What is a coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. People with COVID-19 can have a range of mild to severe symptoms. Some people may never have any symptoms, but can still carry the virus. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. It can take anywhere from 2-14 days for symptoms to appear. Visit the CDC site for more information.
Who is most at risk?
For the general American public, the immediate health risk from the virus is considered low. Those who are most at risk are older adults, babies, and those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems. Health care workers caring for patients with the virus should also exercise extreme caution. The risk increases for anyone traveling through infected areas or those who come into contact with people who have traveled in these areas. Please see the “Should I change my travel plans?” section for more information.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
There is no vaccine against coronavirus to date. Researchers around the world are working to learn more about this virus.
What can I do to protect myself and my family?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health care guidance, the best way to prevent any virus from spreading is to:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Using a hand sanitizer can help as well, but washing your hands is always preferable. Teach children early on how to properly wash their hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and touchpoints like doorknobs, handles, light switches, and your phone.
Continue to practice good hygiene to prevent coronavirus, and other severe illnesses like the flu, from spreading.
Should I change my travel plans?
The CDC maintains a list of current travel advisories related to the coronavirus. Please view the CDC website for more information about traveling during the outbreak.
How can I get accurate information about this virus?
We recommend that you get your health information from trusted sources, such as:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- Connecticut state resources and information
- Massachusetts state resources and information (for our Massachusetts members)
- Your doctor or health provider