How is Coronavirus Transmitted?

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While animals are the source of the virus, this virus is now spreading from one person to another (human-to-human transmission). There is currently not enough information to determine how easily and sustainably this virus spreads between people. The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.

The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated at between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted when those infected show (flu-like) symptoms. However, there are still uncertainties as to whether mild or asymptomatic cases can transmit the virus.

A person who is asymptomatic may be shedding the virus and could make others ill. How often asymptomatic transmission is occurring is unclear.

So far, available evidence suggests it can be transmitted less easily from soft surfaces than frequently-touched hard surfaces, such as a doorknob or elevator button.