Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019)

Updated February 10, 2020

CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus named 2019-nCoV. The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.  CDC will update the U.S. map daily.

What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus -nCoV?

A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019-nCoV is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

Can people in the U.S. get 2019-nCoV?

  • The 2019-nCoV is spreading from person-to-person in China.
  • Limited spread among close contacts has been seen in some countries outside China, including the U.S. (Close contact means being close to a sick person for a prolonged period of time, such as a household member or healthcare provider who is not using protective equipment.)
  • At this time, the virus is NOT currently spreading in communities in the U.S.
  • Right now, the greatest risk of infection is for people in China or people who have traveled to China. (CDC)

How many cases of 2019-nCoV are there?

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

We are still learning more about the symptoms that this virus causes in infected people as the outbreak progresses.  Patients with 2019-nCoV have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

Many patients who have more severe complications have had pneumonia in both lungs. (CDC)

How is novel coronavirus transmitted, and when will someone get sick if they’re exposed?

  • Currently, it is thought that the novel coronavirus virus spreads from person-to-person, although they are still gathering information as to how this is occurring.
  • Based on what we know from other coronaviruses, we think that symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after someone was exposed.
  • When person-to-person spread occurred with other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezed or coughed, similar to other respiratory viruses.

How can I prevent 2019-nCoV?

Right now, this virus has not been found to be spreading in the United States.  However, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Simple actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. (CDC)

Should I wear a mask to prevent 2019-nCoV?

No. CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States. (CDC)

Is 2019-nCoV like the flu?

2019-nCoV is a respiratory illness like the flu, and the symptoms are similar. However, the flu is currently much more common in the United States and has caused an estimated 19 million illnesses and 10,000 deaths in the U.S. since October 1, 2019. It’s not too late to get a flu shot!

How do they test for 2019-nCoV?

Currently, all tests must be sent to the CDC for processing.

How do they treat 2019-nCoV?

People infected with the 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. There is no specific antiviral treatment for 2019-nCoV.

Where did 2019-nCoV come from?

  • It’s likely that an animal source from a live animal market in China was responsible for some of the first reported human infections.
  • Other coronaviruses from animals include MERS, which was transmitted from camels to humans, and SARS, which was transmitted from civet cats to humans. (WHO)

Can I get 2019-nCoV from my pet?

  • No, at present there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or have spread 2019-nCoV. (WHO)

Can I get 2019-nCoV from packaging from China?

People receiving packages are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or packages. (WHO)

What should I do if I have recently traveled to China?

If you were in China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should get medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others. (CDC)

What if I am planning to travel to Wuhan, China?

CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Hubei Province, China.

The most updated recommendations regarding travel to China can be found on the CDC’s Travelers’ Health webpage:

Where can I learn more about the 2019-nCoV?

State information from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH):

Global information from World Health Organization (WHO):