What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by a coronavirus discovered in China in December 2019.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause disease in humans and animals. In humans, several coronaviruses can cause respiratory infections (from the common cold to more serious diseases e.g. SARS / Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and sometimes even death.
The coronavirus settles in the human body during a period called incubation: this is the time between infection and the onset of disease symptoms. The incubation period for COVID-19 is currently estimated to last from 1 to 14 days, and most often around five days.
How is the Coronavirus COVID-19 spreading?
COVID-19 is transmitted by people who carry the virus. The Coronavirus disease can be spread from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets expelled through the nose or mouth when a person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets may be found on objects or surfaces around the person. You can get the Coronavirus, COVID-19 if you touch these objects or surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
COVID-19 can also be contracted by breathing in droplets from a sick person who has just coughed or sneezed. This is why it is important to stay more than one metre away from a sick person.
The risk of contracting the coronavirus COVID-19 from a person who has no symptoms is very low. However, many people with the disease have mild symptoms in the early stages of the disease (for example, a mild cough). It is then possible to contract COVID-19 from these people, even if they do not feel sick.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Symptoms
The Coronavirus COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Common COVID-19 Coronavirus symptoms include:
- Dry cough
Other symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
- and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should self-isolate and contact their medical provider or a COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.
People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should call their doctor and seek medical attention.