COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that had not previously been seen in humans. Reported illness ranges from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms of this infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
- Fever, chills or shaking chills
- Signs of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, lowered oxygen saturation)
- Fatigue, sore throat, headache, body aches/myalgia, or new loss of sense of taste or smell
- Other less common symptoms can include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), rash, and inflammatory conditions such as “COVID toes”.
- In elderly, chronically ill, or debilitated individuals such as residents of a long-term care facility, symptoms of COVID-19 may be subtle such as alterations in mental status or in blood glucose control
However, it’s possible for people with COVID-19 to spread the virus to others up to 48 hours before they have symptoms. Visit the CDC's resource on symptoms for more information.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, please contact your healthcare provider and a test site near you to schedule a test. You can also check your symptoms online.
You can also call 2-1-1 to learn more about:
- COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and treatment
- Information about testing
- Guidance for people planning or returning from travel
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses; some cause illness in people and some occur in animals, including camels, civet cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then may spread between people. Human coronaviruses cause routine seasonal respiratory virus infections. Other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, can cause serious illnesses.
How do coronaviruses spread?
Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses and are most commonly spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person in close proximity (within about 6 feet). CDC describes on How COVID-19 Spreads in more detail.
For more information, please visit frequently asked questions about COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized in the United States are very effective at protecting vaccinated people from COVID-19. Even though people are vaccinated, some prevention measures continue to be necessary for all people, even people who have been fully vaccinated.