What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an illness that can spread from person to person. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a new coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Find additional information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Are there certain groups of people at higher risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms?

People age 65 and older are at higher risk for experiencing severe symptoms if they contract the infection. In addition, people of any age with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), serious heart conditions such as heart failure or carotid artery disease, or sickle cell disease; and people who are undergoing immunotherapy treatment for cancer, HIV/AIDS, or other conditions are also at increased risk for severe symptoms. Adults of any age with certain conditions, including asthma, high blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary fibrosis might be at an increased risk for severe illness.

How can I protect myself and my family?

To find out how best to protect yourself and others, see the federal government’s website, http://www.coronavirus.gov. There, you will find accurate and comprehensive information from the CDC and other federal agencies about symptoms of the infection and risk factors, and about how to practice social distancing, which is the best way to slow the spread of the virus. You can also find the latest news on cases of COVID-19 in the United States, as well as how individual households, travelers, schools, businesses, healthcare professionals, health departments and others can all do their part to help slow the spread.

How can I learn more about COVID-19 clinical trials?

The NIH and NHLBI are supporting clinical trials to find safe and effective ways to prevent and treat COVID-19.

  • Trials are underway to develop a vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection. Vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies—which are like microscopic missiles that the body uses to detect and destroy viruses.
  • Other trials seek to identify treatments to help the body clear the coronavirus. Some potential treatments under study include monoclonal antibodies and passive immunization (taking plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 and giving it someone else).
  • Trials are also looking at ways to reduce COVID-19 symptoms and more serious complications, such as  blood clotting

These research studies are critical to finding the most promising vaccines and treatments to help end the pandemic. 

Find out if you or someone you know is eligible to participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial.

Where can I get additional information on health topics related to COVID-19?

Visit these health topics for information on conditions related to heart, lung, blood, and sleep that may raise your risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Some topics focus on procedures and devices that may be used to treat COVID-19 and its complications.

In addition, be sure to check these additional COVID-19 information sources from HHS: