The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a communicable respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that causes illness in humans.
Scientists are still learning about the disease, and think that the virus began in animals. At some point, one or more humans acquired infection from an animal, and those infected humans began transmitting infection to other humans.
The disease spreads from person to person through infected air droplets that are projected during sneezing or coughing.
It can also be transmitted when humans have contact with hands or surfaces that contain the virus and touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with the contaminated hands.
COVID-19 was first reported in China, but it has now spread throughout the world.