Researchers continue to learn about emerged coronavirus
Top Stories | Mar 30, 2020:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, is continuing to spread around the world, with more than 95 countries affected so far.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example, health care workers or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Researchers are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and where it is spreading. (Pictured: A scientist points to a graphic of the coronavirus DNA sequencing at Sao Paulo’s Tropical Medicine Institute in Brazil in early March 2020.)
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but it is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 2 meters) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.
People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often 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.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others:
- 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 have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to two weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period, seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Learn more about places with ongoing spread at: