The virus mainly spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales near other people. Many people who are infected don’t know it, and don’t have any symptoms, but can spread the virus.
Main symptoms* include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
*This is not a complete list of symptoms. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency.
You can also catch the virus by touching a surface that has been contaminated and then touching your face. This is why it’s important to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from others (ideally 12 feet indoors), and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after you’ve touched anything that could be contaminated.
Along with all other safety guidelines, the CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public areas. A face covering should be made of a tightly woven fabric (no knits) that doesn’t let a lot of light through. Fleece is most effective. A study in AIM shows that surgical masks and cotton masks are not effective.
Wash and dry masks regularly. Make sure the dry mask fits snugly and do not touch the exterior of the mask then touch your face.
The WHO warns that wearing a mask could give you a false sense of security. It is vital you continue to practice social distancing, washing hands and all other essential guidelines while wearing a mask. It is also important you do not adjust the mask in a way that could lead to your hands touching your face as this could introduce contamination.
Watch a video made by Japanese scientists that shows how microdroplets transmit the virus.