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 four questions on vulnerability for those with asthma, traveling across state lines, being contagious, safely washing dishes and alternatives to Lysol and Clorox.

Q: Is it safe for me to travel across state lines right now? I'm thinking about visiting some family.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't issue any travel advisories but cautions every state has confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
  • The CDC recommends:
    • Older people or those with pre-existing conditions avoid cruise and nonessential air travel.
    • Travelers consider the level of infection where you are traveling from and to. You could possibly be infected and not know it.

Q: Is it better to wash dishes by hand or in a dishwasher to effectively kill the virus?

  • How you wash your dishes doesn't really matter as long as you use soap and hot water, the CDC states. But if you wash dishes by hand, wearing gloves is recommended.

Q: We've been able to get some toilet paper, but not hand sanitizer, Lysol or Clorox wipes. Any idea when they might become available?

  • It's not clear when manufacturers will be able to get the products to stores, so they can restock shelves and keep up with demand, but there are some alternatives.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has an extensive list of products approved to disinfect surfaces (not humans) against the coronavirus.
  • You can make your own disinfectant spray or wipes, the CDC says. Mix 5 tablespoons of unexpired household bleach per gallon of water.
  • As for hand sanitizer, experts do not recommend making hand sanitizer.

Q: Could COVID-19 impact me more if I've got asthma?

Q: How soon do I become contagious after getting infected?

  • First, if you come into contact with someone who has the virus or are experiencing symptoms yourself, reach out to your doctor.
  • How quickly someone becomes contagious after getting infected is not clear. Symptoms can take several days to pop up. Symptoms typically appear within four or five days after exposure, Harvard Health writes.
  • Harvard does say they believe people are at their most contagious early in the course of their illness, but they could still be contagious for up to eight days after they are feeling better.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,624,316 — Total deaths: 749,421— Total recoveries: 12,831,800Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,197,147 — Total deaths: 166,027 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: U.S. records deadliest coronavirus day of the summer — America's two-sided COVID-19 response
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Top Fed official: Short, sharp coronavirus lockdown will enable recovery

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank president Neel Kashkari in New York City last October. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

A top Federal Reserve official told CBS Sunday that a "really hard" four- to six-week lockdown could benefit the U.S. economy as Congress "has the resources to support those who are most hurting" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Details: Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank president Neel Kashkari said a short lockdown "could get the case count down so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it the way that it's happening in the Northeast right now."

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are now 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days with no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 749,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and over 20.6 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.