Scientists call these “fomites”, which are “objects or materials which are likely to carry infection”. In the lab, scientists regularly wipe down and sanitize (with a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol, a mixture of bleach and water, or a Lysol solution) high-touch zones like refrigerator handles (yes, scientists keep samples in refrigerators!), microscope handles and eyepieces, lab cabinet handles, door knobs, pipette handles, pens and pencils, buttons on lab equipment.
A scientist also would try not to touch many of these things while wearing gloves they wore while handling a sample containing an infectious agent. That is why scientists go through so many gloves! They might handle a sample containing something like the novel coronavirus with one set of gloves, but then remove these gloves to throw them away and put on a new pair before opening a refrigerator or handling a microscope. The scientist would at least wipe down anything they touched with their gloves before the next scientist worked in the space.
You can use these practices too, in public spaces, at home or anywhere in your personal life, even without wearing gloves. You see, the coronavirus can’t enter your body through the skin of your hands (as long as your skin does not have any open wounds or cuts). Your hands are actually covered with dead skin cells that the virus can’t infect! These dead skin cells are your first line of defense against contracting infections. Your hands are like built-in gloves this way!
The problem occurs when your hands are dirty, meaning they could have a virus or bacteria on them, and then you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Your eyes, nose and mouth are entry portals into your body. These sites contain living cells which viruses or bacteria can use to gain entry into your body.
In public, be aware of the “fomites” or things that other people have touched – door handles, tables and counters, PIN pads at checkout counters, public pens and pencils, coins, grocery cart handles, railings, public seating, even packaging on items at the grocery store that other people have touched.