What you should know about COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).
Please note extended appeal deadlines for COVID-19 care are no longer available. Consult with your employer and visit the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) website at dol.gov for more information and additional notices about deadline extensions. We monitor the DOL and other federal guidance. We follow the federal guidance if we are required to apply it to your plan.
COVID-19 is a novel, or new, variation of a virus in the coronavirus family. COVID-19 is not the same as other coronaviruses you might be familiar with, like those that cause the common cold. Other more serious coronaviruses caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 is an emerging virus that has not been seen before. Health care professionals and researchers are closely following the outbreak and learning more about the virus. This will help us all understand how to help people with COVID-19 and how to prevent further spread.
COVID-19 symptoms are like other viral infections, including:
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
When to seek emergency medical attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a Coronavirus Self-Checker that can help you understand options for care. It is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
- The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths).
- It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
- These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.
- It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness.
- Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Continue to manage your disease the way your healthcare provider has told you.
- Have at least a 2-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Call your healthcare provider
- if you have any concerns about your medical conditions, or if you get sick.
- to find out about different ways you can connect with your healthcare provider for chronic disease management or other conditions.
- Continue to practice
- Wash your hands often, avoid close contact, wear a mask, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.