What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, short for Coronavirus Disease 2019, is a respiratory illness caused by a new type of coronavirus not previously seen in humans and is characterized by a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

Anyone can become infected with COVID-19, but those most likely to experience severe manifestations of the illness include the elderly, young children, and individuals who are immunocompromised.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Practicing proper hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, minimizing exposure to and avoiding close contact with those who are sick, refraining from touching your face unless you have just washed your hands, and abstaining from traveling to areas with high rates of infection can reduce your risk of becoming infected with the 2019 coronavirus.

At this time, the CDC does not advise the use of face-masks as a means of virus prevention in healthy individuals. Face-masks should be worn by those who are infected to prevent spreading the virus and by medical professionals who work in close contact with infected individuals.

What should I do if I think I may be infected with COVID-19?

If you believe you may be infected with COVID-19, avoid contact with others, including family and pets, and try to confine yourself to a single room in your home if possible. Only leave your home to receive medical care. Call ahead to a doctor or hospital and let them know of your concerns and your recent contact with an infected individual or travel to a place with high rates of infection. Wear a face-mask when you have to be in contact with others, such as before and during your trip to a doctor or other healthcare provider to receive testing. More information on what to do if you believe you are infected with COVID-19 can be found here.

Want to learn more?

The Washington Post looks at the novel coronavirus and what we do and do not know about it so far. Posted February 28th, 2020.
Physician and YouTuber Doctor Mike answers questions about the novel coronavirus. Posted March 1st, 2020.
Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of ASAP Science explain what the coronavirus is and how it affects the body. Posted January 30th, 2020.