I ask you to take all this with a commitment to critical thinking. Compare it to other sources of information. Everything I have written below is taken directly from the CDC website (unless otherwise cited).
Locally, I find the community radio station (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, KGNU.org) to be an important and reliable news source during these times (I also looked to them during the 4-mile fire in 2010 and the 2013 flood when I was evacuated from my home).
Fundamental sources of information are: the CDC, World Health Organization, Dr. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and local public health officials.
PLEASE, know the facts as best you can, and work from there.
1. What is the Corona Virus?
Corona refers to the type of virus and the fact that, under a microscope, it has a “halo” or is surrounded by a “corona”. There are more than one type of Corona Virus. Other diseases (MERS and SARS) are also caused by a Corona Virus.
2. Why do they also call it COVID-19?
Covid19 refers to the disease caused by the Corona Virus. So, SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the actual virus. When a person becomes infected by SARS-CoV-2, they contract an illness called Covid19.
3. How is the virus spread? As far as I understand, the Corona Virus is a “droplet contagion”. This means that an infected droplet of spit or snot (mucous) has to make contact with someone else’s spit or mucous (their mouth, nose or eyes). This is why it is a useful habit to avoid touching your face in general, to wash your hands often, and to maintain 6 feet between yourself and others (droplets when coughed or sneezed tend to eventually fall to the ground in about 6 feet).
4. Tell me more about handwashing. It’s chemistry. Just know that the Corona Virus has a fat (lipid) external envelope and that the soap disrupts this envelope and breaks apart the virus: making the virus useless. It is important when washing your hand with soap and water to use enough soap to coat your hands (make them slippery!) as that more fully facilitates the chemical disruption of the virus.
Also, I just read this: hand sanitizers and wipes also disrupt the virus but not as well. If you are without soap and water – use hand sanitizer but allow it to sit on the skin for a few moments. I would still avoid touching your face until you have access to soap and water.
5. Why “social distancing”? Basically, public health officials are instructing practices that will slow the spread of the virus. Why? Because when this virus was first discovered, it was brand new, meaning no human immune system had ever met this virus. This means that no one had any immunity to this virus (vs. the flu, which has been floating around for years so most people have some immunity to the influenza virus). Because no one has immunity to the Corona virus, and the apparent ease of transmission, the greatest danger (from Public Health perspective), is that many people all at once are exposed and contract the disease, thereby causing a huge surge in health care needs. Public health officials are attempting to avoid a situation in which the need for health care far exceeds the space, equipment, medicine and/or practitioners available.