In December 2019, a new respiratory disease called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was detected in China. COVID-19 is caused by a virus (SARS-CoV-2) that is part of a large family of viruses called coronaviruses.
The U.S. reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. New York confirmed its first cases of person-to-person spread with this virus March 3, 2020.
While some individuals ill with the virus may be asymptomatic or have mild illness, older individuals and people with underlying health conditions, have shown greater susceptibility to the virus and can experience more serious illness and outcomes. Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
The incubation period of the virus is between 2-14 days, so many public health recommendations are in alignment with that time frame.
There is currently no cure for this virus, but there are treatments. It is thought to be transmitted easily between people through respiratory droplets in the air. It has been found that some people can exhibit no symptoms of COVID-19 (asymptomatic) but spread the disease. Vaccines have been authorized for use and, beginning January 2021, Ulster County launched a vaccination program in concert with requirements and using allocations from New York State.