Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in parts of the world. Risk of infection from the virus that causes it is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.