Arkansas State University - Newport

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About COVID-19

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
The most recent outbreak is of a novel coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
This new virus and its resulting disease, Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), were unknown before this outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Contact with respiratory droplets expelled by an infected person who is coughing and sneezing.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

How long does the virus live on surfaces?

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms such a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath typically appear 2-14 days after exposure; however, some sources suggest the incubation period may actually be longer.

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
  • Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
  • Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
  • Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

If you have been notified by public health authorities that you might have been exposed, please follow instructions provided by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The CDC recommends everyday prevention measures, including:

  • Getting a seasonal flu vaccination if possible. While it will not prevent the novel coronavirus, influenza is currently in widespread circulation, and initial symptoms can be similar to COVID-19.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Masks should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • Don’t share food or drinks.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, notify your doctor in advance and seek medical attention.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

What to do if you are not feeling well

Stay home when you are sick. Do not report to work or attend classes if you are ill. This is good advice no matter what illness is going around. Stay home, rest, and stay hydrated.

If you or someone in your household has a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, notify your doctor in advance and seek medical attention.