Is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2).

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell

This list is not all of the possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including rash, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The majority of individuals that get COVID-19 have mild symptoms.

Risk factors for severe illness–Severe illness can occur in otherwise healthy individuals of any age, but it predominantly occurs in adults with advanced age or underlying medical comorbidities. The impact of age is discussed elsewhere.

Comorbidities and other conditions that have been associated with severe illness and mortality include:

-Cardiovascular disease

-Diabetes mellitus


-Chronic lung disease


-Chronic kidney disease




SARS-CoV-2 can be spread by an asymptomatic person, sick person, and even possibly after a person has been sick.  It is unknown how long SARS-CoV-2 can persist on surfaces, other coronaviruses have been tested and may survive on inanimate surfaces for up to six to nine days without disinfection.

Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests, however, both have their own shortcomings.

A viral test tells you if you have a current infection. This is done with a nasopharyngeal swab.

An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection.

Currently, an antibody test for SARS COV-2 is not able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after an infection to make antibodies. We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.

To learn if you have an active infection, viral tests are used.

Ways to help prevent the spread of the virus

Practice social distancing by staying home as much as possible and maintaining six feet distance from others when you have to leave home.  Wear a mask, especially indoors and when in poorly vented areas.  In particular, individuals should avoid crowds and close contact with individuals, especially those that are sick.

The following general measures are additionally recommended to reduce transmission of infection:

-Hand washing, particularly after touching surfaces in public.

-Respiratory hygiene (covering your cough or sneeze).

-Avoid touching your face (in particular eyes, nose, and mouth).

-Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.


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