Click on a question below to explore CDC answers to Frequently Asked Questions. We will update this page frequently, but the COVID-19 Pandemic is a fluid situation and guidance can change quickly.
This FAQ was last updated on 7/8/2020 at 5:15pm.
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. See People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many 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.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like those that cause the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
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. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your health department’s website.
At this time, CDC has no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person. See How Coronavirus Spreads for more information.
Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
While people who are sick or know that they have COVID-19 should isolate at home, COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
More information about cloth face coverings can be found on our cloth face coverings site.
For more information, see Groups at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.
There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging. However, it may be possible that people 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.
Learn more about safe handling of deliveries and mail.
In healthcare settings across the United States, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. CDC encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time.
Visit CDC’s contact lens website for more information on healthy contact lens wear and care.
Visit CDC’s contact lens website for more information on healthy contact lens wear and care.
Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. However, a few children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Currently, information about this syndrome is limited. CDC is working with state and local health departments to learn more about MIS-C.
You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.
More information on Keeping Children Healthy during the COVID-19 Outbreak is available online.
No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems.
CDC and partners are investigating cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are out in the community. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.
Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C. Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs.
It’s not known yet whether all children with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Although most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, serious illness that needs to be treated at the hospital still happens. Some data on children reported that the majority who needed hospitalization for COVID-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common underlying conditions reported among children with COVID-19 include chronic lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, and conditions that weaken the immune system. This information suggests that children with these underlying medical conditions may be at risk for more severe illness from COVID-19.
More data are needed to learn which underlying or complex medical conditions may put children at increased risk. CDC is monitoring new information as it becomes available and will provide updates as needed.
Learn more about caring for children with special health care needs during a disaster and people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
In addition to following the recommendations to prevent getting sick and running essential errands, families should take extra steps recommended for persons with higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness and steps outlined for those with potential COVID-19 exposure or confirmed illness.
Helping children understand and follow recommendations, like social distancing and wearing cloth face coverings, can be challenging if your child has intellectual disabilities, sensory issues, or other special healthcare needs.
Supporting children with special healthcare needs can put additional demands and stress on families, especially during emergency situations. You have likely found ways to manage the stress and challenges unique to your family’s situation. It is important to continue your family’s coping methods, including reaching out to other family members, friends, support groups, and organizations that have been helpful in the past.
See information on ways to cope with stress (such as visiting parks, trails, or open spaces) and making your family stronger.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:
If your child with special healthcare needs becomes sick with symptoms of COVID-19, contact your child’s healthcare provider. If your child has new or worsening emergency warning signs, such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake them up, or bluish lips or face, call 911. If you think your child may have COVID-19, notify the operator so that first responders may be appropriately prepared to protect themselves and others.
Notify your child’s healthcare provider if someone else in your house becomes sick with COVID-19, so they can provide any advice specific for your child.
See additional information if someone in the home is sick with COVID-19 or suspected of having COVID-19.
What if my child’s symptoms of their underlying medical condition or complex, chronic medical condition get worse?
If your child’s healthcare provider tells you to go to the hospital for any health problem, including COVID-19:
The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household. Some children with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in groups, it can put everyone at risk.
For more information, see Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Children.
For more information, see Help Children Learn at Home.
Check with your school on plans to continue meal services during the school dismissal. Many schools are keeping school facilities open to allow families to pick up meals or are providing grab-and-go meals at a central location.
How can I keep my children healthy?
For more information, see Keep Children Healthy during the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Create a household plan of action to help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community:
Plan for potential changes at your workplace. Talk to your employer about their emergency operations plan, including sick-leave policies and telework options.
Practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick and remind everyone in your home to do the same. These actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions:
Most people who get COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. CDC has directions for people who are recovering at home and their caregivers, including:
However, some people may need emergency medical attention. Watch for symptoms and learn when to seek emergency medical attention.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection.
