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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known incubation period for this disease. Investigations are being conducted to determine if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered less common.
Symptoms have included:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, infection can lead to death. Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a health care provider based on symptoms and are confirmed through laboratory tests.
Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own. If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should self-monitor and consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.
If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronavirus. Currently a vaccine or therapy to treat or prevent this disease has not yet been developed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a global review of therapies that may be used to treat or prevent the disease.