What you need to know
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow). At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you test positive, you should follow your state and local government’s advice on COVID-19 infection. This usually means self-isolation for 14 days, avoiding contact with others and remaining hydrated. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and recovery only takes a few days, so there’s no need to panic. Speak to your healthcare practitioner for further advice.
A negative result means the biomarkers are not present in your blood, but you should still exercise caution, as you may still be in the early stages of infection (before IgM levels rise to a detectable level). If symptoms develop, follow the protocols as above and retest as necessary. If symptoms do not develop, it is unlikely you have COVID-19, but you should still follow strict hygiene procedures. Ensure you wash your hands regularly, avoid social gatherings and work from home if possible. There’s no need to retest unless you suspect you have contracted the infection and are displaying symptoms.
If you have the common symptoms of COVID-19 (fever and cough), you likely have contracted the infection and should self-isolate. It is likely your IgG/IgM levels haven’t risen to a detectable level yet. You can be tested again 24 hours later for confirmation if required. Speak to your healthcare practitioner for further advice.