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Medical expert on coronavirus: Don't panic, 'prepare for the worst right now'

Brian Sozzi

Your best chance to avoid getting the coronavirus — or mitigating its effects if contracted — is to start preparing now. With the deadly disease rapidly spreading worldwide, including the potential first round of cases in the U.S. (California), there is no time to waste, health experts say.

“You always have to hope for the best, but you absolutely have to prepare for the worst,” said Dr. Anand Parekh of the Bipartisan Policy Center on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Parekh served as U.S. Department of Health & Human Services deputy assistant secretary for health from 2008 to 2015.

“I think the critical thing here for the American people is not to panic, but to be prepared,” Parekh added.

‘Microbes know no borders’

The number of coronavirus infections and deaths continued to rise worldwide on Friday, putting immense pressure on the stock market for the sixth straight session. There are now 62 coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Italy’s number of those affected has jumped to 821. Iran stands at 388 confirmed coronavirus cases.

In total, the coronavirus has killed in excess of 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 around the world.

Coronavirus around the world. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Parekh said we may be at the point where the coronavirus is unable to be contained. “Microbes know no borders.”

One thing Parekh believes people should not be doing as part of their prep is rushing to stock up on surgical masks.

“You should not be walking around with face masks. The individuals who need face masks are those who are infected, health care workers or those potentially that have been exposed. But if you are a healthy American, you do not need to be walking around with a face mask.”

A man wears a protective mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus in the metro in Mexico City, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Mexico's assistant health secretary announced Friday that the country now has confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Health experts Yahoo Finance has talked with recommend loading up on hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes and other disinfectants to help combat the coronavirus. I

t would appear consumers are doing just that — shares of bleach maker Clorox and tissue maker Kimberly-Clark have touched record highs amidst the rout in the broader stock market.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET or on Verizon FIOS channel 604. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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