This article is intended to provide you with general information about the novel coronavirus, including how it is transmitted and how you can prevent infection. Please refer to our special website section for Coronavirus information and Frequently Asked Questions. We encourage you to learn more about the coronavirus by visiting the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the Maine Municipal Association has created a section on their website for important information and resources about COVID-19, the novel corona virus.
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 is the disease that is causing the current novel coronavirus outbreak. It is a new respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China. The virus is contagious and potentially fatal for some people with underlying medical conditions.
What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?
Individuals infected with coronavirus have displayed the following symptoms:
- Mild to severe respiratory illness
- Difficulty breathing
How is coronavirus spread?
Virus transmission may happen in various ways and COVID-19 is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. Health authorities suspect the virus is spread through close contact or coughing and sneezing, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens are spread. At the present time, there is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment.
The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from two to 14 days. During this period, an individual can be infected and spreading the disease although they may not be experiencing the signs and symptoms of the virus.
How can I protect myself?
Because there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends the following additional steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your elbow – not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.