What is COVID-19? 

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the world, we will look to provide you with all the vital information you need to know about this new coronavirus. Here, we explain what COVID-19 actually is 

  • Learn what COVID-19 is 
  • Discover what coronaviruses are 
  • Find out how it spreads and what you can do to stay safe 

What is COVID-19? 

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

What is a coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses in mammals’ respiratory systems. 

These illnesses can range from the common cold to pneumonia, which can be fatal in some cases. In most people, symptoms are mild, but some types can cause severe diseases. 

Two coronaviruses have previously caused global outbreaks of severe diseases: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which was first discovered in China in 2003; and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which originated in Saudi Arabia in 2012. 

COVID-19 is the name given to the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. 

How does COVID-19 spread 

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person coughs or exhales small droplets from their nose or mouth into the air.  

The virus can be transmitted from person to person if other people breathe in these droplets.  

The virus can also be transmitted when these droplets land on objects and surfaces. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. 

What are the symptoms? 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever and a dry cough, which can lead to breathing problems. 

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. 

Most people infected have very mild symptoms and recover quickly. Those with pre-existing health conditions or the elderly are most at risk of severe infection. 

How can I protect myself and others? 

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions. These include: 

  • Regular and thorough hand washing with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. 
  • Avoiding close contact with those who may be infected, by maintaining a distance of at least one metre (three feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 
  • Not touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  • Coughing and sneezing into tissues or your bent elbow. 

For more information on the development of COVID-19 and how it has impacted world sport, click here