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

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

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 Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."