Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Axios is answering readers' questions about the pandemic — how it spreads, who's at risk, and what you can do to stay safe.

What's new: This week, we answer five questions on reusing masks, keeping up with specialist doctor's appointments, being neighborly, self-quarantining and handling outside food.

Q: What are the best practices for reusing and cleaning face masks?

  • For cloth masks:
    • The CDC advises laundering the masks in a washing machine with detergent.
    • The University of Utah advises going a step further and recommends washing masks in water that's at least 160°F with soap or detergent. It also recommends soaking cloth masks for 5 minutes in a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water.
  • For N95 masks:
    • The FDA does not recommend the reuse of N95 masks by the general public. It advises that the general public use cloth masks and keep N95s available for health care professionals.

Go deeper: New coronavirus surge: Disinfecting health care worker face masks

Q: What is the best way to keep up with specialist appointments like physical therapy?

  • Surgeon General Jerome Adams advises postponing elective surgeries to avoid stressing the hospital system and possibly exposing patients to the virus.
  • The American Physical Therapy Association recommends rescheduling non-urgent in-person care. It's worth noting that many physical therapists are utilizing tele-health and video conferencing to work with their patients.
  • Communicate with your health care provider about possible alternatives and the best way to move forward.

Q: How can I be a considerate neighbor? Can I offer or accept home-cooked foods or share books?

Go deeper... Q&A: How can I best help my community while social distancing?

Q: How long should I self-isolate after testing positive?

  • The CDC published guidelines for how and when to discontinue isolation after testing positive.
    • The signs for recovery include: 3 days without fever and without the use of fever-reducing medicines, improvement of respiratory symptoms, and the passage of 7 days since the symptoms first appeared.
    • The CDC site also notes that you can request a test to confirm recovery, but they may be limited.
    • Those who tested positive for the virus but don't have symptoms should isolate for at least 7 days after their first positive diagnostic test.
  • Your doctor can provide the best guidance for your specific health concerns.

Q: Can I microwave or freeze my food to kill the virus on the packages?

  • The FDA says there's no evidence of food packaging or food itself being associated with coronavirus transmission.
  • The CDC states that coronaviruses generally "survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments," but there isn't any direct data to support a temperature-based cutoff for the virus.

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 18,224,253 — Total deaths: 692,679 — Total recoveries — 10,865,548Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 4,713,500 — Total deaths: 155,401 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.
Updated 29 mins ago - Science

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina

People walk through floodwaters on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Ocean Isle Beach in southern North Carolina at 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

What's happening: Hurricane conditions were spreading onto the coast of eastern South Carolina and southeastern N.C., the NHC said in an 11 p.m. update. Bill Saffo, mayor of Wilmington, N.C., on the coast from Ocean Isle Beach, told MSNBC as the storm hit: "We're seeing a lot of wind, a lot of power outages, a lot of tornado warnings."

Exclusive: Trump declines to praise John Lewis, citing inauguration snub

President Trump dismissed the legacy of the late Rep. John Lewis in an interview with “Axios on HBO,” saying only that Lewis made a “big mistake” by not coming to his inauguration.

The big picture: Trump's comments were a glaring contrast with the praise Republicans and Democrats showered upon Lewis this week, and a default to personal grudges during a week of mourning for a civil rights hero.