Symptoms and Prevention Tips


How does it spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby

May be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Information suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Stay home when you are sick

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Wear a facial covering when out in public

The more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk.


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

Fever or chills

Cough and fatigue

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Muscle or body aches


New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting


This list does not include all possible symptoms.

The CDC will continue to update this list as they learn more about COVID-19.