Just like the seasonal flu, COVID-19 is spread person-to-person through droplets in the air. To help prevent sickness here practice all strategies known to reduce the spread of respiratory virus, which include:
Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds, and include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell, according to the CDC. The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases will be very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization. Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.
For perspective, The CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season. For the current flu season the CDC estimates there have been approximately 18,000 flu deaths in the United States between October 2019 & February 2020.