Should you avoid shaking hands or flying? UC Berkeley doctor discusses coronavirus' risk of transmission

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Recent news about the novel coronavirus raises many questions about the virus' transmissibility and what you should or shouldn't do.

Dr. Arthur Reingold, a UC Berkeley epidemiologist at the School of Public Health, said he is still taking mass transit and plans to fly.

"We in the U.S. think if I go somewhere else it might increase my chances of getting infected during travel or once I get there," Reingold said. "People in other countries look at the U.S. the same way. People might be averse to coming to San Francisco or Seattle because we have the coronavirus, so it's a two-way street. My risk of going to London might not be any greater than my risk of staying here. "

Little is known about the transmissibility of COVID-19.

Reingold pointed to a new report by the World Health Organization.

"You know there are some reports in China that the overwhelming number of transmission events occurred in the household rather than in the buses and shops and streets and whatever," he said. "You know that's a little reassuring as far as risk of acquiring this through transit or out in a public setting. "

Reingold thinks the risk is minimal when it comes to money changing hands but does think it may be prudent to avoid shaking hands and even hugging people.

He says as more people are tested we will certainly see the number of cases going up this coming week.

He says your best defense is to still wash your hands well.

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