What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified type that emerged in China in December 2019, has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Where the Name Comes From

  • CO stands for “corona”
  • VI stands for “virus”
  • D stands for “disease”
  • 19 stands for “2019”
  • The reason we hear the word "novel" sometimes associated with COVID-19 is because it is a "new", previously unidentified virus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatment.

Other Articles of Interest

What is Coronavirus? Am I At Risk? Prevention
Signs & Symptoms Should I Get Tested? What If I Think I Have Coronavirus?
Preparing for Coronavirus Caring for Someone with Coronavirus Coping With Coronavirus