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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This guide provides resources regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease. More content will be added as information and resources become available.

Definitions

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.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

New Coronavirus Disease Officially Named COVID-19 By The World Health Organization

The new coronavirus disease that was first identified in Wuhan has received an official name from the World Health Organization:  "COVID-19."

"COVI" comes from coronavirus. The "D" stands for disease. The 19 represents 2019, the year the virus was first identified, in December.

The name will apply for the "entire spectrum" of cases, from mild to severe, according to a WHO spokesperson.

World Health Organization

Additional Information

Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily does the virus spread?

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Data sources: WHO, CDC, ECDC

Misinformation on the coronavirus (COVID-19) death toll is spreading. Here are the facts:

Claim: ‘Face masks don’t work’

Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).

If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and caregiver should have a mask.

However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.

Claim: ‘It is mutating into a more deadly strain’

All viruses accumulate mutations over time and the virus that causes Covid-19 is no different. How widespread different strains of a virus become depends on natural selection – the versions that can propagate quickest and replicate effectively in the body will be the most “successful”. This doesn’t necessarily mean most dangerous for people though, as viruses that kill people rapidly or make them so sick that they are incapacitated may be less likely to be transmitted.

Genetic analysis by Chinese scientists of 103 samples of the virus, taken from patients in Wuhan and other cities, suggests that early on two main strains emerged, designated L and S. Although the L strain appeared to be more prevalent than the S strain (about 70% of the samples belonged to the former), the S branch of the virus was found to be the ancestral version.

The team behind this research suggested that this may indicate the L strain is more “aggressive”, either transmitting more easily or replicating faster inside the body. However, this theory is speculative at this stage – there haven’t yet been direct comparisons to see whether people who catch one version of the virus are more likely to pass it on or suffer more severe symptoms.

Claim: ‘It is no more dangerous than winter flu’

Many individuals who get coronavirus will experience nothing worse than seasonal flu symptoms, but the overall profile of the disease, including its mortality rate, looks more serious. At the start of an outbreak the apparent mortality rate can be an overestimate if a lot of mild cases are being missed. But Bruce Aylward, a WHO expert, who led an international mission to China to learn about the virus and the country’s response, said this has not been the case with Covid-19. The evidence did not suggest that we were only seeing the tip of the iceberg. If borne out by further testing, this could mean that current estimates of a roughly 1% fatality rate are accurate. This would make Covid-19 about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.

Claim: ‘It only kills the elderly, so younger people can relax’

Most people who are not elderly and do not have underlying health conditions will not become critically ill from Covid-19. But the illness still has a higher chance of leading to serious respiratory symptoms than seasonal flu and there are other at-risk groups – health workers, for instance, are more vulnerable because they are likely to have higher exposure to the virus. The actions that young, healthy people take, including reporting symptoms and following quarantine instructions, will have an important role in protecting the most vulnerable in society and in shaping the overall trajectory of the outbreak.

Claim: ‘You need to be with an infected person for 10 minutes’

For flu, some hospital guidelines define exposure as being within six feet of an infected person who sneezes or coughs for 10 minutes or longer. However, it is possible to be infected with shorter interactions or even by picking the virus up from contaminated surfaces, although this is thought to be a less common route of transmission.

Claim: ‘A vaccine could be ready within a few months’

Scientists were quick out of the gates in beginning development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus, helped by the early release of the genetic sequence by Chinese researchers. The development of a viable baccine continues apace, with several teams now testing candidates in animal experiments. However, the incremental trials required before a commercial vaccine could be rolled out are still a lengthy undertaking – and an essential one to ensure that even rare side-effects are spotted. A commercially available vaccine within a year would be quick.’

The Guardian


                          

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Before you travel, consider the following:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination?
    The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return.
  • Do you live with someone who might be more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
    If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Are you more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? 
    Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers?
    Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information  for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.

    If You Travel

    During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Traveling Abroad? Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.

