The COVID-2019 part of a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The 2019 outbreak of disease originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, caused by a novel coronavirus. The initial cases of this virus have been associated with a specific seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Additional cases have been identified in people who have not visited this market but have visited other markets or have interacted with infected individuals.
The symptoms of the illness associated with COVID-2019 are similar to those caused by influenza and other respiratory illnesses and include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.
The COVID-2019 virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes people who are in close contact with one another and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can contract COVID-2019 by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. Individuals are most contagious when they are most symptomatic or sick.
WHO recommends that everyone wash their hands regularly, cover their nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing or showing signs of respiratory illness. Healthcare workers and Emergency Responders are those at most risk of contracting COVID-2019. CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-2019. Healthcare personnel evaluating PUI or providing care for patients with confirmed COVID-2019 should use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, Airborne Precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield).