Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV or COVID-19) is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about the new virus. It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people and there is no treatment.

Although the exact mechanisms of transmission are not fully known, other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • the air by coughing and sneezing
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes

Infected people have experienced a range of illness, from mild (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions. 

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

If you have symptoms, call your healthcare provider to identify the safest way to receive care. Let them know if you have traveled to an affected area or come in contact with an ill person who has traveled to an affected area within the last 14 days. 

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