Centers for Disease Control

Updated September 24, 2020

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and its partners continue to track the unfolding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and anticipate its impact on Nebraska and its health care system. 

Nebraska Case Information

  • Total number of positive cases – 42,278
  • Cases that tested negative – 392,091
  1. All returning travelers, from any international or domestic location, should assume that COVID-19 disease is present at the locations they have visited and traveled through.
  2. All returning travelers, from any international or domestic location, should limit public interactions, practice strict social distancing, and self-monitor for symptoms.

Deaths 

According to DHHS, there have been 477 deaths in Nebraska related to COVID-19. 

Covid-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person. The virus travels through the droplets a person produces when talking or coughing, An individual does not need to feel sick or show symptoms to spread the submicroscopic virus. Close contact means within about six feet

Community transmission of COVID-19 has been identified in several areas of the state. Community transmission is when people have COVID-19 but public health officials are unable to identify how or where they became infected.

Department of Health and Human Services

 

At the Douglas County Health Department there's a hotline to answer your questions, as the CDC provides updates. The number is 402-444-3400. Questions can be answered in English and Spanish. For questions that are beyond the volunteer’s knowledge, there is an expert on site at the call center.

The Health Department is also planning for all possible situations.

NET Nebraska

 

As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. School-based health facilities may refer to CDC’s Guidance for U.S. Healthcare Facilities and may find it helpful to reference the Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively During the COVID-19 Pandemic. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply.

Preparing for a Safe Return to School: The latest science on transmission risk, and the costs and benefits of opening schools

The more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in school settings as follows:

  • Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
  • More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
  • Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.

Centers for Disease Control

 

The Nebraska Department of Education has a Launch Nebraska website that will provide guidance on districts returning to in-person instruction.

Launch Nebraska

What does it mean to be a Coronavirus "Long-Hauler"?

"Long-haulers" are people who experience symptoms weeks or even months after having the virus.

According to one report, most people fall into one of two groups when it comes to the virus. Approximately 80% of those with COVID-19 end up having a mild response and most of those cases resolve in about two weeks. For people who have a severe response to the virus, it can take between three and six weeks to recover.

But now, there is growing concern over a separate group who don’t seem to fall into either of those categories. A number of people are now reporting lingering symptoms of the illness for one, two or even three months. This new group is mixed with those who experienced both mild and severe cases. As health experts step in to try to manage these patients and learn more, many are referring to this group as coronavirus “long-haulers” or “long-termers.”

Long-lasting symptoms are fairly similar to what people experience in the acute phase of the illness, but typically not as severe. It often includes: coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and diarrhea. But perhaps the most significant symptom that is being seen across the board in coronavirus long-haulers is fatigue. Often times this group feels very run down and tired. They can’t exert themselves or exercise and simple tasks (like walking to the mailbox) will often leave them feeling exhausted. Chronic fatigue like we’re seeing in this group can be incredibly debilitating and frustrating.

Typically after having an active infection like COVID-19, the contagiousness goes away after a few weeks and you start to recover. We less commonly see persistent fevers in this group, which hints that they probably aren’t infectious months later, but it can vary. Long-haulers should work with their doctor to determine a treatment plan and monitoring program so that they can receive patient-specific advice about isolation, how they can interact with their contacts and how to manage their symptoms.

Most health systems are starting to form monitoring programs for these patients. There is a lot of collaboration and research happening as more data is collected and we start to piece together the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body. Most programs are geared towards managing acute symptoms and provides patients with resources and support. Many long-haulers aren’t admitted, so specialists from primary care, pulmonology, infectious disease and even mental health touch base with these patients periodically (depending on the patient’s medical history and the severity of the long-lasting symptoms). The team is there to identify symptoms that worsen and get them to the right level of care. We’re also seeing that depression and anxiety are big issues for these long-haulers, so checking in to see how they’re doing is another important aspect in the monitoring program.

Cleveland Clinic Health Library

 

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