Frequently Asked Questions

Provided by the New Jersey Department of Health


What is a novel coronavirus?

Novel (meaning “new”) coronavirus is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness in some people.


How does novel coronavirus spread?

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
  • In rare cases, contact with feces (poop)

How severe is novel coronavirus?

Health experts are still learning about the illness caused by the new virus. People infected have had illness that has ranged from mild (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires medical care in a hospital. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.


What are the symptoms?

People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have symptoms that may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.


Who is at risk for novel coronavirus?

Currently, there is a widespread outbreak in Wuhan, China. At this time, the risk in the U.S. to the general public is low. At this time, there are a small number of cases in the U.S. To limit the risk of spread, health officials are working with healthcare providers to promptly identify and evaluate anyone they think may have the virus. Travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. Latest travel guidance from the CDC.


How can I prevent from getting novel coronavirus?

If you are traveling overseas (to China, but also to other places) follow the CDC’s guidance. Right now the novel coronavirus has not been spreading widely in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public. Currently there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing

How is novel coronavirus treated?

There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some people develop pneumonia and need medical care or treatment in a hospital.


Frequently Asked Questions provided by the CDC

More details provided by the New Jersey Department of Health.