And with the onset of winter, health experts say it will get worse as more people gather indoors to avoid the cold weather.
How else can you protect yourself and those you love? Here’s a refresh of the basics.
Wear a mask properly
N95 masks offer the best protection, but they are in short supply, and the CDC is asking people not to go out and buy them because they are urgently needed by healthcare professionals.
Washable fabric breathable masks will work, but they should have at least two coats – three are better – and you can add a filter for more protection.
The masks should cover both your nose and mouth and fit snugly, without gaps.
Wash your hands
Make a good lather and rub your hands, fingers and nails for at least 20 seconds. Use clean, running water to rinse thoroughly, then wipe dry.
Washing for at least 20 seconds has been shown to remove more germs than washing for shorter periods. Singing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing can work as a “timer”.
use hand sanitizer
It is important that both hands are completely covered, including between the fingers and under the nails. Rub your hands until dry. Use it generously if your hands are greasy or really dirty, as the disinfectant may not be as effective in this case, according to the CDC.
Reduce the risk
The best thing you can do is stay home, if possible, and reduce the risk by reducing orders and trips to the store.
The safest place outside your home is outdoors. But even there, you need to keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with.
You can also reduce the risk by exporting food instead of dining in restaurants and avoiding public transport if possible.
Going to bars and nightclubs is considered one of the most risky things you can do.
As coronavirus infections spread across the country, the coming winter will only make things worse as people spend more time indoors.
And there is always the possibility of having to quarantine if you come in contact with someone who has the virus.
Public health officials advise that you have two weeks of food on hand. Storage of the closet will also reduce your trips to the grocery store.
Make sure you have enough cleaning and disinfecting supplies and that your medicine cabinet is equipped with cough drops and syrup for cough symptoms, decongestants for congestion, acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain and fever, and antidiarrheals. Store self-adhesive wound dressings.
If you are taking prescription drugs, make sure you have enough on hand.
Check for symptoms and get tested
But there is also diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, loss of smell and taste, body aches, mental confusion and even delirium.
If you have been exposed to a coronavirus, symptoms are likely to appear within a week, health experts say. That is, if you will have them at all – which some people do not have. Any or all symptoms can occur between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unless you have serious symptoms, avoid emergency rooms that are crowded in many places. Call your doctor and follow her or his instructions.
In this case, call 911 or call the emergency department near you in advance, the CDC advises.
Do not emphasize disinfection of packaging
The same goes for washing fruits and vegetables, according to the FDA. Just rinse them in plain water.
We now know that the main mode of transmission of the virus is through the air, through respiratory droplets or aerosols from an infected person. However, it is important to disinfect surfaces and wash your hands after being outside or touching objects outside your home.
Maggie Fox, Holly Ian, Sandy Lamot, AJ Willingham, Kristen Rodgers, Scotty Andrew and Alicia Lee contributed to this report.