The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was named after the December 2019 coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. The virus appears to have originated from bats.
Infected individuals may be asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms similar to those of seasonal influenza. More severe forms of the disease are characterized by severe viral pneumonia and shortness of breath, requiring urgent hospitalization. The infection may also affect the gastrointestinal system and other organs.
There are currently no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.