It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
How COVID-19 Spreads. More posters/infographics available at the WHO-WP website
Source: WHO Western Pacific Region
NEW!! Videos - Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?
Coronavirus disease 2019, formerly called “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV” disease, is a contagious respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020; meaning the disease is active over a wide geographic area and "generally affecting a significant proportion of the world’s population".
It is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus,
It's called "novel" because the virus had not been previously identified.
The virus that causes COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Early patients were linked to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan; more recent infections have been attributed to person-to-person transmission.
The World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease on February 11, 2020. It's abbreviated as COVID-19 (‘CO’ for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.
There are other coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans (e.g. 229E, HKU1). They can cause mild illness, like the common cold, or more serious illnesses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The COVID-19 virus is NOT the same as the others.
Spread of COVID-19
"COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States"(Centers for Disease Control)
Coronaviruses are typically transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets and close contact. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
In the U.S., COVID-19 cases include:
Imported cases in travelers;
Cases among close contacts of an infected person;
Community-acquired cases where the source of the infection is unknown. This is referred to as "community spread".
Race or ethnic background do not make a person more likely to get or spread COVID-19.
Symptoms and Prevention
People with COVID-19 will have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The symptoms may not show for up to 14 days.
At this time, older people and people with severe chronic conditions, including respiratory disease, are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
Washing hands often (at least once an hour) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you exhibit symptoms and think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call ahead before visiting a health-care provider. This will help them take steps to prevent passing the infection to other people.