Frequently Asked Questions

What Is COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease, and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States (CDC). Learn more here.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How Is COVID-19 Treated?

  • To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.
  • Those affected should receive care from their primary medical physician to relieve symptoms. Patients with serious illness should be hospitalized.
  • Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials.

What Can I Do to Help Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses?

  • 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.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

To learn more about COVID-19, please view the CDC’s fact sheet.