When it comes to the coronavirus, it's important to understand how it spreads and how to protect yourself from it. The virus is spread through tiny droplets or particles called aerosols that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, or breathes. These particles can travel up to 6 feet and can remain in the air for up to 3 hours. When these particles are inhaled, they enter healthy cells and begin to multiply.
The virus is most commonly spread through close contact with an infected person, such as when talking at a conversational distance. It can also be spread through droplet transmission, which occurs when infectious particles come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 519.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 worldwide and more than 6.2 million people have died from the disease. In the United States, 82.6 percent of adults and children 5 and older have received at least one vaccine and 70.4 percent are fully vaccinated.
While most children have mild symptoms or no symptoms, some have become seriously ill. Even if children don't have symptoms, they can still transmit the virus to other people. The risk of spreading COVID-19 increases with close contact and in indoor spaces. Droplet transmission is also possible if infectious particles come into contact with surfaces that are then touched by someone else. To flatten the curve of infections, public health experts have recommended adhering to strict guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing. If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should see your healthcare provider.
The CDC also has a coronavirus self-verifier that can help you determine if you should seek help. It's important to rely only on information from reputable organizations and health sources such as the CDC and WHO. If you have COVID-19, tell your close contacts so they can follow CDC guidelines for close contacts. Cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly can also help prevent the spread of the virus. By informing your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and others within your community.