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The Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, like the SARS or MERS viruses, cause serious infections like pneumonia.

Like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread to others from an infected person who has symptoms through:

  • Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

Do not assume that someone of a race or nationality is likely to have COVID-19; this new virus has infected people of many different races and nationalities across the entire world.

Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people becoming severely ill, requiring admission to the hospital, and dying. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe illness

Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly changing. For updates and information on symptoms and prevention, please visit the Centers for Disease Control or Los Angeles County Department of Public Health websites or call LACDPH at 888.700.9995.