Novel coronavirus – COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Department of Health | State of Louisiana

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

This information will be updated once daily at noon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Office of Public Health continue to closely monitor this outbreak.

All information on this website reflects the most current information provided to the State. It is subject to change further investigations, and will be updated accordingly.

About Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with recent outbreaks of MERS and SARS.

Risk and Guidance for the Public

To minimize the risk of spread, Louisiana officials are advising the public to practice social distancing by not gathering with large groups of people. Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana and introduce the virus to new communities.

Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a stay at home order for Louisiana residents. Click here to read the full order.

  • Stay home unless it is necessary to go to work or get necessities.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Wash your hands.

For a list of additional guidance for the public click here.

Questions about Coronavirus?

If you have questions about coronavirus, please contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing dial 211. Or, you can text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for the most current information about the outbreak as it becomes available.

Stressed about COVID-19? We're here to talk.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, fear and anxiety about the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, there is a special Keeping Calm through COVID Hotline you can call. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.

Call 1-866-310-7977 24/7

Trained counselors available 24/7. All calls are confidential.


For confirmed infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms (similar to the common cold) to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

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:

  • Through respiratory droplets produced when coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes


What’s the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

HOUSTON – The World Health Organization announced “COVID-19” as the name of the 2019 novel coronavirus on February 11.

CO stands for corona while the letter V is for virus, and 19 represents the year 2019.

World Health Organization was in communication with the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) regarding the names of the virus and disease.

On February 11, ICTV announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus.

“Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names,” experts with the World Health Organization explained. “For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.”

COVID-19 or coronavirus is the disease responsible for the virus called SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

What are the symptoms?

Fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and trouble breathing are some of the most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties,” the World Health Organization says.

“More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with preexisting medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”

How can you protect yourself?

In general, the public should do “what you do every cold and flu season,” said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state.

That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Don't forget to wash the backs of your hands and under your nails, the CDC says.

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

If you're the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don't use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.

While the CDC does not recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public, it does recommend them for health care workers.

But certain types of facial hair can prevent respirators from working effectively. The CDC has an infographic showing which styles of facial hair are riskier than others.

Why is this coronavirus different?

There are many kinds of coronaviruses, including some that cause the common cold.

But this deadly strain is called a “novel” coronavirus because it has not previously been identified in humans.

It's unusual for several reasons:

— Scientists believe this type of coronavirus jumped from a different animal to humans, which is rare.

— It then became transmissible from human to human, which is even more rare.

— An infected person might not show symptoms for up to 14 days after exposure. That’s especially worrisome because this novel coronavirus can be transmitted while a person still isn’t showing any symptoms.

Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.


Safety and Health Topics | COVID-19 | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

This webpage provides information for workers and employers about the evolving coronavirus outbreak first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The information includes links to interim guidance and other resources for preventing exposures to, and infection with, the novel coronavirus—now officially named COVID-19.

According to the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in confirmed human infections in China and a growing number of other countries, including the United States. Infected patients have also spread the virus to healthcare workers. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC's COVID-19 webpage.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is now a pandemic, meaning a global outbreak of disease. On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading 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.

Different parts of the United States are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. U.S. COVID-19 cases include those among travelers, cases among close contacts of a known case, and community spread. Many types of workers may have similar exposure risks as other members of the general American public.

Exposure risk may be elevated for workers who interact with potentially infected individuals, including those involved in:

  • Healthcare
  • Deathcare
  • Laboratories
  • Airline operations
  • Border protection
  • Solid waste and wastewater management
  • Travel to areas where the virus is spreading

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 as the outbreak investigation continues. Infected people can spread COVID-19 through their respiratory secretions, especially when they cough or sneeze.

According to the CDC, spread from person-to-person is most ly among close contacts (about 6 feet).

Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unknown if 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.

In addition to this OSHA guidance, employers and workers should consult interim CDC guidance specific to COVID-19. CDC also provides tips on what the general public should do during the ongoing outbreak.


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information and guidance as it becomes available.

  • Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
    • On March 16, the White House announced a program called “15 Days to Slow the Spread,”pdf iconexternal icon which is a nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the implementation of social distancing at all levels of society.
    • Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
    • If you are a healthcare provider, use your judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Factors to consider in addition to clinical symptoms may include:
      • Does the patient have recent travel from an affected area?
      • Has the patient been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or with patients with pneumonia of unknown cause?
      • Does the patient reside in an area where there has been community spread of COVID-19?
    • If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
    • People who get a fever or cough should consider whether they might have COVID-19, depending on where they live, their travel history or other exposures. More than half of the U.S. is seeing some level of community spread of COVID-19. Testing for COVID-19 may be accessed through medical providers or public health departments, but there is no treatment for this virus. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. 
    • For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
    • If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a ly single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.

Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread.

Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.

Learn more about the spread of this newly emerged coronavirus.

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death.

While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases.

Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

A CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report that looked at severity of disease among COVID-19 cases in the United States by age group found that 80% of deaths were among adults 65 years and older with the highest percentage of severe outcomes occurring in people 85 years and older.

Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Pandemic

A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. On March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the WHOexternal icon.

This is the first pandemic known to be caused by a new coronavirus. In the past century, there have been four pandemics caused by the emergence of new influenza viruses.

As a result, most research and guidance around pandemics is specific to influenza, but the same premises can be applied to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemics of respiratory disease follow a certain progression outlined in a “Pandemic Intervals Framework.

” Pandemics begin with an investigation phase, followed by recognition, initiation, and acceleration phases. The peak of illnesses occurs at the end of the acceleration phase, which is followed by a deceleration phase, during which there is a decrease in illnesses.

Different countries can be in different phases of the pandemic at any point in time and different parts of the same country can also be in different phases of a pandemic.

Source: CDC’s “Updated Preparedness and Response Framework for Influenza Pandemics.”.

Risk depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness) and the relative success of these. In the absence of vaccine or treatment medications, nonpharmaceutical interventions become the most important response strategy. These are community interventions that can reduce the impact of disease.

The risk from COVID-19 to Americans can be broken down into risk of exposure versus risk of serious illness and death.

Risk of exposure:

  • The immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans, but as the outbreak expands, that risk will increase. Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with level of risk dependent on where they traveled.

Risk of Severe Illness:

Early information China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

What May Happen

More cases of COVID-19 are ly to be identified in the United States in the coming days, including more instances of community spread. CDC expects that widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur. In the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus.

Widespread transmission of COVID-19 could translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, and workplaces, may experience more absenteeism. Mass gatherings may be sparsely attended or postponed.

Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and sectors of the transportation industry may also be affected.

Healthcare providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.

Nonpharmaceutical interventions will be the most important response strategy to try to delay the spread of the virus and reduce the impact of disease.

CDC Response

Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on lessening the spread and impact of this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat.

Highlights of CDC’s Response

  • CDC established a COVID-19 Incident Management System on January 7, 2020. On January 21, CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to better provide ongoing support to the COVID-19 response.
  • The U.S. government has taken unprecedented steps with respect to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus:
    • Foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland and any one of the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area within the past 14 days cannot enter the United States.
    • U.S. citizens, residents, and their immediate family members who have been any one of those countries within in the past 14 days can enter the United States, but they are subject to health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days.
    • People at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
    • CDC has issued additional specific travel guidance related to COVID-19.
  • CDC has issued clinical guidance, including:
  • CDC has deployed multidisciplinary teams to support state health departments in case identification, contact tracing, clinical management, and public communications.
  • CDC has worked with federal partners to support the safe return of Americans overseas who have been affected by COVID-19.

This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories.

  • An important part of CDC’s role during a public health emergency is to develop a test for the pathogen and equip state and local public health labs with testing capacity.
    • CDC developed an rRT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19.
    • As of the evening of March 17, 89 state and local public health labs in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have successfully verified and are currently using CDC COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
    • Commercial manufacturers are now producing their own tests.
  • CDC has grown the COVID-19 virus in cell culture, which is necessary for further studies, including for additional genetic characterization. The cell-grown virus was sent to NIH’s BEI Resources Repositoryexternal icon for use by the broad scientific community.
  • CDC also is developing a serology test for COVID-19.

Other Available Resources

The following resources are available with information on COVID-19

  • World Health Organization, Coronavirusexternal icon


Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

NEW: Coping with COVID-19 Stress

Find Local Resources

Living with uncertainty during the outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful for everyone.  Health, financial and other concerns can increase anxiety. Things that were normal a few weeks ago are no longer the norm.

Physical distancing (also called social distancing) makes it impossible to see friends or visit family in person.  At this time, we need to adopt “distant socializing”, which involves the creative use of technology, phone lines and the mail to connect. But it’s not the same.

 The Vermont Department of Mental Health has compiled some tips to help us get through this unsettling time.

