Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
How it Spreads
COVID-19 is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Common signs of COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms are mild for 80 percent of people, but in more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, call ahead before visiting a medical facility so they can prepare. Do not go to an emergency room with mild symptoms. CDC has a factsheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.