CDC does not encourage the production and use of homemade hand sanitizer products because of concerns over the correct use of the ingredientsexternal icon and the need to work under sterile conditions to make the product. Local industries that are looking into producing hand sanitizer to fill in for commercial shortages can refer to the World Health Organization guidance.pdf iconexternal icon Organizations should revert to the use of commercially produced, FDA-approved product once such supplies again become available.
Depending on the situation, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce exposures to COVID-19, such as school dismissals. Read or watch local media sources that report school dismissals or and watch for communication from your child’s school. If schools are dismissed temporarily, discourage students and staff from gathering or socializing anywhere, like at a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or the local shopping mall.
Follow the advice of your local health officials. Stay home if you can. Talk to your employer to discuss working from home, taking leave if you or someone in your household gets sick with COVID-19 symptoms, or if your child’s school is dismissed temporarily. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual in case of a community outbreak.
CDC makes recommendations, shares information, and provides guidance to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. including guidance for schools and businesses. CDC regularly shares information and provides assistance to state, local, territorial, and tribal health authorities. These local authorities are responsible for making decisions including “stay at home” or “shelter in place.” What is included in these orders and how they are implemented are also decided by local authorities. These decisions may also depend on many factors such as how the virus is spreading in a certain community.
Please contact your local health department to find out more.
CDC cannot address the policies of any business or organization. CDC shares recommendations based on the best available science to help people make decisions that improve their health and safety. Employers, schools, and organizations may decide to visibly screen for symptoms or perform on-site symptom checks.
If your employer, school, or organization requires you to present documentation regarding COVID-19 before returning to work or school (for example, proof of a negative COVID-19 lab test, if a test was performed, contact your healthcare provider to ask if he or she would be able to provide a form of documentation for you. Documentation of self-isolation and self-quarantine may not be possible.
CDC has guidance for when and how people with COVID-19 can discontinue home isolation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
CDC also has guidance for what people should do if they think they have been exposed or feel sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html.
In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
Read more about COVID-19 Symptoms.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Yes. It is possible to test positive for flu (as well as other respiratory infections) and COVID-19 at the same time.
Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.
You can also visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing. See Test for Past Infection for more information.
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests. A viral test checks for a current infection. An antibody test checks for a previous infection.
If you think you need a viral test, call your healthcare provider or state or local health department and tell them about your symptoms and how you think you may have been exposed to the virus. Your healthcare provider can let you know if they offer viral tests at their office. Your state or local health department can provide local information on where testing is available. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.
If you want an antibody test, call your healthcare provider to see if they offer antibody tests and whether you should get one. You can also visit your state or local health department’s website for local information on antibody testing.
Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.
Viral tests are used to diagnose COVID-19. These tests tell you if you currently have an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. There are many viral tests available. All of the viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as from swabs from the inside of your nose.
Some tests are conducted at the testing site you visit, and results are available to you within minutes. Other tests must be sent to a laboratory to analyze, a process that takes 1-2 days once the laboratory receives your samples. Two tests allow you to collect your sample at home – either a swab from the inside of your nose or a saliva sample – but you will still need to send the sample to a laboratory for processing.
Locations and types of testing sites vary depending on where you live (see question: Where can I get tested). Check with your testing site to learn which test it uses. You can find a patient information sheet about each test on FDA’s website.
Antibody testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. When someone gets COVID-19, their body usually makes antibodies. However, it typically takes one to three weeks to develop these antibodies. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies. A positive result from this test may mean that person was previously infected with the virus. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your antibody test result means.
Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as swabs from the inside of your nose.
We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.
We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. CDC and partners are investigating to determine if a person can get sick with COVID-19 more than once. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor. More information on how to prepare, what to do if you get sick, and how communities and caregivers can support those at higher risk is available on People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.
This list is based on:
As CDC gets more information about COVID-19 cases here in the United States, we will update this list as needed.
Currently, there is no evidence to show that taking ibuprofen or naproxen can lead to a more severe infection of COVID-19.
