Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has contributed to an ongoing pandemic.
How does it spread?
COVID-19 is thought to transmit primarily through close person-to-person contact. Some people may get the virus spread without symptoms. A person may get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or eyes. This is not known to be the principal way the virus spreads.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Unexplained loss of taste or smell
When to receive emergency medical care
In some people, these symptoms may become more serious. Call emergency medical services if you or anyone you care about has the following symptoms.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Testing for COVID-19
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19
- A viral test (PCR) tells about the current infection.
- An antibody test tells about a previous infection.
How to protect yourself?
Social Distancing For all
Since Coronavirus travels from individual to individual, it is important to minimize the way people are in direct contact with each other. Social distancing involves remaining at home as far as possible and avoiding busy public spaces where close interaction with others is inevitable.
Wash your hands often
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available. Stop using unwashed hands to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with sick people, even inside your home. Keep 6 feet between the person who is ill and other members of the household if possible. Remember that viruses may spread to some people without symptoms. Stay away from crowded places.
Cover your mouth and nose
Even if you do not feel sick, you may spread COVID-19 to others. Everyone should wear a mask on their faces when they have to go out in public.
Clean and disinfect
Clean AND disinfect regularly touched surfaces every day. Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, chairs, telephones, keyboards, toilets, and sinks are included.
Cover coughs and sneezes
If you’re in a private place and don’t have the face covered, always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing or use the inside of your elbow.
Coronavirus can be passed from person to person even before symptoms begin. So, if someone in your family begins to feel ill, rundown, tired, or ache, it’s best to keep at home and practice “self-isolation.” This severely limits interaction with others. If more severe symptoms develop, such as fever, cough, or chest tightness, contact your doctor.