What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

This virus presents as an upper respiratory illness with symptoms similar to the common flu and is spreading person-to-person. The virus has caused death but cases have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness depending on a variety of factors that are not yet fully known.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Because of the similarity to flu symptoms, the CDC is recommending that people who have recently traveled or been in contact with someone who has recently traveled outside of the U.S. and starts experiencing these symptoms to contact a health professional for guidance.

What does CDC recommend people do to prevent spreading the virus?

The CDC recommends taking steps you would typically take to prevent illness. Wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with people who have recently traveled outside of the country, and stay home if you have any symptoms that resemble the common cold or flu.

How to prepare your home for coronavirus:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. 

But what does preparedness look like in practice? 

The short answer: Don’t panic — but do prepare.

What to do if you are sick?

Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Is the flu shot helpful with coronavirus symptoms?

No, there is no cross-protection whatsoever between the flu vaccine and coronavirus. It is recommended to get the flu vaccine, even yet, because the flu season is still marching on.

Should I be looking for face masks/respirators?

People should not rush to buy face masks. There is already a shortage and hospitals need them first.

How should I prepare?

It is a good idea to stock up on essential medication, supplies and non-perishable food. The first thing everyone should do is talk to your loved ones and make a plan.