What is COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from mild diseases, such as a cold, to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia. Recently, a new coronavirus was detected that had not been previously seen in humans. The disease, called COVID-19, can be spread from person to person. There are no vaccines or specific treatments available for COVID-19, however medicine and vaccine research is underway. Due to widespread community transmission, every New Yorker is advised to closely monitor their health, practice social distancing, and stay at home as much as possible. For more information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit NYC's Health website on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Symptoms of COVID-19 commonly include fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover without complications. Less commonly, COVID-19 may lead to pneumonia, hospitalization or dealth.

People who are at most risk for severe illness are older adults or those who have chronic health conditions, such as:

  • Lung disease
  • Heart diease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • A weakened immune system

General Prevention Guidance

In general, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has issued the following guidance to help New Yorkers stay healthy:

  • Stay home. All New Yorkers-healthy or sick-need to stay home. You should only leave your home for essential tasks, such as work (if you cannot work from home), getting groceries and supplies or essential medical care. Try to use delivery services when possible.

    • When you must go out for essential tasks or solitary exercise, keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and others and wear a face covering

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds every time or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Do not touch your face unless you recently washed your hands.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.

  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave.

  • If you are an older adult or have any of the chronic health conditions listed above, avoid all unnecessary gatherings and events.

  • Avoid crowded spaces.

  • Private employers should allow employees to work from home or stagger their work hours.

More information on NYC DOHMH guidance with regard to COVID-19 can be found at visit NYC Health's website on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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