Apr 25, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus Q&A: Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagious

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: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 6,530,067 — Total deaths: 386,392 — Total recoveries — 2,820,488Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 1,851,520 — Total deaths: 107,175 — Total recoveries: 479,258 — Total tested: 18,214,950Map.
  3. Tech: Telemedicine leads on coronavirus innovations.
  4. Business: Senate passes bill to ease PPP loan restrictions
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent coronavirus infections Concerns about at-home testing — WHO resumes hydroxychloroquine trial.
  6. Protests: The biggest crisis since 1968 — in the midst of a pandemic.
Updated 6 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Florida reported on Wednesday its largest number of new novel coronavirus cases in a single day since April 17. 1,317 people tested positive to take the state total to 58,764, per the state's health department. Despite the rise, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said bars and clubs could reopen on Friday.

By the numbers: More than 107,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 479,000 Americans have recovered and over 18 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus hospitalizations keep falling

Data: COVID Tracking Project, Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee and Puerto Rico have not reported hospitalizations consistently. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, particularly in New York and other northeastern states that were among the hardest hit by the virus.

Yes, but: Some states are still recording stagnant or rising amounts of hospitalizations.