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About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 10/12/2020

What is novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Source: CDC Frequently Asked Questions - What is novel coronavirus?

Why is it called coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19?

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, "CO" stands for "corona," "VI" for "virus," and "D" for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV".

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Source: CDC Frequently Asked Questions - Why is it called coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19?

How does the virus spread?

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths).
  • It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
    • These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
    • Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community ("community spread") in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Source: CDC Frequently Asked Questions - How does the virus spread?

Documents

Resources

Signs and Symptoms

Overview of common symptoms and warning signs of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What if I'm sick?

Resources and information for those who think they may be sick with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions

A variety of frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how we are working to address it

Learn More

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. Their website is being continually updated with new information regarding COVID-19 on a daily basis.

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO's primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations' system and to lead partners in global health responses. The WHO updates its website regularly with new information regarding COVID-19 on a daily basis and on an international scale.