Here are some ways to prepare:
Paul Biddinger, the chief of emergency preparedness at Massachusetts General Hospital, does not recommend masks as a way to protect yourself. Biddinger said the best way to protect yourself is to follow simple hygiene practices, such as always washing your hands, covering your face when you cough and wiping down any surfaces you will eat on or use.
Experts concur, noting that commonly worn surgical masks are not effective protection, NPR reported. A heavy-duty mask, called an N95 respirator, is considerably better protection, but it is uncomfortable and can make breathing more difficult, the radio network said.
"We certainly understand why people are anxious," Paul Biddinger, a Massachusetts doctor monitoring the virus, said last month. "This is a new infection, and in the medical and public health community, I think we're understandably concerned because we don't know how this is going to play out."
People should make plans to care for their children if schools and day care centers close down, NPR reported. Messonnier also suggested people should find out if there was a way to get medical care remotely, such as through telemedicine.
Bruce Aylward, team leader for the World Health Organization’s China joint mission on COVID-19, told reporters Tuesday that isolated hospital beds, ventilators to help people breathe easier, and protective care for health care workers would be effective against the coronavirus.
"We need fast and drastic improvements in triage, treatment, cleaning and overall infection prevention," Tom Frieden, Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN.
Business leaders may consider having employees work from home, which will curtail contact between them and perhaps lessen the risk of the virus spreading through the workplace.
CDC officials have advised against nonessential travel to China and South Korea, as these countries have seen the highest numbers of coronavirus cases.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said it was inevitable the coronavirus would reach the United States.
“We have said from Day One we can’t hermetically seal off the United States. We’ve always said we expect to see more cases,” Azar told reporters. “People shouldn’t panic when they see new cases. They should know their government predicted we would have them, and we have plans in place."