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What is coronavirus: Everything you need to know (UPDATED)

How can you stay safe amid the coronavirus crisis? All your burning questions answered.

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By Lisa Tolin

We gathered some of your most frequently asked questions, and we are updating this article regularly with new information.

With the number of coronavirus cases climbing in the U.S. and around the world, fear may be spreading faster than the virus itself.

We've gathered everything you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in one place. Find all the latest news and developments about coronavirus at the NBC News coronavirus live blog.

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

What is coronavirus?

The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus discovered in China. There's no evidence that it is airborne or transmitted through food. Here's more about COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres explained that roughly half of people who have coronavirus show symptoms in about five days. By 12 days, nearly everyone infected will show symptoms.

Symptoms of coronavirus include cough, sore throat and fever. Here's more information on when to contact your doctor and whether coronavirus is worse than the flu.

Symptoms may also include the loss of smell or taste and in rare cases, pink eye. COVID-19 seems to be hitting men harder than women.

Can you get coronavirus twice?

NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres answered this one on TODAY: "It doesn't look like it," he said. "It looks like once you get it, your body develops immunity to it and you get antibodies and you can't get it again. We don't know how long that protection lasts, though. Maybe a year or longer."

Who has coronavirus?

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were among the first celebrities who tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, public figures including Prince Charles, Bravo's Andy Cohen, basketball player Kevin Durant and "Bachelor" Colton Underwood have tested positive. Harvey Weinstein tested positive for the virus in prison. The playwright Terrence McNally and chef Floyd Cardoz died after contracting COVID-19.

What should I buy?

It doesn't hurt to stock up on pantry staples, fill your prescriptions and buy extra diapers, for starters. Here are 10 ways to prepare and a grocery list.

How can I safely shop for groceries?

Experts share tips for safe grocery shopping in the coronavirus pandemic.

Is it safe to order food during the coronavirus crisis?

There is no evidence the virus can be transmitted through food, but there are ways to stay safe if you're ordering takeout.

How can I help those affected by the crisis?

Consider donating to a number of charities that are helping. You can support local businesses by buying gift cards or ordering online, and pay people whose services you're unable to use during this time, like a housekeeper or hairdresser. Here are a few ways to help health care workers.

What does the COVID-19 test feel like?

The swab test is quick but can be "moderately uncomfortable," doctors say.

How does telemedicine work?

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor or use telemedicine before leaving the house.

Is it allergies or COVID-19?

Here's how to differentiate the symptoms of spring allergies from symptoms of coronavirus. The telltale signs are fever and shortness of breath.

How can I homeschool during coronavirus shutdowns?

Parents who are working from home have it especially hard, but here are free resources that can help. Don't expect perfection, teachers say.

How can I care for a loved one with coronavirus?

Most people infected with COVID-19 will be asked to recover at home. Here's how to stay healthy while caring for someone with the infection.

How can I cope with coronavirus anxiety?

Anxiety can actually make it more likely for you to become ill. Here are some tips for mental health and how to help anxious kids. Experts also shared practical tips for avoiding going stir crazy. You might consider stress baking and other activities to fill the time.

Will warmer weather stop the spread of coronavirus?

Torres said experts are crossing their fingers that will happen, but it's still too early to tell.

"A this stage since it's so novel, it hasn't gotten through a season, so we can't tell," Torres explained.

Can drinking water fight the virus?

No. It's among the myths about coronavirus that have been spreading that experts call "ignorant at best."

Can ibuprofen make coronavirus worse?

That's a theory put forward by the French health minister, but it's unproven. If you're concerned, use acetaminophen.

How does coronavirus affect pregnant women?

Experts simply don't know very much about how coronavirus may impact pregnant women, but here's what they do know. Some partners may be kept out of delivery rooms.

What happens if a mom is diagnosed with COVID-19 before giving birth?

In these situations, the highest priority is to “make sure the baby doesn’t have it and make sure the mother recovers from it,” Torres explained.

How does coronavirus affect children?

Coronavirus seems to be sparing children, and experts do not understand why.

How do I wash hands to kill coronavirus?

Soap and water may be the best protection you've got. Here's how to wash your hands to protect against coronavirus, and these are the best hand sanitizers to buy. Any soap that gets a good lather will work.