Get the Facts

What we know about COVID-19 is rapidly changing. Misinformation spreads fast. We need trustworthy information from reliable sources :

  • Vermont Department of Health
  • Centers for Disease Control

It helps to limit our exposure to media sources or social media that lead to fear or panic.

Be kind to yourself

The COVID-19 outbreak can add to existing daily challenges. It is normal for an outbreak to be stressful. Let’s be kind to ourselves when feelings of anxiety or isolation increase.  We can treat ourselves as kindly as we treat loved ones. Interrupt negative thoughts by thinking about an accomplishment or something nice we did for someone else.

Identify the source of your anxiety

This may seem ridiculous. Obviously, it’s COVID-19. But what specifically is worrying? Is it the uncertainty, the health risk to ourselves or our loved ones, or our financial burdens? Identifying specific concerns can help us get distance and feel less overwhelmed.

Let your anxiety be a unifying force

So, we’ve recognized things are uncertain, acknowledged our specific worries, now what? Mental health experts recommend connecting with others, asking for what we need and offering help.

Use technology to make connections. A simple phone call or an online meet-up ( FaceTime, Skype or Zoom) with family or friends can be supportive and ease loneliness.

Or join Front Porch Forum to help people in your community or post your own request.

Self-Care is Key

Taking time for ourselves is even harder when faced with an emergency. It may feel just one more thing to do. But taking a walk, practicing stress reduction techniques, yoga or mindfulness, or reading a fun book or article can shift our mood. It can also strengthen our immune system.

Maintain Healthy Routines

COVID-19 and concerns about getting sick change our daily routines. Having our day-to-day practices disrupted or even ended for a while can be a source of anxiety. Starting today, we can create new routines that support our well-being.

Begin the day with a walk outside or a workout, build in healthy breaks throughout the day, and then choose fun evening activities watching a movie, writing in a journal, playing a musical instrument or a game, and of course, talking with friends and family on the phone or an online platform.

Adding fun activities and exercise to our new routines can help alleviate isolation and disruption.

Domestic Violence Resources

What if you are isolated (or quarantined) with your abuser? Reach out for the help you need. Law enforcement are continuing to respond to calls. Hotlines and shelters will remain open. Contact the Vermont Network for more information about your local organization.

  • Vermont Network
  • Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395
  • Vermont Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • If you’re unable to speak safely: Log onto or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • If you are in an emergency situation: Call 911

More Resources


Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Department of Health

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Last Updated: March 30, 2020 at 4:25PM

  • Governor Cuomo has directed the state nonessential workforce to continue to work from home for an additional two weeks through April 15th.
  • In-person workforce restrictions, which have been implemented through various executive orders are also extended until April 15th.
  • Statewide school closures are extended by two weeks until April 15.
  • The first 1,000-bed temporary hospital at the Javits Center is open and accepting patients.
  • Public and private hospitals will implement a new balanced approach to fighting COVID-19 where hospitals that are beginning to reach or exceed capacity can transfer patients to other hospitals that are not as full.
  • NYS Department of Health will work with statewide healthcare systems to share Information about supplies among hospitals.
  • There is a new mobile testing site at the Bay Plaza AMC Theater at 2210 Bartow Ave in the Bronx. Site hours are Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm. Appointment only.
  • Pharmacies have agreed to offer free home delivery to help reduce long lines for prescriptions at their facilities.
  • The NYS's Wadsworth Lab has developed a new test for COVID-19, which is done through a saliva sample and a self-administered short nasal swab.
  • Three new sites have been identified to serve as a place for emergency beds – South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx and Health Alliance in Ulster County – adding 695 more beds.
  • The federal government has approved four new sites for temporary hospitals – the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack facility in Queens, CUNY Staten Island and the New York Expo Center in the Bronx – adding an additional 4,000 beds.
  • New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.
  • New Yorkers without Health Insurance can apply through NY State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles offices are temporarily closed for in-office visits. Online transactions, including for license renewals, are still be available. License and permit expirations will be extended.
  • Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.
  • Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.  

This guidance applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation.

Support New York's response. New York State is doing all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. But we’re stronger if we all work together.

Sign up for email updates from New York State with critical information on the Coronavirus pandemic.

County-by-County Breakdown of Positive Cases Around New York State Governor Cuomo confirmed 6,984 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 66,497 confirmed cases in New York State.


Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

Novel coronavirus - COVID-19

Background: A new strain of coronavirus causing pneumonia- symptoms was recently identified in Wuhan, China, marking the beginning of the spread of the virus across the globe.

