COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly.
COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. COVID-19 may attack more than your lungs and respiratory system. Other parts of your body may also be affected by the disease. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill.
Some people, including those with minor or no symptoms, will develop Post-COVID Conditions – also called "Long COVID."
Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, means an individual was infected, recovered, and then later became infected again. An individual can be reinfected multiple times. Reinfections are most often mild, but severe illness can occur. People who are reinfected can also spread the virus to others. Staying up to date with vaccines and starting treatment within days after developing symptoms decrease a person's risk of experiencing severe illness from reinfection.
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. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
Possible symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Symptoms may change with new COVID-19 variants and can vary depending on vaccination status.