About COVID-19

Last updated 10/21/2020

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Things to remember

It is normal to be scared, distressed, or angry when you hear about a disease outbreak. Be careful not to turn fear and anger towards people who have become sick. Ask yourself:

  • Would you think or do the same thing if this was a different infectious disease, like the flu?
  • Does what I’m doing make people safer or does it create more fear or harm? 

    The risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected with race, ethnicity, or nationality. Blaming others will not help fight the illness. Seeking and sharing accurate information will.

    Recognize signs of stress in yourself. Identify what you are afraid of. Figure out if what you fear is something that you can address right now. If not, know what activities help you release energy from stress and fear, such as physical activity, listening to music, or talking with someone you trust. Do something that puts you in a positive mood.

    How COVID-19 spreads

    The most common way COVID-19 spreads is through respiratory droplets or small particles during close contact with someone who is already infected.

    • Person-to-person contact:   
      • People are at greatest risk when they have direct contact with or spend time near a person while they are infectious with COVID-19. Read more about what counts as close contact.

      • Exposure can occur through respiratory droplets -- when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, or talks. This is similar to how flu and other respiratory viruses spread.

    Although much less common, COVID-19 can also spread through airborne transmission or direct contact with infected surfaces or objects.

    • Airborne transmission 
      • Sometimes smaller respiratory droplets can remain in the air for up to several hours and can travel on air currents farther than six feet. Airborne transmission occurs when droplets or small particles carrying the virus remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 6 feet away from the person with COVID-19.
      • Airborne transmission has occurred when a person with COVID-19 was participating in an activity that increased the number of respiratory particles they produce, like singing or exercising.
      • This type of exposure usually occurs indoors in spaces with poor ventilation.
    • Infected surfaces or objects:  
      • It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes.   

    For these reasons, people at increased risk of infection are:  

    • People who have been to areas where widespread community transmission is occurring. 
    • People who spent time in a poorly ventilated area with someone who has COVID-19.
    • People who spent time in large groups or crowded areas.
    • People who had direct close contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

    Symptoms and severity

    • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

      • Fever or chills

      • Cough

      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

      • Fatigue

      • Muscle or body aches

      • Headache

      • New loss of taste or smell

      • Sore throat

      • Congestion or runny nose

      • Nausea or vomiting

      • Diarrhea

    • Illness can be severe and require hospitalization, but most individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications.

    Higher-risk people

    • Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:
    • ​Everyone's daily preventive actions are important in reducing spread to people who may experience more severe illness.

    If you are sick

    It is important to call ahead before going to see a doctor or emergency room to prevent the spread of illness. Tell them your symptoms and that you suspect you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 or had recent travel to a place that is experiencing community spread.


    Coloradans perceptions of COVID-19

    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released results from a survey asking Coloradans about their perceptions and attitudes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 45,000 Coloradans completed the survey between March 22 and March 24, 2020.