Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019)

What is COVID-19? The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in humans and animals. They cause illnesses from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

How is it spread?

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 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.

Preventing viral respiratory diseases

The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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.

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19?

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

Global information from World Health Organization (WHO):