Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Pro tip: Scrub wet hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (humming the "Happy Birthday" song twice), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

  • Rinse well and dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.
  • Hand sanitizer is the next best alternative, but will not work as well especially if hands are visibly dirty.

When to wash your hands:

  • When you're near, preparing or eating food
  • After using the bathroom
  • When caring for people who have been vomiting or have diarrhea
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After touching garbage
  • After touching animals or animal waste

Why face masks aren't a good idea: Reports show public concern about the shortage of medical masks, but doctors stress masks give a false sense of security and can do more harm than good.

  • The typical face masks available online and at pharmacies are for people who are already sick. They're not fitted to the face, but they do prevent the spread of mucus.
  • Fitted masks, called N-95, prevent healthy people from getting sick because they help block 95% of microbes. When low-risk countries stockpile these, they're taking the supply away from people who have an immediate need for them.

The bottom line: COVID-19 does not have a vaccine, so wash your hands and cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Go deeper: Coronavirus full coverage

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Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 13,258,016 — Total deaths: 576,752 — Total recoveries — 7,366,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 3,416,222 — Total deaths: 136,319 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

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Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.

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Moderna's vaccine spurred immune system response to coronavirus

Moderna's stock rose 16% after hours on this news. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Healthy volunteers who took Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate appeared to generate an immune system response to the virus, and there were "no trial-limiting safety concerns," according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Why it matters: The phase one trial is still small and does not definitively determine how effective the vaccine is. But Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, which is running the trial, told the Wall Street Journal that these data make it "pretty clear that this vaccine is capable of inducing quite good [levels] of neutralizing antibodies."