Coronavirus Disease 2019: COVID-19

by Tina Jaycox

Cornoavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus. The disease, COVID-19 caused by the virus (SARS CoV 2) was first identified during an outbreak investigation in China.

Coronavirus COVID-19

What is it? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Symptoms: Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.1 Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems are more likely to develop serious illness.2

How Does It Spread? 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) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also spread by contact with items contaminated by these droplets.

Preventive Measures: Some basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections include the following:

  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Practice cough etiquette (i.e. maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
  • Seek medical care if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment.

Resources for additional information & updates:

World Health Organization (WHO)

US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


1 What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), CDC, 2/21/2020

2 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 42; WHO, 3/2/2020

This information was obtained through the CDC and the WHO in an effort to minimize the likelihood that individuals will contract the coronavirus. Of course, there can be no certainty that following these guidelines will prevent individuals from contracting this virus but they are the best practices at this time.