Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Knowing how coronavirus and COVID-19 spread can help limit transmission of the virus. Taking actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus is even more important as businesses reopen, activities resume, and we find ourselves around more people more often.
The virus that causes COVID-19 — novel 2019 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) — spreads easily between people. Close person-to-person contact is the main way that COVID-19 spreads.
COVID-19 spreads mostly through close contact with others
Respiratory droplets containing coronavirus enter the air when someone with the virus does something like coughing or sneezing. While these droplets settle rather than float in the air, they can land on hands, in mouths or noses, or they can be inhaled by someone nearby.
This is why it’s recommended that people stay six feet apart.
The more people gather in an area, the more difficult it is to put adequate space between yourself and others. Being around large groups of people increases the likelihood of spreading the virus.
This is why it’s recommended that you avoid social gatherings.
It’s not just coughing or sneezing that produces respiratory droplets, however. Things like talking, laughing, or singing can also send these droplets into the air.
Wearing a reusable cloth face covering or face mask helps contain respiratory droplets, reducing the risk for spreading the virus.
People who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 — people who are asymptomatic — can still transmit the virus.
This is why it’s recommended that people wear masks in public.
Coronavirus can also land on surfaces and remain active for some time. It’s possible for someone to touch an infected surface, and then get sick from the virus; however, the CDC states that this method of transmission is not the main way that the virus spreads.
Still, if respiratory droplets containing coronavirus land on your hands, or you touch a contaminated surface, you can introduce the virus into your body by touching your face; viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth.
This is why it’s recommended that you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, disinfect surfaces, and avoid touching your face.
You can help slow the spread of COVID-19
Coronavirus is highly contagious and sustainable. Current research suggests that COVID-19 spreads more efficiently than the flu. That’s why everyone must do his or her part to help limit the spread of the virus.
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Do not touch your face if you haven’t washed your hands.
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering in public.
- Practice social distancing; stay home whenever possible.
- Look for contactless options when running essential errands.
- Maintain six feet of physical distance between yourself and others.
- Help with contact tracing — keep an account of where you’ve been and who you’ve been around in case you get sick.
- Learn the symptoms of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick; immediately contact your doctor.
It’s especially important to follow these measures as restrictions are lifted and businesses reopen. Do your part to protect the health of your community and help life return to normal as quickly and safely as possible.