How do I make hand sanitizer?

Experts say making your own hand sanitizer may not be wise.

How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

It depends on the surface, but here's more information and how to clean everything.

Does coronavirus live on clothes?

Here's how to keep your wardrobe clean and disinfected.

Can coronavirus live on hair?

Though it's not a primary area of concern, the best protection is to wash your hair.

How can I clean my home to protect against coronavirus?

Here's how to clean surfaces to kill coronavirus. Don't forget to clean your phone!

How do I stop touching my face?

One study found people touch their faces as often as 23 times an hour. Here's how to stop.

Should I wear gloves to prevent coronavirus?

Doctors warn that disposable gloves are not a solution to stopping the spread of the virus.

Should I wear a face mask?

No. There is no recommendation to wear a face mask and buying them could take them away from public health workers who do need masks.

What if I'm over 60?

Dr. Oz shared specific advice for people over 60. Scientists are not sure why older people are at greater risk.

If I think I have coronavirus, what should I do?

First, don't panic. Start by calling your doctor.

How do you treat coronavirus?

There is not yet any antiviral medication or vaccine to stop coronavirus. Patients receive supportive care to breathe easier and help their bodies fight the disease.

What can I do about travel plans?

Here are all of your coronavirus travel questions answered. Plus, check out this list of U.S. airlines' cancellation and fee waiver policies and cruise cancellation policies.

How can I protect myself while traveling?

If you need to travel, there are steps you can take to avoid infection. Some airlines are changing how they clean planes.

How can I protect my family from coronavirus?

Here's what parents need to know about coronavirus and kids.

What is social distancing?

"Social distancing" is the new normal. Here's what you need to know about quarantine.

How can I stay connected while social distancing?

Hangouts, happy hour and dinner parties are all still possible from the comfort of home. The author of "How to Be Alone" shared more tips with TODAY.

Is it safe to go to the gym?

It's important to follow local guidance on going to the gym as the rules change.

Is it safe to go for a walk or a run outside?

Two experts said that exercising outside should be safe, as long as appropriate social distancing methods are maintained.

Is it safe to go to restaurants?

As restaurants shut down, experts explain the relative risks.

Which states have closed restaurants and bars?

As restaurants and bars close across the country due to the coronavirus, here's what you need to know about staying safe and supporting local business.

Can you get coronavirus by opening your mail?

Some USPS employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The new coronavirus could be detected for up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, a recent study found. Researchers didn’t examine how long the bug stayed active on paper. Read more here. Cardboard boxes have been another area of concern; experts suggest leaving packages outside for 24 hours if possible.

Can "silver solution" cure coronavirus?

No. It's among the COVID-19 scams officials are warning about. The FDA warns that silver solution, or colloidal silver, cannot cure anything and may even damage your health. Televangelist Jim Bakker was among those warned not to sell the solution.

What can working parents do when schools close?

School closures threaten to upend daily life, and it will be especially hard for people without paid leave.

What should I tell my kids about coronavirus?

Calm their fears and use it as an opportunity to build media literacy skills.

Can dogs and cats get coronavirus?

There is no evidence that dogs and cats can be infected by COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Does the U.S. have the facilities to treat people with coronavirus?

"The biggest concern is the ventilators we have out here," explained Torres. "It is a respiratory virus, so if people get to the stage where they need ventilator support because they're not breathing very well — a recent study a few years ago said there are only 62,000 ventilators in this country."

That may not be enough if hundreds of thousands of people become ill, though Torres noted companies may begin to produce more ventilators if it looks like that may happen.

What does a shelter-in-place order really mean?

"Shelter-in-place (order) is not something that's used very often," said Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security senior scholar Crystal Watson, who works on public health preparedness. Here's more about what the order might mean.

Who will get a stimulus check?

The direct payments to many Americans will be means tested based on their income. Find out if you are eligible and when they will arrive.

How do I file for unemployment?

Here's how to file for unemployment and more information on assistance to those who have lost work.

Should I file my taxes now or wait for the extended deadline?

Worried about your taxes, bank account or 401(k)? Here's what you need to know about that and other financial questions.

Will the Olympics be canceled?

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed until at the latest, summer of 2021, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced.