What you need to know about COVID-19

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus discovered in 2019. Most people infected with COVID-19 experience a mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions—including heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer—are more likely to develop a serious illness.

Prevent novel coronavirus infections

COVID-19 usually spreads through tiny droplets from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:

Use cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19

Some people with coronavirus have no symptoms and can transmit the virus to others through speaking, coughing, or sneezing. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public when it’s difficult to maintain six feet of social distancing, especially in areas with high rates of infection.

Recommended face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. These critical supplies must be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

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