People with high blood pressure should take their blood pressure medications, as directed, and work with their healthcare provider to make sure that their blood pressure is as well controlled as possible. Any changes to your medications should only be made by your healthcare provider.
Based on available information, adults aged 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions included on this list are at higher risk for severe illness and poorer outcomes from COVID-19. CDC is collecting and analyzing data regularly and will update the list when we learn more. People with underlying medical conditions not on the list might also be at higher risk and should consult with their healthcare provider if they are concerned.
We encourage all people, regardless of risk, to:
Generally, well-controlled means that your condition is stable, not life-threatening, and laboratory assessments and other findings are as similar as possible to those without the health condition. You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.
What does more severe illness mean?
Severity typically means how much impact the illness or condition has on your body’s function. You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.
Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. Some people with physical limitations or other disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection because of their underlying medical condition.
You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.
Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.
Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves
To prevent the further spread of disease, COVID-19 contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19. Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.
Generally, contact tracing includes the following steps:
For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a case investigator from the health department may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, a contact tracer from the health department might contact you to inform you that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
You should stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the last day you were possibly exposed to COVID-19. The contact tracer will help identify the dates of your self-quarantine. The contact tracer can also provide resources about COVID-19 testing in your area.
You should take your temperature twice a day, watch for symptoms of COVID-19, and notify your health department if you develop symptoms. You should also notify people you had close contact with recently if you become ill, so they can monitor their health. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
Yes, you are still considered a close contact even if you were wearing a cloth face covering while you were around someone with COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are meant to prevent someone from transmitting the disease to others, and not to protect someone from becoming infected.
Discussions with health department staff are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your health care provider.
Your name will not be revealed to those you came in contact with. The health department will only notify your close contacts that they might have been exposed to COVID-19. How data are collected, stored, and shared are specific to each state or jurisdiction.
There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is currently sick with COVID-19. The virus likely spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This type of spread is not a concern after death.
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.
People should consider not touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. There may be less of a chance of the virus spreading from certain types of touching, such as holding the hand or hugging after the body has been prepared for viewing. Other activities, such as kissing, washing, and shrouding should be avoided before, during, and after the body has been prepared, if possible. If washing the body or shrouding are important religious or cultural practices, families are encouraged to work with their community’s cultural and religious leaders and funeral home staff on how to reduce their exposure as much as possible. At a minimum, people conducting these activities should wear disposable gloves. If splashing of fluids is expected, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required (such as disposable gown, faceshield or goggles and N-95 respirator).
Cleaning should be conducted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time). Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. After removal of PPE, perform hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Soap and water should be used if the hands are visibly soiled.
A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a decedent who died of COVID-19. If it is necessary to transfer a body to a bag, follow Standard Precautions, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE) if splashing of fluids is expected. For transporting a body after the body has been bagged, disinfect the outside of the bag with a product with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.). Wear disposable nitrile gloves when handling the body bag.
Embalming can be conducted. During embalming, follow Standard Precautions including the use of additional PPE if splashing is expected (e.g. disposable gown, faceshield or goggles and N95 respirator). Wear appropriate respiratory protection if any procedures will generate aerosols or if required for chemicals used in accordance with the manufacturer’s label. Wear heavy-duty gloves over nitrile disposable gloves if there is a risk of cuts, puncture wounds, or other injuries that break the skin. Additional information on how to safely conduct aerosol-generating procedures is in the CDC’s Postmortem Guidance. Cleaning should be conducted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time).
After cleaning and removal of PPE, perform hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available. Soap and water should be used if the hands are visibly soiled.
Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated, but check for any additional state and local requirements that may dictate the handling and disposition of the remains of individuals who have died of certain infectious diseases.
The belongings of someone who has died of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 outside their home (for example, in a hospital setting) may be returned to family members along with instructions for cleaning and disinfection. Depending on local rules and regulations, family members may retrieve these belongings at the funeral home or the healthcare facility.
