Considered a novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus was first identified in an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and is the first time this strain of the coronavirus has been found in humans. Since entering the United States, more than 80,000 have contracted the illness and more than 1,400 deaths have occurred.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a pandemic. On March 13, President Donald Trump declared the spread of the virus a national emergency.
Those who are most susceptible to COVID-19 are those who have been in contact with someone who is known to have it, such as those who work in healthcare or live in the household of an infected individual.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:
- Shortness of breath
- In some cases, loss of smell and taste are being reported
Many who have contracted or will contract the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some groups are at higher risk such as older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Severe and life-threatening symptoms and illness from COVID-19 can include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
These symptoms require immediate, emergency medical attention.
The virus primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or nasal discharge from an infected person. At this time, there are no treatments or vaccines specific to COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. To ensure the most up to date information about the spread of COVID-19 and how to best protect yourself, visit The World Health Organization or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.