Information about Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19
What is novel coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain spreading from person-to-person in China and other countries, including the United States. In some instances, cases outside of China have been associated with travelers from China. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
How does novel coronavirus spread?
Health experts are still learning the details. Currently it is thought to spread:
- via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
- between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
How severe is novel coronavirus?
Experts are still learning about the range of illness from novel coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
What are the symptoms?
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:
Who is at risk for novel coronavirus?
Currently the risk to the general public is low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S. To minimize the risk of spread, health officials are working with healthcare providers to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases.
Travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. Although coronavirus originated geographically in Wuhan, China, the disease is not specific to any ethnic group. Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not make a person more vulnerable to this illness.
Right now, the novel coronavirus has not been spreading widely in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:
- wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- avoid contact with people who are sick.
- stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus.
How is novel coronavirus treated?
There are no medications specifically approved for coronavirus. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization. Please click here to view more Information & Home Care Instructions.
Please visit Mass.gov and the CDC website for more information: