About the Virus

Overview and origins

A new respiratory virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It is part of a larger family of viruses called coronaviruses, some of which are in circulation normally and that cause illnesses like the common cold. It was initially given the name 2019 Novel Coronavirus, and in most published references, is called simply “coronavirus.”

This coronavirus, which has the scientific name SARS-CoV-2, may result in the respiratory disease that has been named COVID-19. In other words, SARS-CoV-2 is the virus; COVID-19 is the disease.

This Novel Coronavirus is not the same strain of coronavirus as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

You can learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

COVID-19 origin and spread
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to have originated from an animal but is now spreading from person to person. Coronaviruses, including this new one, are thought to spread via exposure to an infected person’s respiratory droplets—such as those produced when a person coughs or sneezes.

According to the CDC, there is more to learn about how this virus is transmitted. In the meantime, everyday habits such as washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or more can help prevent the spread of viruses.

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath. 

Public health officials say that symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Learn more at the CDC web site.

Students, staff and faculty who are ill—no matter what the cause—are encouraged to stay home and to communicate by telephone/videophone or email to relevant parties (professors, supervisors, etc.) to let them know they are sick. If you live on the Gallaudet University campus and you are feeling ill, call the Student Health Service at (202) 651-5090 or email shs@gallaudet.edu for further direction.

Testing & Preventing

Testing for COVID-19
You will be tested only if you meet the current CDC criteria. The criteria include recent travel to mainland China within 14 days, contact with a known case,  a fever, or symptoms of respiratory illness. Consult your health care provider for further details.

Preventing COVID-19: The Three Cs

  • Clean: Wash and sanitize your hands often.
  • Cover: Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Contain: Stay home if you are sick.

Seeking Medical Care

Seeking medical care: Students
Students who have paid the health center fee and who feel ill may visit the Student Health Service. DO NOT WALK IN; it is imperative that you call the Student Health Service at 202-651-5090 or email shs@gallaudet.edu for further direction. This is for your own protection, the protection of other patients, and the protection of SHS staff. 

Seeking medical care: Staff and faculty
Staff and faculty who feel ill should see their health care provider. It is important to contact your health care provider before going in, for your own protection, the protection of other patients, and the protection of your health care providers.