Virginia Tech®home


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China in December, 2019. The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS CoV-2, rapidly spread and COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, by the World Health Organization (WHO), in March 2020. Since that time hundreds of millions of infections have occurred leading to an unprecedented number of deaths, disabilities and economic hardships throughout the world. 

What is coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?

SARS CoV-2 is a member of the Coronavirus family of viruses that infect and cause disease in animals and humans. Seven coronaviruses infect humans, although most produce mild cold-like symptoms. SARS CoV-2 is one of three Coronavirus types that causes more severe respiratory illness. It also successfully mutates in order to remain viable.  

How can COVID-19 spread?

The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols. It is important to practice respiratory etiquette, for example by coughing into a flexed elbow, and to stay home and self-isolate until you recover if you feel unwell.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, or cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

How can COVID-19 be prevented?

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the disease and how the virus spreads. You can reduce your chances of becoming COVID positive by wearing a properly fitted mask, and washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently. Since 2020, several treatments, non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have been developed to mitigate the impact of SARS CoV-2 on individuals and our communities. Getting vaccinated is the most effective tool to reduce your risk to becoming COVID positive or experiencing serious symptoms.