Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
What is a coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a viral infection. It affects the respiratory (breathing) system. You may have heard of other coronaviruses like MERS and SARS. A new strain of coronavirus is now in the United States. This is the virus on the news that started in China.
What is this new coronavirus called?
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. The name of this disease is "coronavirus disease 2019," abbreviated as COVID-19.
What are the symptoms?
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills.
- Muscle pain.
- Sore throat.
- New loss of taste or smell.
How do coronaviruses spread?
Coronaviruses can live in the air and on surfaces. That means they can spread like many other viruses. Sneezing, coughing, and coming in contact with an infected person can put you at risk.
What can I do to help prevent getting the coronavirus?
As of now, there are no vaccines for coronaviruses. But there are other things you can do to help prevent illness:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
- Disinfect surfaces in your home and workplace.
- Don't touch your face, nose, or mouth.
- Cover your face with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Keep your distance from people who are sick.
What do I do if I think I’m getting sick?
If you think you are getting sick, call your primary care provider. They can help find out what condition you have and the best way to get better. In case of an emergency, call 911.
How do I know if I am at high risk?
Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions are at high risk. Those conditions include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Heart disease.
- Kidney disease.
I am pregnant. Am I at high risk?
There are no reports about the risk to pregnant women and children from COVID-19. This is something that is still being studied. Pregnant women should follow the same prevention tips as other people.
Where can I get tested?
If you have any questions about whether you should be tested, call your primary care provider, who will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Is coronavirus testing covered under my benefits and services?
Yes, as long as it is ordered by your doctor.
What is social distancing?
According to the CDC, social distancing means:
- Stay out of crowded places.
- Avoid group gatherings.
- Maintain distance (about six feet or two meters) from others when you can.
Will it be harder for me to make a doctor's appointment?
It may vary depending on the health system you use. But here are some things to consider:
- Some doctor offices may be especially busy or short-staffed during this time. You may need to wait longer than usual to schedule appointments.
- If you have an upcoming appointment, you doctor's office might need to reschedule it. This might be with less notice than usual.
- If you are feeling sick, call your doctor’s office before arriving for your appointment.
I am feeling scared and stressed about the coronavirus. What can I do?
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).
- Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
- Talking With Children (PDF)
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health (PDF)
Call your primary care provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Where can I go for more information?
For the most up-to-date information about the rapidly evolving coronavirus and COVID-19, visit the CDC's COVID-19 webpage.