Coronavirus Disease 2019 commonly called COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that was first reported from Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Since that time the disease has caused multiple large epidemics in every country throughout the world. While the disease is called COVID-19, the virus is called SARS-CoV-2 and is defined by the signs and symptoms of the illness.
The illness has a wide range of reported symptoms that may include fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, loss of taste or smell, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While most people will have mild to moderate illness, some will develop severe illness with persistent high fever, shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or the inability to stay awake.
Severe illness often requires long term hospitalization and can lead to death. Since the first cases were found in Tarrant County in March 2020, the illness has gone on to be the third leading cause of death in the county behind only heart disease and stroke.
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses or mouth. It is also possible that it can contaminate surfaces. If you are infected with COVID-19, you can still spread the virus, even if you do not have any symptoms.
There are a wide range of symptoms that can range from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Staying up-to-date with vaccines helps to lessen the severity of COVID-19. There are two types of vaccine technology available: mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and the protein subunit (Novavax). Want to know if you are up-to-date? Visit CDC's Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines.
Treatments and medications are also available. To find locations or learn more about COVID-19 treatments and medications, see the CDC's webpage.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, please take precautions such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and get testing at least five full days after your last exposure, even if you do not have symptoms. You can still develop COVID-19 up to 10 days after you have been exposed.
If you have caught COVID-19, we recommend for you to stay home for at least 5 days and isolate yourself from others in your home. If you must leave your house, wear a mask when around others. See the CDC's Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 to learn more.