How it Spreads
- People can spread the COVID-19 disease to each other.
- The disease spreads by droplets or aerosols (tiny particles) from the nose and mouth when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, or exhales.
- The most common way COVID-19 spreads is through close contact. When people are close to each other, the droplets can land in the mouths or noses or people nearby. It may be possible for people to breathe the droplets into their lungs. It is important to stay at least 6 feet away from other people in public. At home, someone who is sick should stay alone and in one room as much as possible.
- COVID-19 can also sometimes spread through airborne transmission. This means that aerosols (small droplets or particles) can sometimes linger in the air for minutes to hours, and may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet from the person with COBID-19 or after they have left the room.
- Airborne transmission of COVID-19 is more likely to happen in indoor spaces without good ventilation or when the infected person was breathing heavily, like when singing or exercising.
- It is possible that COVID-19 can spread when droplets land on surfaces and objects that other people then tough, though this is not thought to be a common way that it spreads. It is important to wash your hands before you tough your mouth, nose, face, or eye. Clean surfaces that are touched often, especially if someone in the house is sick.
- Infected people may be able to spread the disease before they have symptoms or feel sick.
- A person can also spread the disease if they have no symptoms. Research has shown that around 40-50% of people infected to not develop symptoms.
- For more information, see CDC: How COVID-19 Spreads.