What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), how it spreads, common symptoms, and how to best protect your business. 

February 19, 2020

CDC photo credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are RNA enveloped viruses than can infect animals and humans. So far, there are six known human coronaviruses. Four of these coronaviruses are less pathogenic, generally causing only minor respiratory symptoms like the common cold. Two other coronaviruses — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) — can cause serious respiratory diseases.

A new strain of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has emerged, is causing illnesses globally and is different from other coronaviruses. To date, the virus has infected tens of thousands of people around the world, with thousands of reported deaths. As surveillance proceeds, there may be more cases identified. The cases were originally linked to a live animal market in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China, but now cases are occurring due to community spread. Public Health authorities are actively investigating this outbreak.

Because of this, public health recommendations focus on standard infection control practices to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other upper-respiratory infections, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. They range from mild to severe and appear 2-14 days after exposure.

How is it transmitted?
Since coronaviruses can be extremely contagious and spread easily from person to person, medical diagnosis is required.

Transmission routes for COVID-19, include:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close, personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with virus particles, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

How is it controlled?
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection.

Infection risk can be reduced by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often and correctly. The World Health Organization recommends performing hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol based hand rub if soap and water are not available. Washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid transmission of emerging pathogens.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • In regions where excessive cases are being reported, avoid areas where live animals are being sold or raised
  • If you have fever or other symptoms after traveling home, you should wear a mask and immediately call a doctor. Be sure to let the doctor know where you were traveling.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and high touch areas using products appropriate for coronavirus and approved by public health authorities.

Enveloped viruses are the least resistant to inactivation by disinfection. The structure of these viruses includes a lipid envelope, which is easily compromised by most disinfectants. Once the lipid envelope is damaged, the integrity of the virus is compromised, thereby neutralizing its infectivity.

As with any communicable disease, it is recommended to focus on proper hand hygiene and disinfection of high-touchpoint areas including railings, doorknobs and handles and restroom surfaces.

References and Further Information

Related Products

Keystone Bleach Disinfectant Cleaner

One solution to clean and deodorize, remove stains and disinfect. Specifically formulated to kill 99.9% of germs including cold, flu, Norovirus and Hepatitis A. Effective against Norovirus and Hepatitis A in one minute. EPA Reg No 1677-235.

Keystone Peroxide Disinfectant Glass Cleaner RTU

Keystone Peroxide Disinfectant & Glass Cleaner RTU

When you want full-on disinfection and streak-free results, this is the product. This EPA-registered, peroxide-based formula is powerful, highly effective, and fast killing on a variety of surfaces. Kills SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – in 30 seconds,1, and kills Norovirus in as little as 45 seconds1. EPA Registration #1677-251

1When used according to directions for use. Refer to EPA master label under #1677-251.

Keystone Air and Fabric Freshener

Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant

This 3-in-1 multi-purpose solution is designed to help make your cleaning process easier. This EPA registered product has a comprehensive claim set and can kill 99.999% of germs in as fast as 3 minutes when dispensed at a dilution rate of 6 fl oz per gallon. For Norovirus in particular, this solution’s kill time is 45 seconds. EPA Registration Number 1677-238

FACILIPRO 73 Disinfecting Acid Bathroom Cleaner

Scrub Free Bathroom Cleaner & Disinfectant

Make cleaning easier, faster and safer with this EPA-registered bathroom cleaner and disinfectant formulated for daily use to remove hard water build-up and soap scum. Delivers hospital grade disinfection in five minutes and is effective against Norovirus. EPA registration number 1677-256


This site uses cookies and other technologies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyze site traffic, and provide you with personalized content. By using this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our Privacy Policy as well as our Cookie Policy for more information.