COVID-19 refers to the human infection caused by the new coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2. While symptoms of many human coronavirus infections are mild, COVID-19 infection symptoms can be serious, leading to pneumonia and in some cases death. COVID-19 is caused by a new virus strain that is believed to have originated around the city of Wuhan, China, and began spreading among people in late 2019.
What is the source of the virus now affecting people?
It is rare for an animal coronavirus to spread from animals to people, and from people to each other. However, this was the case with both SARS and MERS, and scientists suspect this is what is happening with COVID-19.
How does the virus spread?
Officials are still learning about how COVID-19 spreads, but the CDC believes it spreads between people in three ways:
- From close contact with people who have it.
- From respiratory droplets that become airborne when someone, who is infected, sneezes or coughs nearby.
- From touching our mouths, noses or eyes after touching a surface that has the virus on it.
Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
Researchers are still learning about how easily COVID-19 is transmitted, how severely it will impact communities, and whether seasonal weather changes impact its spread. Some viruses, such as the common cold and flu, spread more during cold months, but it’s unclear whether COVID-19 will behave in the same way.
Where can I find more information about COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website is continually updated with information about COVID-19 and includes tips and information about many aspects, including how it spreads, how to stay healthy, whether you should or can travel, and more. Visit the site at this link or copy and paste this URL in your browser: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
Stanford Medicine also has a COVID-19 page dedicated to the latest information and developments.