Family members should use gloves and practice good hand hygiene when handling these items. Depending on the belongings received, family members should also follow the household item-specific cleaning and disinfection guidelines for personal items, such as electronics.
When a US citizen dies outside the United States, the deceased person’s next of kin or legal representative should notify US consular officials at the Department of State. Consular personnel are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide assistance to US citizens for overseas emergencies. If a family member, domestic partner, or legal representative is in a different country from the deceased person, he or she should call the Department of State’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, DC, from 8 am to 5 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday, at 888-407-4747 (toll-free) or 202-501-4444. For emergency assistance after working hours or on weekends and holidays, call the Department of State switchboard at 202-647-4000 and ask to speak with the Overseas Citizens Services duty officer. In addition, the US embassy closest to or in the country where the US citizen died can provide assistance.
CDC does not require an autopsy before the remains of a person who died overseas are returned to the United States. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, some countries may require an autopsy. Sources of support to the family include the local consulate or embassy, travel insurance provider, tour operator, faith-based and aid organizations, and the deceased’s employer. There likely will need to be an official identification of the body and official documents issued by the consular office.
CDC requirements for importing human remains depend upon if the body has been embalmed, cremated, or if the person died from a quarantinable communicable disease.
At this time, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States and the remains must meet the standards for importation found in 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 71.55 and may be cleared, released, and authorized for entry into the United States only under the following conditions:
Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.
CDC is working with other federal partners in a whole-of-government response. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. CDC works 24/7 to protect people’s health. More information about CDC’s response to COVID-19 is available online.
Cleaning with soap and water removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Routine cleaning is the everyday cleaning practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment. Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, bathroom surfaces, and handrails, should be cleaned with soap and water or another detergent at least daily when facilities are in use. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use. Cleaning removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but it reduces the number of germs on a surface.
Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. If a surface may have gotten the virus on it from a person with or suspected to have COVID-19, the surface should be cleaned and disinfected. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
Regular cleaning staff can clean and disinfect community spaces. Cleaning staff should be trained on appropriate use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals and provided with the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the chemicals used.
Companies do not necessarily need to close after a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in a company facility. The area(s) used or visited by the ill person should be closed for 24 hours or as long as possible. Open outside doors and windows as much as possible ensuring that doing so does not pose a safety risk to children using the facility (i.e. make sure that children are not able to enter the closed off area through any windows or doors). and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Once the area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use. Workers without close contact with the person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can return to work immediately after disinfection is completed.
The efficacy of these disinfection methods against the virus that causes COVID-19 is not known. EPA only recommends use of the surface disinfectants identified on List N against the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, such as UV lights, LED lights, or ultrasonic devices. Therefore, EPA cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against the spread of COVID-19.
Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas. If practical, high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, should be cleaned routinely. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (e.g., play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (e.g., mulch, sand) is not recommended.
CDC does not recommend the use of sanitizing tunnels. There is no evidence that they are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Chemicals used in sanitizing tunnels could cause skin, eye, or respiratory irritation or damage.
CDC does not recommend disinfection of sidewalks or roads. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks and roads is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. The risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective on these surfaces.
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. A small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19.
Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
No. At this time, routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended.
Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets.
However, because animals can sometimes carry other germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing hands before and after interacting with them.
We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would with people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including
If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a cloth face covering.
We don’t know for sure which animals can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. A tiger at a zoo in New York has also tested positive for the virus.
Recent research shows that ferrets, cats, and golden Syrian hamsters can be experimentally infected with the virus and can spread the infection to other animals of the same species in laboratory settings. Pigs, chickens, and ducks did not become infected or spread the infection based on results from these studies. Data from one study suggested dogs are not as likely to become infected with the virus as cats and ferrets. These findings were based on a small number of animals, and do not show whether animals can spread infection to people.
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and the role animals may play in the spread of COVID-19.
We are still learning about this virus and how it spreads, but it appears it can spread from humans to animals in some situations. CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Most of these animals had contact with a person with COVID-19. A tiger at a New York zoo has also tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited data available, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person, typically through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking.
People sick with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from other people and animals, including pets, during their illness until we know more about how this virus affects animals. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.
Walking your dog is important for both animal and human health and wellbeing. Walk dogs on a leash, and stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others. Do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places, and avoid mass gatherings. To help maintain social distancing, do not let other people pet your dog when you are out for a walk.
See “Can I take my dog to a dog park?” for information on dog parks.
Dog parks provide socialization and exercise for dogs, which is an important part of their wellbeing. Because there is a small risk that people with COVID-19 could spread it to animals, CDC recommends that you do not let pets interact with people outside of your household, especially in places with community spread of COVID-19. Therefore, you should consider avoiding dog parks or other places where large numbers of people and dogs gather.
Some areas are allowing dog parks to open. If you choose to go to a dog park, follow local guidelines. There are ways to reduce the risk of you or your dog getting infected with COVID-19 if you go to a dog park.
See more information on pets and COVID-19 and recommendations for how to help keep your pet safe.
Until we know more about how this virus affects animals, CDC encourages pet owners to treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from possible infection. This means limiting contact between your pets and people outside your household as much as possible and avoiding places where large numbers of people gather.
Some areas are allowing groomers and boarding facilities such as dog daycares to open. If you must take your pet to a groomer or boarding facility, follow any protocols put into place at the facility, such as wearing a cloth face covering and maintaining at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others if possible.
Limit pet items brought from home to the groomer or boarding facility, and disinfect any objects that are taken into a facility and returned home (such as leashes, bowls, and toys). Use an EPA-registered disinfectan to clean items and rinse thoroughly with clean water afterwards. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
Do not put face coverings on pets, and do not take a sick pet to a groomer or boarding facility. Signs of sickness in animals may include:
If you think your pet is sick, call your veterinarian. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
See more information on pets and COVID-19 and recommendations for how to help keep your pet safe.
There is a small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after having contact with a person with COVID-19. Talk to your veterinarian about any health concerns you have about your pets.
If your pet gets sick after contact with a person with COVID-19, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know the pet was around a person with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
Animals are only being tested in very rare circumstances. Routine testing of animals is not recommended at this time, and any tests done on animals are done on a case by case basis. For example, if the pet of a COVID-19 patient has a new, concerning illness with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, the animal’s veterinarian might consult with public health and animal health officials to determine if testing is needed.
Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. There is no reason to think that any animals, including shelter pets, play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. However, it appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals after close contact with people with COVID-19.
Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, use similar precautions for pets and other animals in your facility as you would for other people in your facility. This will help protect both people and pets in your facility from COVID-19.
Talk to a veterinarian if a pet in your facility gets sick or if you have any concerns about the health of any pets in the facility. If you think a pet in the facility was exposed to or is showing signs consistent with COVID-19, contact your state health official to discuss guidance on testing pets or other animals for the virus that causes COVID-19.
People who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid providing care for sick pets, if possible.
For more information, visit CDC’s If You Have Pets webpage.
CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. CDC, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) play distinct but complementary roles in regulating the importation of live animals and animal products into the United States.
Imported animals will need to meet CDC and USDAexternal iconexternal icon requirements for entering the United States. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets and service animals, can spread the virus that causes COVID-19. As with any animal introduced to a new environment, animals recently imported should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently imported from another country.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest the virus that causes COVID-19 is circulating in free-living wildlife in the United States, or that wildlife might be a source of infection for people in the United States. The first case of a wild animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. However, this tiger was in a captive zoo environment ,and public health officials believe the tiger became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was infected and spreading the virus.
If a wild animal were to become infected with the virus, we don’t know whether the infection could then spread among wildlife or if it could spread to other animals, including pets. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including wildlife, could be affected by COVID-19. Because wildlife can carry other diseases, even without looking sick, it is always important to enjoy wildlife from a distance.
