What is novel coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), commonly known as a coronavirus, is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from a coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time. For additional information, visit the CDC website.
What are the symptoms?
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
How does it spread?
Coronavirus disease 2019 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. Symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization.
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:
- The air by coughing and sneezing.
- Close personal contact, such as touching and shaking hands.
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
- In rare cases, contact with feces.