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Home > Health Library > Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. It is an illness that was first found in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide.
The virus can cause fever, cough, and trouble breathing. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help. It can cause death.
This virus spreads person-to-person through droplets from coughing and sneezing. It can also spread when you are close to someone who is infected. And it can spread when you touch something that has the virus on it, such as a doorknob or a tabletop.
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses. They cause the common cold. They also cause more serious illnesses like Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus. That means it's a new type that has not been seen in people before.
Mild illness can be treated at home, but more serious illness needs to be treated in the hospital. Treatment may include medicines to reduce symptoms, plus breathing support such as oxygen therapy or a ventilator. Other treatments, such as antiviral medicines, may help people who have COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself from getting sick is to:
To help avoid spreading the virus to others:
If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor now if you develop symptoms such as:
If you need to get care, call ahead to the doctor's office for instructions before you go. Make sure you wear a face cover to prevent exposing other people to the virus.
The following health organizations are tracking and studying this virus. Their websites contain the most up-to-date information. You'll also learn what to do if you think you may have been exposed to the virus.
Current as of:
June 18, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Heather Quinn MD - Family MedicineLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: June 18, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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