Take steps to prevent getting sick from wildlife in the United States:
Other coronaviruses have been found in North American bats in the past, but there is currently no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 is present in any free-living wildlife in the United States, including bats. In general, coronaviruses do not cause illness or death in bats, but we don’t yet know if this new coronavirus would make North American species of bats sick. Bats are an important part of natural ecosystems, and their populations are already declining in the United States. Bat populations could be further threatened by the disease itself or by harm inflicted on bats resulting from a misconception that bats are spreading COVID-19. However, there is no evidence that bats in the United States are a source of the virus that causes COVID-19 for people. Further studies are needed to understand if and how bats could be affected by COVID-19.
Currently, there is no evidence that you can get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 by eating food, including wild hunted game meat. However, hunters can get infected with other diseases when processing or eating game. Hunters should always practice good hygiene when processing animals by following these food safety recommendations:
You should follow your state and/or local jurisdictional guidance regarding continuing operations at your facility. There have not been any reports of horses testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person, so steps should be taken to reduce the risks for people visiting your facility.
For more information, see Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19pdf iconexternal icon and Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
See also: Pets and Other Animals
Community mitigation activities are actions that people and communities can take to slow the spread of infectious diseases, and prepare for it if it occurs, including COVID-19. Community mitigation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available.
For more information, see Community Mitigation Framework.
For more information, see Community Mitigation Framework.
Individuals, communities, schools, businesses and healthcare organizations all have a role to play in community mitigation. Policies*, which include limits on large gatherings, restrictions on businesses, and school closures are often needed to fully put in place community mitigation strategies.
Each community is unique. Because some actions can be very disruptive to daily life, mitigation activities will be different depending on how much disease has spread within the community, what the community population is like, and the ability to take these actions at the local level. To identify appropriate activities, all parts of a community that might be impacted need to be considered, including populations most vulnerable to severe illness, and those who might be more impacted socially or economically. When selecting mitigation activities, states and communities need to consider the spread of disease locally, characteristics of the people who live in the community (for example, age groups, languages spoken, overall health status), and the kind of public health resources and healthcare systems (like hospitals) that are available in the community. State and local officials may need to adjust community mitigation activities and immediately take steps to scale them up or down depending on the changing local situation.
Putting mitigation into practice is based on:
*CDC cannot address the policies of any business or organization. CDC shares recommendations based on the best available science to help people make decisions that improve their health and safety. In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.
The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been detected in treated drinking water. Water treatment plants use filters and disinfectants to remove or kill germs, like the virus that causes COVID-19. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates water treatment plants to ensure that treated water is safe to drink.
Currently, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people by drinking treated water. COVID-19 is spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person.
The virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19. However, it is unclear whether the virus found in feces may be capable of causing COVID-19. There has not been any confirmed report of the virus spreading from feces to a person. Scientists also do not know how much risk there is that the virus could be spread from the feces of an infected person to another person. However, they think this risk is low based on data from previous outbreaks of diseases caused by related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.
While there is ongoing community spread of the virus, it is important for individuals, as well as operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (for example, at hotels or apartment complexes or owned by communities) to take steps to ensure health and safety:
The virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in untreated wastewater. Researchers do not know whether this virus can cause disease if a person is exposed to untreated wastewater or sewerage systems. There is no evidence to date that this has occurred. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through properly designed and maintained sewerage systems is thought to be low.
Recently, the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in untreated wastewater. While data are limited, there is no information to date that anyone has become sick with COVID-19 because of exposure to wastewater.
Standard practices associated with wastewater treatment plant operations should be sufficient to protect wastewater workers from the virus that causes COVID-19. These standard practices can include engineering and administrative controls, hygiene precautions, specific safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) normally required when handling untreated wastewater. No additional COVID-19–specific protections are recommended for workers involved in wastewater management, including those at wastewater treatment facilities.
See Information for Wasterwater and Sanitation System Workers on COVID-19 for additional information
Older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions are at highest risk of getting sick from COVID-19.