Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused severe illness, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middles East Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus not previously identified in humans prior to December 2019.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness. It takes 2-14 days after a person gets the virus to become ill and present symptoms.
How does the virus spread?
Most often, the virus is spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets. These droplets are produced when a person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu is spread. The droplets may land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, or the droplets can be inhaled directly into the lungs.
It is currently unclear if COVID-19 can be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it then touching their own nose, mouth, or eyes.