Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus is mainly spread during close contact, and by small droplets produced when people cough, sneeze, or talk. These small droplets may be produced during breathing but the virus is not generally airborne. People may also catch COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then their face.
Preventive measures to reduce the chances of infection include staying at home, avoiding crowded places, washing hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds, practicing good respiratory hygiene and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. The CDC recommends covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and recommends using the inside of the elbow if no tissue is available. They also recommend proper hand hygiene after any cough or sneeze. Social distancing strategies aim to reduce contact of infected persons with large groups by closing schools and workplaces, restricting travel, and cancelling mass gatherings. Social distancing also includes that people stay at least six feet apart (1.83 meters). Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who believe they may be infected are advised by the CDC to stay home except to get medical care, call ahead before visiting a healthcare provider, wear a face mask before entering the healthcare provider's office and when in any room or vehicle with another person, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, regularly wash hands with soap and water, and avoid sharing personal household items. The CDC also recommends that individuals wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the toilet or when hands are visibly dirty, before eating and after blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing. It further recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol, but only when soap and water are not readily available.
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