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COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a new virus in humans causing respiratory illness which can be spread from person-to-person.


COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. A physical distance of at least 3 feet is suggested by The WHO to avoid infection; some have recommended maintaining greater distances. Droplets can land on hands, objects or surfaces when they cough or talk, and people can then become infected from touching hands, objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Data suggests there can be transmission through droplets of those with mild symptoms or those who do not feel ill.


COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms including: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; headache; nasal congestion or runny nose; muscle or body aches; sore throat; new loss of smell or taste; nausea or vomiting; and/or diarrhea. The estimated incubation period is between 2 and 14 days with a median of 5 days. It is important to note that some people become infected and do not develop any symptoms nor feel unwell.

COVID-19 can be prevented by avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding close contact with 

with sick people (those who are asymptomatic can still spread the virus); staying home when sick; covering your cough or sneeze; using a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or when going into closed spaces (physical distancing should be at least 3 ft); cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; and performing hand hygiene with soap and water (for at least 40-60 seconds) or using alcohol-based hand rub (at least 60% alcohol).

COVID-19 testing can be diagnostic or antibody. Diagnostic can show if you have an active infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. There are two types of diagnostic tests – molecular PCR test that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen test that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Antibody looks for antibodies made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections and can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active infection. Researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune in the future. If you think you have it contact your health care provider immediately. 

COVID-19  can cause severe illness, meaning a person with may require hospitalization, intensive care, a ventilator, or may die. The chances of this increase with age, with older adults at highest risk. People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are also at increased risk. This includes the pregnant and there may be adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth.

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