Any rapidly developing new story can be hard to keep track of, but Coronavirus’ global spread provides a particular challenge for those trying to separate fact from fiction. With accusations of censorship, changing statistics, daily updates to policies, social media posts, and a global environment of fear, there’s a lot of false claims floating around out there.
The following facts are confirmed by the CDC and the WHO, so you know that they’re the most up-to-date information out there:
In the U.S., all people who have recently travelled from China are being directed to major airports and screened by health workers. Those who might have been exposed are quarantined for the duration of the incubation period to ensure they aren’t sick. It is absolutely safe to eat at Chinese restaurants, and to serve clients from China at your establishment.
Unless you’ve recently travelled to China or been in contact with someone who has the Coronavirus, your upper respiratory infection is likely something else - like a cold or the flu. See a doctor if you need to, and they’ll tell you whether you should be tested.
There has been a run on surgical masks leading to short supply, including in the U.S. Masks are a good idea - if you’re the one sick, or if you’re caring for a sick person. If you’re healthy, masks don’t tend to do anything -- and they can lead to complacency around the one thing that definitely does help: washing your hands!
Handwashing remains the first, best, and sometimes only defense against something like the coronavirus… and the flu, noro, Hep A, the common cold, and sticky stuff.