Coronaviruses (CoVs) are part of a large family of viruses that cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to much more dangerous diseases such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This is a new strain of coronavirus that was unknown before it appeared in China in 2019.
COVID-19 infection is mild in 80% of cases and most of the time asymptomatic.
Symptoms can vary from moderate to severe respiratory tract infection:
- Fever, cough and fatigue.
- Sore throat, headache or muscle and joint pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Loss of sense of smell and/or taste, and possible skin rashes.
Elderly people or people with pre-existing chronic diseases (co-morbidities) are more vulnerable and may develop serious or even fatal complications.
The period between contamination and the appearance of the first symptoms is maximum 21 days.
COVID-19 is transmitted from an infected person, even if asymptomatic, to another person through respiratory droplets expelled through the nose or mouth when that person coughs or sneezes.
In addition, infected droplets can remain active on surfaces or objects for several days. You can get the disease if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after being in contact with these surfaces.