The Coronavirus: How to Stay Safe

The Coronavirus: How to Stay Safe

As China’s epidemic continues to spread, things may seem scary. Here are 10 simple precautions that can protect you from contracting the coronavirus.

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Award-winning journalist Laurie Garrett shares her best tips for staying safe in the midst of an epidemic in this level-headed, informative Foreign Policy article. Garrett has been on the scene of more than 30 outbreaks. She willingly traveled to Hong Kong and China during the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, spending time in rooms with doctors, nurses and patients to get news from ground zero out to the rest of the world. She never contracted the diseases she reported about. Her advice is clear, concise and easy to follow and will be valuable as the coronavirus is spreading – and during flu seasons in years to come.


To protect yourself against coronavirus, wear gloves while in public spaces. Change them daily.

The gloves don’t have to be latex – cold weather gloves or mittens should suffice. Don’t take them off as long as you’re in public spaces. Keep enough pairs of gloves in rotation so you can wear a clean, dry pair each day. [Editor’s note: The virus that causes coronavirus disease, COVID-19, and the 2019-20 coronavirus outbreak is officially referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2.]

If you must remove your gloves, do not touch your face.

Some occasions call for bare hands. If you can’t wear your gloves, avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands.

As soon as you can, put your gloves back on – but only after you’ve washed thoroughly between your fingers and all over your hands with warm water and soap.

Instead of relying on a mask, avoid crowds and keep...

About the Author

Laurie Garrett formerly served as a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for her coverage of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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