About Coronaviruses

There are many viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals. Several coronaviruses commonly circulate among people all of the time and cause mild to moderate illnesses, such as the common cold. Other coronaviruses commonly circulate only in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people as has been seen with MERS and SARS.


Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by COVID-19 in Wuhan, China had some link to seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, the person-to-person spread is now widely occurring.

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia​​

While the exact incubation period for this coronavirus has not yet been determined, it is believed that most infected people will develop symptoms 2-14 days after they were exposed.


Currently, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19. In general, people can protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses by taking the following precautions:

  • Practice social distancing (within 6 feet) as much as possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who do nott live in your household. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good health habits. Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap & water.

What to Do If You Are Sick

GET TESTED! There are hundreds of testing sites around Maryland.

Stay home except to get medical care.

  • Stay home. Most people with mild symptoms or asymptomatic and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Separate yourself from others in the home. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you go if you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

For more information, visit MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society’s Public Health page on Vaccines.


Local Maryland Resources

We’re in this together.