There are different coronaviruses; the one recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization is known as the novel coronavirus COVID-19. It is a respiratory illness marked by severe flu symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath and fever. COVID-19 has been spreading worldwide, with multiple cases now confirmed in California. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the health risk to the general public from COVID-19 remains low, but the situation remains fluid.
What is COVID-19?
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, China. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
What are the symptoms?
A recent study showed that it takes five days on average for patients with COVID-19 to show symptoms. The mild to severe respiratory illness has symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe complications have included pneumonia in both lungs. There is currently no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 nor is there a vaccine to prevent it.
Who is at risk?
Older persons and those with underlying conditions and/or a compromised immune system are most at risk.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
According to the CDPH, 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). This occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
How can you protect yourself against COVID-19?
Watch this video from the World Health Organization: