CHICAGO (CBS) – Health officials are stressing the risk of contracting coronavirus remains low here, but the public needs to plan and prepare.

What does that mean? CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole went to an expert, Dr. Kiran Joshi, of the Cook County Department of Health, for some answers.

Right now, it’s totally safe to go about your public activities, like riding the L, because the threat level is low. People must practice good hygiene like coughing into your sleeve and washing your hands frequently, Joshi said

“The most important thing to know is you are more likely to get sick from influenza, garden variety influenza, than the coronavirus,” Joshi said.

CBS 2 posed a series of questions to Joshi:

Q: Can I get on a plane?

A: Yes

Q: Should I be concerned about mass transportation?

A: No

Q: Can I attend the theater, a convention or a sporting event?

A: Please do. The risk to the general public is low and there has been no community transmission that we are aware of in the United States.

Q: How long can coronavirus last on a surface?

A: It’s actually unclear. The influenza virus can persist for 48 hours.

Q: What should I use to clean a surface?

A:  You should use what you normally use, which is a bit of soap.

Q: Hand sanitizers, using them often, that’s a good thing?

A: Yes absolutely, we’d encourage it.

Q: When do I know if I need to wear a mask?

A:  Because the risk to the general public is low now and there isn’t community transmission, we are not recommending folks walk around and wear masks.  Enjoy your life and go about your daily business.

All of this makes sense now, but things can change. So for the best information be sure to check in with reputable sources, like the web sites for Centers For Disease Control and the Illinois Department Of Health.

 

Vince Gerasole