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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

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

UN Security Council meeting on Israel-Gaza as fighting enters 7th day

Smoke billows from a fire following Israeli airstrikes on multiple targets in Gaza on May 16. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council was preparing to meet Sunday, as the aerial bombardment between Israel and Hamas between entered a seventh day.

The latest: Four Palestinians died in airstrikes early Sunday, as Israeli forces bombed the home of Gaza's Hamas chief, Yehya al-Sinwar, per Reuters.

7 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

Updated 15 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.