COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China, is now spreading in certain communities in the U.S.
Some people are trying to limit their contact with crowds by spending more time at home. And as public health officials scramble to limit the spread of the virus, many Americans who have been exposed to COVID-19 have been asked to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days. Eventually, whole communities may be under similar restrictions, which is what happened in parts of Italy and China.
“We ask for people’s patience and understanding, and most importantly their cooperation,” Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a recent press briefing. “Right now, individual actions can have an important impact on how this situation plays out. You may need to take a break from your normal daily routine.”
That sort of break isn't all bad, says Emily He, a writer who lives in Cambridge, Mass., but was in China visiting family for Chinese New Year and has been unable to travel far from her mother’s apartment since Jan. 25. “Think about things you've been meaning to catch up on, and make a list,” He suggests.
But how exactly should you prepare for the possibility of a home quarantine? News reports show some Americans hoarding all manner of supplies, including mostly unnecessary ones like masks and bottled water.