Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with SARS-CoV-2.
Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of cases of COVID-19, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in parts of China. COVID-19 illnesses, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan. The latest situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the U.S., are available on CDC’s web page Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).