactions, riskier. Many facilities have already shut...

  13. Could the tap water I drink have coronavirus in it?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in treated drinking water. Water treatment plants use filters and...

  14. Q: Will vodka or other hard alcohols work as disinfectants against the coronavirus? What about vinegar?

    Vodka, or other hard alcohols, are not recommended for disinfecting surfaces. Furthermore, there is no evidence that vinegar is...

  15. If two people are suspected to be infected, can they self isolate in close proximity to each other?

    Unless it is unavoidable, two people 'suspected' of being infected should not be isolated together if they will have...

  16. Can COVID-19 be passed via currencies (dollar bills, coins, checks, etc.)?

    Yes, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) can survive on surfaces like dollar bills. How long the...

  17. Are people with hyper/overly active immune systems, such as those with MS, at high risk like those with weakened immune systems?

    For patients with autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, treatments often include suppressing some aspects of the immune system....

  18. How can I prevent myself from getting the virus?

    COVID-19 spreads when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. Small droplets drift in the air...

  19. What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

    If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take...

  20. How long does the COVID-19 virus stay transmissible?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. Typically,...

  21. What should I do if an outbreak occurs near me?

    Just like people should prepare for hurricanes, people should be prepared in case of a pandemic. People should have...

  22. What is the survivability of the COVID-19 virus outside the human body?

    Currently, experts do not know exactly how long the virus can stay infectious because it is so new. The...

  23. Can people infected with COVID-19 spread the disease before appearing to be ill?

    Yes. Everyone should wear face coverings because around 40 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not show symptoms,...

  24. How do hand sanitizers work?

    For a virus, sanitizers work by disrupting the virus’s outer coat, including the novel coronavirus. For bacteria , they...

  25. What is the best way to use hand sanitizer?

    The best technique is to apply about a dime-sized amount, and then carefully and thoroughly rub it over the...

  26. Is hand sanitizer effective against the virus?

    If used properly, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is an effective way to kill the COVID-19...

  27. Why do viruses survive outside the human body?

    Viruses survive outside our bodies because of how they are built. Specifically, they are pieces of genetic material (RNA...

  28. How should personal protective equipment like disposable masks or nitrile gloves be discarded in non-clinical settings, where an individuals’ infection status is unknown?

    There is not much detailed guidance on PPE disposal in non-clinical settings. It is believed to be safe to...

  29. How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically...