Coronavirus: Distinguishing Fears from Facts

Last updated: July 21, 2020

Skip to articles and resources about coronavirus and COVID-19.

Here are some facts about coronavirus and COVID-19:

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This disease outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary. The CDC lists symptoms as (not an exhaustive list):

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Doctors and epidemiologists continue to learn more about COVID-19. Check with your healthcare provider for up-to-date information.

There are multiple ways to prevent acquiring COVID-19. Preventive steps you can take:

  • Avoid close contact with people outside of your household.
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap is unavailable, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

People can acquire COVID-19 from others who have the virus or by touching infected objects or surfaces. The disease can spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. Avoid touching publicly used objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first. Doctors also recommend limiting the amount of time in public, enclosed spaces to 15 minutes or less.

Medical Information

Organizations to follow for more information:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Information
World Health Organization Coronavirus FAQ
Illinois Department of Public Health
Village of Skokie COVID-19 Updates
The World Health Organization (WHO) Daily Situation Reports

Hesperian Health Guides: COVID-19 FAQ
Trustworthy and uncensored information about COVID-19 available in multiple languages.

Social Stigma with COVID-19 (PDF)
A guide to preventing and addressing social stigma.

COVID-19 FAQ from NorthShore University Health System
The Skokie-area health care provider provides factual information about the virus.

Reporting and Data on COVID-19

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus

Coronavirus tracked: has the epidemic peaked near you?

COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker

Policy Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 Primer

The COVID Tracking Project