The new coronavirus disease, called COVID-19, has appeared and spread extremely quickly, making its way to over 200 countries since its December 2019 discovery in China. This particular type of respiratory disease is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. It’s part of a larger family of coronaviruses, the majority of which cause only the common cold.
More dangerous types of coronavirus include Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Like these more serious strains, COVID-19 can cause anything from mild respiratory problems to pneumonia or death.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency.
Symptoms of COVID-19, which range from mild to severe, may appear 1 to 14 days after initial exposure. They include:
Shortness of breath
Repeated shaking with chills
Loss of sense of smell or taste
If you think you may be sick but haven't talked to a healthcare provider yet, you can use our printable Doctor Discussion Guide below to help prepare you for your appointment.
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