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Coronavirus Basics

Coronavirus Basics

What Is Coronavirus?

A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to much more serious diseases and can infect both humans and animals, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a new coronavirus strain that healthcare professionals are still learning about.

For the most up-to-date information, we recommend visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronavirus Symptoms & Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients with confirmed COVID-19 infections have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

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

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

How Coronavirus Spreads

According to the CDC, 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
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms

COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission meaning some infections can be spread by exposure to the virus in small droplets and particles that linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are farther than 6 feet away or after an infected person has left the space under certain conditions.

There is evidence of these transmissions within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation.

Available data indicates it is much more common for COVID-19 to spread through close contact with an infected person than through airborne transmission.

Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It 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. However, this is not thought to be a common way the virus spreads.

For more information, refer to the CDC website.