COVID-19 Facts

How does the virus causing COVID-19 spread?

The first infections were linked to a live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. How long someone may be infectious can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans as well as many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Routine human coronaviruses commonly circulate in the community and cause mild illness similar to the common cold.

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. Previous examples of novel coronaviruses include the type that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Disease, or SARS, in 2003 and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, in 2014. The latest novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late 2019, and has been named “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 has caused more than 81,000 infections in China, and has now spread to other parts of the world with more than 175,000 confirmed cases as of March 16, 2020.

How does COVID-19 differ from the flu (influenza)?

SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) is a brand new virus that we’ve never seen before and no one has any immunity to it yet. From the current data and since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 is more deadly than the flu. You are 10 to 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than from the flu. With influenza, we have several treatments and antivirals that can be used when you are sick. For COVID-19, we do not have any FDA-approved treatments. This coronavirus transmits more easily from person to person and there is no treatment or vaccine; because this we need to take special precautions. Community mitigation measures like physical distancing, not attending mass gatherings and avoiding being around people who are sick are the only way we can limit the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, we now know people can spread COVID-19 when they’re not sick so being vigilant and following guidelines is the most important step to decrease your risk.