There are four types of coronaviruses that are common in humans and often cause mild to moderate illness like the common cold. Coronaviruses are common in many species of animals, and usually cannot be transmitted to humans. Occasionally, there are coronaviruses that have not been found in humans before and cause more severe illness such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). To protect yourself from getting coronaviruses: wash, your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill. For more information on coronaviruses:
World Health Organization on Coronavirus
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a coronavirus that has not been found to occur in humans prior to being identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.
Different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. The United States nationally is currently in the initiation phases, but states where community spread is occurring are in the acceleration phase. The duration and severity of each phase can vary depending on the characteristics of the virus and the public health response.
Novel Coronavirus and You – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet
Personal Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)