Frequently asked questions

How does the coronavirus spread?

Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, and, much like influenza and others in this category, it spreads when humans cough or sneeze out tiny droplets of mucus and saliva. If it lands on a hard surface like a doorknob or countertop, the virus can survive anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Though coronavirus can’t be absorbed through your skin, it can enter your system when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, or through a cut.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to SARS. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. On rare occasions, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a form of behavior to help prevent the transmission and spread of contagious illnesses like the coronavirus. Research has shown that avoiding large groups of people and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) will help prevent contamination.

How did the coronavirus get its name?

The name comes from the Latin corona meaning "crown" because the structure of the virus has projections that give it the appearance of a crown when viewed under an electron microscope. COVID-19 gets its name from ‘CO’ for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ ‘D’ for disease, and 19 for the year 2019 when it was discovered.

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is the global outbreak of a disease. Currently, COVID-19 has spread to 114 countries.

Does washing your hands really prevent getting the coronavirus?

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the most effective ways to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus (or any virus, for that matter). One way to make sure you washed your hands for 20 seconds is to wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.