Coronaviruses (CoV), so named for their “crown-” appearance, are a large family of viruses that spread from animals to humans and include diseases Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Researchers have now confirmed that the virus can spread via human-to-human transmission, though the original source of the virus has not been identified. Un other coronaviruses, COVID-19 has a much larger global spread and has infected more individuals than SARS and MERS combined.

1. Latest Updates

2. Latest ASM Updates
3. COVID-19 Toolkit
4. Interview with Dr. Stanley Perlman
5. ASM Resources
6. Other Resources
7. Coronavirus Experts

Latest Updates: 

  • Monday, March 30: The U.S. has more than 140,000 coronavirus cases reported. Worldwide, there are more than 730,000 reported cases of COVID-19. More than 156,000 people have recovered and 35,000 have died.
  • Wednesday, March 25: There are now more than 430,000 reported cases of COVID-19 globally. More than 110,000 people have recovered and close to 20,000 people have died of COVID-19.
  • Tuesday, March 24: The FDA allows treatment of life-threatening COVID-19 cases with convalescent plasma.
  • Tuesday, March 17: ASM issued a statement commending the FDA for their new guidance to increase COVID-19 testing capacity
  • Monday, March 16: The CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
  • Wednesday, March 11: The World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging that the virus will ly spread to all countries on the globe.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: The FDA took steps to expand novel coronavirus testing to hospital clinical microbiology laboratories.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26: NIH scientists began a randomized controlled trial of the antiviral drug remdesivir that had been developed for Ebola, on a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2. This is the first clinical trial in the U.S. for an experimental treatment for COVID-19.
  • Friday, Jan. 24: The CDC had confirmed 2 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. – in Snohomish County, WA and Chicago – in individuals who have visited Wuhan. The CDC has identified 63 patients under investigation, 11 of whom have tested negative for the virus. The CDC has reported no additional cases after screening over 2,000 people from 200 flights in 5 airports. Emerging data suggests the virus incubates for approximately 2 weeks.
  • Thursday, Jan. 30, WHO Declared Coronavirus A Global Health Emergency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now screening passengers arriving from Wuhan on entry at multiple international airports.

This situation is ongoing and evolving, and we will continue to update as information becomes available.

Robin Patel, M.D.

, President of ASM, Chair of the Division of Clinical Microbiology and Director of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

Latest ASM Updates:

ASM hosted a remote international summit on COVID-19 on Monday, March 23, 2020 featuring a distinguished group of microbiologists – expert virologists, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists and clinical laboratory scientists.


ASM is providing free access to COVID-19 articles in ASM’s 16 scholarly journals to support research efforts and communications about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

 ASM has also committed to making all of its COVID19 and coronavirus related publications, and the available data supporting them, immediately accessible in PubMed Central (PMC) and other public repositories.

ASM Journals are also expediting review for submitted papers related to coronavirus, ensuring that the new research is quickly made available to the scientific community. 

ASM's latest press releases include: 

ASM Leadership Speaks to the Media about COVID-19:

TIME Magazine: Responding to Coronavirus Testing Problems, U.S. Government Expands Number of Labs That Can Run Tests​

The Washington Post: New FDA Policy will Expand Coronavirus Testing Featuring Dr. Melissa Miller, Chair of ASM's Clinical and Public Health Microbiology Committee
NPR: Coronavirus Test Kits Spread Through U.S. — And With Them, An Uptick In Cases
The Wall Street Journal, Opinion: How a Boy’s Blood Stopped an Outbreak By Arturo Casadevall, Governors Chair of ASM's American Academy of Microbiology

To speak with an expert on coronavirus, please email

COVID-19 Toolkit

Speaking about coronavirus in your community? Need to explain COVID-19 to the public? Download our one-pager that includes key facts about how COVID-19 is spread and how people can protect themselves.

What is COVID-19?

What is COVID-19? (slides)

What to Know about the New Coronavirus

Stanley Perlman, M.D., Ph.D., an American Academy of Microbiology fellow, an ASM member and professor at the University of Iowa, talks about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Feb. 28:

What is the significance of community transmission, and does this mean we should be more vigilant?

Absolutely, we need to be vigilant. Community transmission means that it readily spreads from person-to-person even outside of healthcare settings.”  

Is this truly a public health emergency, especially compared with other outbreaks in the past?​ 

As the number of cases continue to increase, public health authorities will need to enact measures to decrease spread. We have not had an infection in the past in which the population was highly susceptible and mortality was 2-3%.”  

What is the status on a treatment and/or vaccine?

“Specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 treatments and vaccines are not available and will not be for at least a few months.”

