COVID-19 Basics

What Are Coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can lead to illness in humans and animals. Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and can cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Symptoms of infection by a coronavirus include: 

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection most commonly include: 

  • fever of 100.4 or higher
  • chills
  • stiff joints and/or muscle ache
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • cough or shortness of breath
  • loss of taste
  • diarrhea (that does not have another cause)

The symptoms of coronavirus may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses)

Disease Transmission

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through cough and sneezing, closer personal contact, such as shaking hands, touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing hands. 

Coronaviruses are common and many laboratory test results doctors order may show a positive coronavirus infection. That infection is not the same as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Know how it spreads

  • Find information from the CDC
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • 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.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
table explaining the different symptoms for coronavirus, common cold, flu, and allergies