What is COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel coronavirus.  COVID-19 is an abbreviation for "coronavirus disease 2019," according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  This coronavirus is also sometimes called "SARS-CoV-2."  All three things mean more or less the same thing.

For more information check out this page on the CDC's website:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html

Also check out this cool video by Kurtzgesagt:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtN-goy9VOY&t=96s

What is a novel virus?

A novel virus is a new virus that hasn't been seen in humans before.

Am I at risk?

People who are at the most risk are over the age of 65 or who have certain medical conditions like heart disease, COPD, Diabetes, and auto-immune disorders.  But perfectly healthy people can get very sick from COVID-19.  


Even if you don't get sick, if you get the virus, you can give it to other people.   That is why it is very important to stay safe and to stay at home.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Some people get the virus and never get sick.  When people get sick, many have the following symptoms 2-14 days after being near someone who has the virus:

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Repeated shaking with chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

If you have emergency warning signs, get help from a doctor right away:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Pain or pressure in your chest

  • New confusion or trouble waking up

  • Bluish lips or face

This is what the CDC website says: 


The state of Wisconsin has a handy online tool to help you decide if you need to get  tested for COVID-19.  Visit the following webpage:  https://www.wihealthconnect.com/

How do I stay safe?

  • Social distancing

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water

  • Avoid touching your face

  • Clean and Sanitize your home

  • If you go out, take a shower and wash your clothes as soon as you get home

  • Info about Masks, Gloves, etc

What is social Distancing?

Social distancing means trying to stay away from other people as much as you can:

  • Stay home as much as possible

  • Don't run errands with your whole family

  • Stay at least six feet away from other people

  • Try not to touch things other people have touched

How long will the Quarantine/Stay at Home/Safer at Home order last?

Right now, nobody is really sure.  Some people think it could end as early as April 12th.  Most scientists predict that it could last a few months, perhaps even into summer.  Things are changing very quickly, and everyone is doing their best to keep up.

What does "flatten the curve" mean?

The coronavirus is spreading very quickly.  This can be shown with a graph that has steep sides like a mountain.  Many scientists are worried that if too many people are sick at the same time, then hospitals wont be able to keep up with all the new cases and many people could die.


If we can use social distancing, hand washing, and other things to prevent the virus from spreading so quickly, the graph will look less like a mountain and more like a small hill.  The outbreak might last longer, but hospitals will be able to care for everyone so that more people can get better.