Feb. 4:

Is there any indication that those who have had another coronavirus (SARS, MERS or even the cold-causing CoVs) would have natural immunity to COVID-19


“No, those who have had SARS infection might have some protection but this is completely unknown.”

What does the higher rate of cases and lower number of reported deaths indicate about this disease versus other coronaviruses?

“It shows that the virus is more easily transmissible and fortunately is much less ly to cause severe disease. This probably occurs because so many COVID-19 cases involve the upper airways and less so the lungs.”

Jan. 28:

What is a coronavirus? How does it compare to other types of viruses ( the common cold or flu)?


“Cold and flu and coronaviruses are all RNA viruses (rather than DNA). Coronaviruses contain the largest genomic RNA in terms of any virus. We don’t know yet if/how this novel virus is different from other human pathogenic coronaviruses, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

  In the past, coronaviruses were studied primarily in domestic and companion animals, until the first outbreak (SARS) in 2003. While we don’t know if this novel virus is different from SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, it does seem to behave more SARS-CoV. All 3 cause severe human respiratory disease and have higher rates of mortality than the influenza or other respiratory viruses.”

Why is human-to-human transmission significant?

  “A lot of diseases don’t reach a broader audience or get as much attention because many viruses go from animals to people but are not transmitted to other humans (e.g. EEE). If a virus can spread from human to human, then to be infected, a person doesn’t need to be around the zoonotic source that caused the initial infection. Efficient human-to-human spread is a major concern because no one is immune to this new coronavirus.”  

Do we know the source of the outbreak?


“This virus is 95% the same as a virus already identified in bats. SARS-CoV was a bat virus that ly had an intermediate host and MERS-CoV crosses from camels to infect humans. It’s ly this new coronavirus originated in bats. 

  It is important to know an outbreak source because then one can stop transmission to humans. Elimination of exposure to bats, for example, would minimize new bat-to-human transmission.”  

What is the importance of early testing for COVID-19​ infection?

  “The earlier we test for coronavirus infection, the faster someone can be isolated and given the appropriate therapy. Proper precautions will prevent transmission to others.”   

What can we learn from the genetic sequence of the virus?

  “By studying the genetic sequence of the virus, we can determine what proteins it uses, how it replicates and what makes the virus unique. This information will allow us to design antiviral solutions and develop animal models. It is important to follow its epidemiology; for instance: does the virus change over time or become more virulent or efficient? We need people on the ground so they can collect specimens and we can get useful clinical samples.”  

What is the appropriate level of caution we should use?


“This is a hard question to address. We are seeing more cases at an earlier time in the epidemic than was true with SARS and MERS. More casual persons are being affected, as opposed to health care workers or those in close contact with infected patients. One has to be cautious and aware of their surroundings: wash your hands and stay home if you feel ill.”

ASM Resources:

Special session on coronaviruses at ASM Biothreats meeting:

Coronavirus Infections: More than Just the Common Cold
Presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci

Airport Screening for COVID-19 Begins January 17

ASM is providing free access to research articles related to COVID-19

Press releases covering coronaviruses

Articles covering coronaviruses

Press play to listen to an update on the coronavirus causing respiratory disease in China.

Additional podcasts covering coronaviruses

Other Resources:

CDC COVID-19 Updates

CDC Priorities for Testing Patients with Suspected Coronavirus Infection

CDC's Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CDC's Guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living

CDC's Interim Guidance on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities

CDC's Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Checklist: Older Persons

CDC's Guidance on the Extended Use or Reuse of N95 Masks

CMS's CLIA Guidance for Laboratories During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Disinfecting Your Facility if Someone is Sick

Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings 

CDC's SOP for Preparation of Viral Transport Medium

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations 

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers 

WHO COVID-19 Updates

From NPR: MAP: Confirmed Cases Of Wuhan Coronavirus. Cases of Wuhan coronavirus in China have increased to 830 and deaths to 25. Most of the new cases are relatives or health care workers who have come into close contact with a sick person.

CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program plays a pivotal role when outbreaks occur, especially when the a novel virus emerges. Next generation sequencing allows for more precise identification of these pathogens, and AMD is being deployed in the current work on the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Experts:

Stanley Perlman, MD, Ph.D.

Professor Depts of Microbiology and Immunology, and Pediatrics University of Iowa Malik Peiris,  MBBS, FRCPath, D Phil (Oxon), FHKAM (Path), FRCP, FRS

Tam Wah-Ching Professorship in Medical Science Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences

Hong Kong University