COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first idenitfied in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a new virus that hasn't caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of infections, causing illness and in some cases death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.
COVID-19 is thought to be able to spread like the cold or flu through:
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
The vast majority of people recover from this infection. Most people will have mild or moderate symptoms. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for more serious illness.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Many experts are at work developing one. As with any new vaccine, it must be tested to make certain it is safe and effective. It may take over a year for a COVID-19 vaccine to become available.
You can take everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds and flu:
Those at Higher Risk of Becoming Seriously from COVID-19:
Older Adults and Individuals with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Older adults (age 60+) and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness, and in some cases death, if they become infected with COVID-19. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include: cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that impact the immune system's ability to fight germs.
Currently, people are at risk for contracting COVID-19 who:
If you are an older adult or you have one and more chronic health conditions, you can take action to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19:
Guidance for Travelers
At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who are at risk for serious illness, including older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions, avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
If you must travel, CDC is updating travel advisories as warranted and has advised against nonessential travel to some geographic areas of concern. Those with underlying health conditions are advised to avoid nonessential travel to certain areas as well.