About the COVID-19 Outbreak


What is COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease that is a strain of Coronavirus. "Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19."

WHOs Frequently Asked Questions

How does it spread?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus spreads "from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick."

But can't the virus spread through the air? Studies suggest that it spreads through respiratory droplets from infected persons' nose or mouth rather than through the air.

Can someone with no symptoms spread the virus? The risk of contracting the illness from someone with no symptoms is relatively low; however, many people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, particularly in the early stages of the disease (i.e. mild cough). Those with mild symptoms can spread the virus.

As more information arises, WHO will continue to share updated findings.

What are the symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "[t]he most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention."

How do we inhibit the spread of the virus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests:

  1. Frequent Handwashing
  2. Maintaining social distancing
  3. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  4. Practicing respiratory hygeine
  5. Seeking medical attention early if you have fever, coughing and difficulty breathing
  6. Heeding your physician's advice

The WHO also suggests the following if you traveled to one of the areas where COVID-19 is spreading:

  1. Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.
  2. If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. 

Additionally, University Health Services recommends adhering to these guidelines.

Stay Up-to-Date! 

Local Updates

To stay abreast of the latest health advisory information for the Cal community, visit the University Health Services website.

National Updates

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19's impact within the United States, check the Center for Disease Control's Cases in the U.S. page

Global Updates

For more information on COVID-19's global impact, visit the Center for Disease Control's Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Global Map.