How COVID-19 spreads

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can  be breathed in by other people, or land on their eyes, noses or mouth. COVID-19 can also survive on surfaces that have been contaminated with respiratory secretions. (For example, a sick person coughs on their hand and then touches a doorknob.) So contaminated surfaces may be another, less common, route of transmission. Common disinfectants kill COVID-19 on surfaces.

Can the virus spread before symptoms present? 

Yes. It is estimated that about 45% of people who contract COVID-19 will have no symptoms. If you are asymptomatic, your ability to spread the virus is not dependent on the severity of your symptoms. Even without symptoms, you can still have a large amount of the virus in your body, similar to someone who has severe symptoms. Learn more

Can COVID-19 be spread through water?

No, it is not known to spread through water.

Can I get COVID-19 from packages?

In general, there is a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.