Whitehouse Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US Department of Homeland Security - Federal Emergency Management Agency

COVID-19 facts

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.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. 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.

Read about COVID-19 Symptoms

Last updated October 15, 2020
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site, U.S. Food & Drug Administrationlinks to external site

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 be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Last updated June 20, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

Yes. It is possible to have the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

Last updated October 01, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

The CDC and FDA continue to develop COVID-19 guidance in many languages for different audiences. For more information, visit:

Last updated August 27, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

The mortality rate is the percentage of people who died due to COVID-19 out of the total number of people with COVID-19 reported. Since this is an ongoing outbreak, the percentage can change daily. There are several reasons for this, such as there may be delays in reporting of additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and not all COVID-19 cases will be detected.

Last updated June 25, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

The COVID-19 death count shown on the Cases in the U.S. web page includes deaths reported daily by state, local, and territorial health departments. This count reflects the most up-to-date information received by CDC based on preliminary reporting from health departments.

In contrast, Provisional Death Counts for COVID-19 from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) are updated Monday through Friday with information collected from death certificates. These data represent the most accurate death counts. However, because it can take several weeks for death certificates to be submitted and processed, there is on average a delay of 1–2 weeks before they are reported. Therefore, the provisional death counts may not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period, especially for more recent periods. Death counts from earlier weeks are continually revised and may increase or decrease as new and updated death certificate data are received. Provisional COVID-19 death counts may therefore differ from those on other published sources, such as media reports or the Cases in the U.S. web page.

Last updated June 25, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

CDC’s overall case numbers are validated through a confirmation process with jurisdictions. The process used for finding and confirming cases displayed by different places may differ.

Case numbers reported on other websites may differ from what is posted on CDC’s website because CDC’s overall case numbers are validated through a confirmation process with each jurisdiction. Differences between reporting jurisdictions and CDC’s website may occur due to the timing of reporting and website updates. The process used for finding and confirming cases displayed by other sites may differ.

Last updated June 25, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

People in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about getting the disease from these people. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, toward people who live in certain parts of the world, people who have traveled internationally, people who were in quarantine, or healthcare professionals.

Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger toward ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease that is causing the problem.

Last updated April 04, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

FEMA works with HHS and federal partners to coordinate the distribution of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). The supplies originate from multiple sources including Project Airbridge, the Strategic National Stockpile, private industry donations, federal interagency allocation and vendor procurements. These shipments are being sent with prioritization given to the areas with the most critical need for those supplies based on HHS and CDC data.

FEMA is not seizing or taking PPE or other medical supplies from state or local governments, hospitals, or anyone lawfully engaged in acquiring or distributing PPE. Learn more from FEMA’s rumor control page.

Last updated June 17, 2020
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agencylinks to external site

Your planning may be different because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Last updated October 09, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

Before disaster strikes, be ready with an evacuation plan. Check with local officials about what shelter spaces are available for this year. Coronavirus may have altered your community’s plans.

  • Prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two masks for each person.
  • Masks should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.

If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated May 21, 2020
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agencylinks to external site

Here are some ways to protect yourself: Don’t pay a contact tracer, give out your Social Security number or financial information, share your immigration status, or click on links or download anything sent from a contact tracer.

Last updated September 10, 2020
Source: Federal Trade Commissionlinks to external site

Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money. Get tips from on researching charities and donating wisely from the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/charity.

Last updated July 17, 2020
Source: Federal Trade Commissionlinks to external site

No. States and cities are responsible for announcing curfews, shelters in place, or other restrictions and safety measures.

Last updated March 26, 2020
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agencylinks to external site