PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) – Since coronavirus cases around the globe began getting tracked — there have been more than 113,000 confirmed cases and just over 4,000 deaths. Now that large events around the world are getting cancelled — many are left wondering, how worried should I be?

Fear of the unknown is common.

While COVID-19 can cause death, experts still don’t know why and as they work hard to uncover that answer, Stanford infectious disease expert, Yvonne Maldonado says the best thing you can do is turn your fear into preventative actions, like washing your hands.

“It sounds too simple to be true, but those really do help. Seriously it’s amazing how much hand washing can reduce your risk of developing diseases,” Maldonado said.

Stanford infectious disease expert Yvonne Maldonado says they’ve been tracking COVID-19 since mid December.

“We’re getting a better sense now of what this virus can and can’t do. It doesn’t seem to be as transmissible as we thought before,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado says we now know a person with the virus, can infect about 2-3 people, which means its growth is exponential.

Maldonado explains how the disease can multiply, “If someone is infected they can infect two people and then those people can infect two people, so it can grow really rapidly.”

That’s why limiting large events like many Bay Area cities have decided to do is the right move
Maldonado says data from China is also leading experts to believe our older populations are truly most at risk.

Maldonado adds, “I think if you’re a younger person in general who is healthy, then I’m not as worried about that person. However, if I were a older, if I had underlying health conditions, I would be more concerned about being in areas where there’s a lot of crowds.”

Maldonado says we know there are riskier diseases out there like the flu —

And the best thing healthy adults can do is wash your hands, and stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing.

“I think what’s scary to people is this is new, and there’s no treatment or prevention, but we can take preventative measures to stay away from this disease and most of us are gonna be healthy afterward and not get severe symptoms,” Maldonado said.

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