Coronavirus Information

What You Should Know About The Novel Coronavirus

FRONTLINE: Love, Life & the Virus/Undocumented in the Pandemic

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WATCH: Confronting Coronavirus — A PBS NewsHour Special

To offer context around these uncertain times, the PBS NewsHour will shed light on what health precautions everyone should take, as well as the pandemic's economic impact.

News Wrap: Primary elections are held in six states

In our news wrap Tuesday, primary elections are being held in six states with several marquee races including in Colorado and New York, rescuers in Ukraine searched for survivors in the ruins of a burned-out shopping mall hit by Russian missiles, the UN says 300,000 civilians were killed in the first decade of Syria's civil war, and Ghislaine Maxwell is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Illinois clinics ramp up aid for women seeking abortions across state lines

In the days since the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, one state after another has outlawed abortion. Illinois is one of the few states in the middle of the country where people can legally access abortion care. In a report co-produced with the PBS NewsHour, Kaiser Health News correspondent Sarah Varney went to Illinois to see what's happening there.

Sen. Joe Manchin says commission tasked with downsizing veterans facilities to be dismantled

Manchin says there is bipartisan support to avoid filling vacancies on the VA's Assets and Infrastructure Review Commission and to end the commission in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

How Americans are responding to the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has set off a frenzy of responses across the country. From anger and protest by some to celebration by others, the effects of this decision are reverberating throughout all corners of America, especially at the state level. Our latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll shows how Americans are reacting. Lisa Desjardins walks us through the numbers.

Louisiana judge blocks state's trigger law banning abortions

Louisiana is one of the states with a trigger law where the ban on performing abortions went into effect on Friday. A state judge on Monday granted a request from the Hope Medical group for women in Shreveport, one of the state's three abortion providers, to block the law for now. Kathaleen Pittman, Hope Medical Group's clinical administrator, joins John Yang to discuss.


What is COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new coronavirus that hasn't been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19 isn't the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 isn't the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and treated differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis, the Centers for Disease Control said.

The CDC is updating its Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page regularly at noon, Mondays through Fridays. Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.


Where Did COVID-19 Come From?

The CDC said coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some of which cause illness in people, others cause illness in animals only. Rarely, coronaviruses that infect animals have infected people as well and can be spread between people.

This is what the CDC thinks happened for the virus that caused COVID-19.

"Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people," the CDC said.


COVID-19 Myths

Will a facemask protect you from getting the coronavirus? Does COVID-19 only effect older people? Can the pneumonia vaccine and antibiotics protect you against the virus? Discover the answers to these common questions.


How Does COVID-19 Spread?

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, the CDC said. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, now the virus is spreading from person to person.

"The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas," the CDC said.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who aren't sure how or where they became infected.


Current CDC Risk Assessment

The CDC has assessed risk of exposure to the virus.

  • "For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure."

Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment of COVID-19

There's currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends preventive actions every day to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you're sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

The CDC doesn't recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for COVID-19 cases, the CDC said. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

There's no specific treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should get care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions, the CDC said.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.