What is a coronavirus? What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Human coronaviruses commonly circulate in the U.S. and usually cause mild illnesses like the common cold. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that was identified in late 2019 and was declared a pandemic on March 11. COVID-19 is an international, national, and N.C. public health emergency. 

How does it spread?

Coronaviruses, like COVID-19, are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands.

How can I protect myself from contracting COVID-19 and help prevent the spread?

The best thing you can do is stay home as much as possible – especially if:

You should also follow these common-sense measures to help protect yourself and others from spreading COVID-19 and other viruses:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Do not reuse a tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

  • Practice social distancing when you can, staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Can you get COVID-19 from touching contaminated objects?

Possibly, if you touch a surface with the virus on it, then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not likely to be the main way the virus spreads.

FAQs have been adapted from county, state and federal agency resources