How COVID-19 Spreads
The disease most likely spreads the same way as similar respiratory illnesses.
- To become sick, you have to be exposed to the virus. CDC defines exposure as being within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone with a confirmed infection for a prolonged period of time.
- Exposure can occur through respiratory droplets -- when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory viruses spread.
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 had direct close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Symptoms and Severity
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Illness can be severe and require hospitalization, but most individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications.
Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:
- Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80.
- People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, or diabetes.
- Older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk.
People at higher risk should take action now to be prepared for this virus if there is an outbreak in their community. CDC has the information you need if you are at higher-risk for COVID-19.
- 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. You can also report your symptoms to CDPHE’s symptom tracker to help public health slow the spread of COVID-19.