Getting the facts on coronavirus

America's buzzing about the new coronavirus.

Any time a new disease pops up, people become worried and want information.

And everyone should be informed with the correct information.

So here are some things you should know.

First, the average person does not need a surgical mask.

If you're sick, masks will help protect others from catching what you have.

But, they won't entirely protect you from catching other viruses.

Healthcare workers do need a special N-95 respirator as part of their protective gear, because they'll be in much closer contact with many sick people.

"If we as healthcare providers do not have the tools we need, some of us may not feel safe going to work, and then all kinds of other things will break down," says Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Medical Center.

When the H1N1 flu first emerged in 2009, it also spread quickly.

But unlike that virus, which affected more younger, healthy people, COVID-19 is hardest on older people with weakened immune systems.

80-percent of COVID-19 cases are mild, and some health experts think many have been missed because they're so mild.

The flu remains a much bigger threat to Americans - with more than 300-thousand people admitted to hospitals this season.

Just last week, 20 more children died due to the flu.

The flu and the coronavirus both spread through droplets in the air, so washing your hands often and properly is vital.

See the how-to here.

Also, frequent cleaning of surfaces like desks & countertops, door handles, keyboards, railings and light switches helps.

Coronavirus and the flu can live on surfaces for several hours.

New York is launching a new statewide cleaning protocol.

"Many will use a bleach, which is a good protocol in the flu season anyway. So if people smell, it smells like bleach when you get on a bus or when a child goes to school, it's not bad cologne or perfume. It is bleach," says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Be sure the sources for your information are trustworthy.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been trying to delete all the rumors and half-truths, but can't keep up.

So social media can be risky.

For the latest, see the Coronavirus page on 6abc.com.
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