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Coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS coronavirus 2 (or SARS-CoV-2).[1]


It was first identified in December of 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has resulted in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[2][3]

Symptoms 1

Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste.[4]

Symptoms 2

But other symptoms can occur, including a sore throat, chills, muscle or joint pain, a wet cough, diarrhea, headaches, and abdominal pain.[5][6][7]

Prognosis 1

Most cases are mild and do not need hospital care, however, some infections lead to viral pneumonia and the failure of the respiratory or other body systems.[2][8] For those cases, hospitalization is frequently needed for breathing support, with oxygen or a mechanical ventilator, along with therapy to support the circulatory system, kidneys, and other body systems.


As of 10 March 2023, more than 676 million[9] cases have been reported in countries and territories,[10] resulting in over 6.88 million deaths.[9] More than people have recovered.[9]

Spread 1

It spreads very easily and sustainably, primarily through contaminated air or droplets produced during breathing, coughing, sneezing, talking, and singing.[6][11][12]

Spread 4

Less commonly, when the contaminated droplets fall to floors or surfaces they can remain infectious if people touch contaminated surfaces and then their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Some people have been infected and recovered without showing symptoms, and such people may be able to spread COVID-19.


The average time from exposure to onset of symptoms is five days, but it can vary from as little as two days to as many as fourteen.[4][13]

Diagnosis 1

The standard method for diagnosis of active COVID-19 infection is with a swab of the back of the nose and back of the throat, which is then tested for the virus using a polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) process or a rapid antigen test.[14]

Diagnosis 2

The infection can also be diagnosed from a combination of symptoms, risk factors and a chest CT scan showing features of pneumonia.[15][16]

Prevention 1

Preventive measures to reduce the chances of infection include staying at home, wearing a mask in public, avoiding crowded places, keeping distance from others, washing hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds, practising good respiratory hygiene, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.[17][18]

Prevention 2

The use of face masks is recommended for anyone suspected of having the virus to prevent the spread of infected droplets. Caregivers and the general population should also use masks, faceshields, and other personal protective equipment when caring for people with active COVID-19, with high filtration masks, like the N95, being best.[19]

Management 1

There are multiple effective vaccines and a number of specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.[6]

Management 2

Management involves treatment of symptoms, supportive care, isolation, and experimental measures.[20]

Society 1

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern[21][22] on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020.[3]

Society 2

Local transmission of the disease has been recorded in nearly all countries across all six WHO regions.[23]


  1. "Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it". World Health Organization (WHO). Archived from the original on 28 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hui, D. S.; I. Azhar E.; Madani, T. A.; Ntoumi, F.; Kock, R.; Dar, O.; Ippolito, G.; Mchugh, T. D.; Memish, Z. A.; Drosten, Christian; Zumla, A.; Petersen, E. (February 2020). "The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health—The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China". Int J Infect Dis. 91: 264–66. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2020.01.009. PMID 31953166.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19". World Health Organization (WHO) (Press release). 11 March 2020. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)". 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  5. "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Symptoms". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Q&A on coronaviruses". World Health Organization. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  7. Hopkins, Claire. "Loss of sense of smell as marker of COVID-19 infection". Ear, Nose and Throat surgery body of United Kingdom. Retrieved 2020-03-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Q&A on coronaviruses". World Health Organization (WHO). Archived from the original on 20 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)". ArcGIS. Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  10. "Coronavirus Update (Live): 1001069 Cases and 51378 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Outbreak - Worldometer". Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  11. "Q & A on COVID-19". European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  12. "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Transmission". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  13. Velavan, T. P.; Meyer, C. G. (March 2020). "The COVID-19 epidemic". Tropical Medicine & International Health. n/a (n/a): 278–80. doi:10.1111/tmi.13383. PMID 32052514.
  14. "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11 February 2020. Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  15. Jin YH, Cai L, Cheng ZS, Cheng H, Deng T, Fan YP, et al. (February 2020). "A rapid advice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infected pneumonia (standard version)". Military Medical Research. 7 (1): 4. doi:10.1186/s40779-020-0233-6. PMC 7003341. PMID 32029004.
  16. "CT provides best diagnosis for COVID-19". ScienceDaily. 26 February 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  17. "Advice for public". World Health Organization (WHO). Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  18. "Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 24 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  19. CDC (11 February 2020). "2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  20. "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 15 February 2020. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  21. "Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)". World Health Organization (WHO). Archived from the original on 31 January 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  22. Mahtani, S.; Berger, M.; O'Grady, S.; Iati, M. (6 February 2020). "Hundreds of evacuees to be held on bases in California; Hong Kong and Taiwan restrict travel from mainland China". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  23. "WHO Situation Report #65" (PDF). WHO. 25 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)