What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is a “novel” coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The new, or “novel” coronavirus, first called 2019-nCoV, now called COVID-19, had not been previously detected before the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

How does the virus spread?

The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus, which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets. Droplets can be generated when a person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. It is important that everyone practice good respiratory hygiene. For example, sneeze or cough into a flexed elbow, or use a tissue and discard it immediately into a closed trash bin. It is also very important for people to wash their hands regularly with soap and water afterwards.

How long is the incubation period?

The incubation period is the time between infection and the onset of clinical symptoms of disease. Current estimates of the incubation period range from 1-12.5 days with median estimates of 5-6 days. The incubation period of COVID-19 could be up to 14 days.