News about the coronavirus pandemic is changing fast. It's important for everyone to stay informed. Here's what you need to know:
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (short for "coronavirus disease 2019") is the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It began spreading around the world in late 2019 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease.
There are many coronaviruses. Most cause mild illness like a common cold. This new coronavirus can cause mild to severe illness. More than 6 million people around the world have contracted the virus, including people in every U.S. state. And more than 370,000 people around the world have died from this new disease.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The following symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus:
Emergency warning signs that mean it's time to get medical help include:
How does COVID-19 spread?
The coronavirus appears to spread easily from person to person. Coronaviruses are thought to spread primarily through close contact with an infected person through droplets produced when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Touching contaminated objects and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth may also transmit the virus.
Why should you take COVID-19 seriously?
The disease is new, and the treatment options are limited. There is currently no vaccine against COVID-19. It spreads fast and can be deadly. So slowing the spread by social distancing, self-quarantining, handwashing and disinfecting shared spaces is important. You can learn more about these steps in our Coronavirus health topic center.
Am I at risk for getting COVID-19?
Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in every state. While risk of exposure varies by location, if there is community spread in your area, you are at an elevated risk. You should take steps to avoid contact with those who are sick, practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. If you do have to go out in public, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face mask.
Who's at risk for severe illness?
Those at risk for more severe illness include:
What's being done to slow the spread?
CDC recommends that everyone avoid all nonessential travel. See CDC's latest travel updates before you leave home.
Many states and cities are also taking independent steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. For example:
Check with your local or state health departments to find out what restrictions are in place where you live.
Where can you get accurate information about COVID-19?
Check out CDC's coronavirus website often to keep track of the latest information about COVID-19.
You can also visit our Coronavirus health topic center to learn more.