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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

You’ve probably heard about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and might be concerned. We’re sharing information about protecting yourself and the people you care about.

What is COVID-19?

An airway and lung infection, similar to a cold.

What are the symptoms?

Similar to a cold or the flu. Mild to severe fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after being around someone with COVID-19.

How does the virus spread?

From person to person through a cough or sneeze.

What’s the risk?

Right now, the risk of getting COVID-19 in the United States is low.

What if I have symptoms?

Call your doctor right away if you’ve been around someone who has or may have COVID-19 and you have a fever, cough, or hard time breathing.

Should I see my doctor?

Call Nurse HelpLine 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-600-4441 (TTY 711).

How to protect yourself

  • Washing your hands is the best way to avoid getting sick:
    • Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect items and surfaces you often touch with regular household cleaning spray or a wipes.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw away the tissue.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Handwashing (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/handwashing