What Should I Know About the Coronavirus?

With all the information circulating right now about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it can be tough to know what's true and what isn't. Don't give in to the panic. Read on to get the facts. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay up to date on the latest coronavirus information. 

What exactly is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can easily spread from person-to-person. This strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is different than other, more common coronaviruses that are common to circulate and cause mild illnesses like the common cold.


If you have questions about coronavirus in your community or in general, you can reach out to your state's department of health. Each tristate department of health has created a specific coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline that can answer your questions or you may click on the links below for their websites. 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

The CDC says at this time that it believes "symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses."

How can I help protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Put some distance between yourself and other people, especially if COVID-19 is spreading near you. This is extremely essential for those who are at a high risk of serious illness. 

How does the novel coronavirus spread?

According to the CDC, this virus probably originally emerged from an animal source, but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. The exact way the virus is spread is not fully known. With similar coronaviruses (MERS and SARS), person-to-person spread is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other viruses that cause respiratory illness spread.


There also may be some spread when a person touches a surface or object that has a virus on it and then touches his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. The spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts. There is still much more to learn about COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

How can I prevent the spread of coronavirus? 

COVID-19 can easily spread person to person, and preventing the transmission of coronavirus is key to the health of communities where it is spreading. Below are some tips on how to prevent spreading the disease.


Stay at home if you feel sick, unless it is for medical care. Wear a face mask when going into public if you are sick.

Cover your mouth and nose when coughing, and be sure to immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (tables, doorknobs, counters, etc.) daily.

Is there a treatment? 

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should work with their primary care provider on a care plan.

Additional resources

It's important during this time to find reliable information. In addition to The Christ Hospital Health Network, below are a list of resources about COVID-19 that you can trust.