Coronavirus Tips and Supplies Guide: What to Buy (and Avoid) for Home

Parts of the country are opening up, but there are still shortages of all sorts of odds and ends, and not knowing what you’ll actually need to get through the Covid-19 pandemic can be stressful. There’s no guarantee that states won’t tighten restrictions again, as new cases are once more on the rise, and CDC director Robert Redfield says we may see a second wave of infections later this year. If we are in a reprieve, take the opportunity to prepare yourself ahead of schedule this time.

The WIRED Gear team has talked to experts (and among ourselves) to come up with this master guide to everything you might need right now—and a few things you should avoid buying for the sake of the greater good. Need more information? Be sure to keep up with our coverage of all things Covid-19, and look out for any new information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and other reliable sources.

Updated June 2020: We updated the story with current news on the coronavirus’ spread, switched some product recommendations, and replaced links for items that are out of stock.

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General Guidelines

First thing’s first: Know when you might be sick. And that’s not always easy (or possible). Some people do not show any symptoms. Read our guide to Covid-19’s typical (and rare) symptoms, and what to do if you know you’re ill. The recommendations below are from the CDC.

  • Stay at home all the time unless you need to leave for essential items, like groceries.
  • If you are on an essential errand, wear a face mask or a cloth face covering and keep your distance from others (about 6 feet). Avoid groups of people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (into your elbow or use a tissue).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Frequently. You can use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if you’re on the go.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces (here’s our Covid-19 cleaning guide).

Food and Supplies You (Might) Need

Photograph: Daniel Grizelj/Getty Images 

Frankly, the most necessary supplies are things you should already have on hand: food, water, and a warm place to sleep. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have basic emergency supplies on hand.

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