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Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. It is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update information as it becomes available: Symptoms of Coronavirus.

How is the virus transmitted?

The coronavirus is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
  • Rarely, fecal contamination with coronavirus present
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, though some spread is possible before people show symptoms. 

You can learn more on how COVID-19 spreads from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Or visit the Washington State Department of Health's frequently asked questions.

How many people have been infected with COVID-19?

Worldwide: For daily reports of total global confirmed cases and deaths, please see the World Health Organization.

The United States: More detailed information on cases within the U.S. can be found on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (or CDC).

Washington State: The Washington State Department of Health is tracking current confirmed cases and deaths, with new information updated daily.

Spokane City: Visit the Spokane Regional Health District for updates.