COVID-19 is not related to seasonal influenza. It is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S. This new virus is a public health concern because it is newly identified, so much is still unknown.
What is the risk?
Per the CDC website: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Is it contagious?
Person-to-person exposure occurs through airborne droplets from sneezing and coughing. Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle ache
How can I help prevent COVID-19?
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- #1 Recommendation: 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?
People may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma against a group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.