Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease. COVID-19 is the newest, not seen before in humans.
Because it is a new virus, scientists are learning more each day. Although most people who have COVID-19 have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can also cause severe illness and even death. Some groups, including older adults and people who have certain underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk of severe illness.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with symptoms have at least one of these.Find out more about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if you or your child has them. Find out what to do if you’ve tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, or been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 Find out who can get free NHS tests, how to get tested, and what your test result means.
Further COVID-19 information
You can also visit your local authority website for local information and support.