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Here’s what we know about how the coronavirus spreads

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the novel coronavirus is a new disease and “we are still learning how it spreads.”

The World Health Organization also notes it is “assessing ongoing research” on how the disease is spread and says it will keep people updated.

But here’s the currently available information from the experts at CDC and the WHO:

- The virus spreads mainly from person to person.

- The sicker the person the more contagious they are. CDC says there have been some reports of people who haven’t developed symptoms yet are spreading the disease. But it is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


- The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with each other, or less than 6 feet, CDC says.

- It spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales, sending “respiratory droplets” into the air.

- The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of uninfected people or can possibly be inhaled into their lungs.

- The experts say it’s also possible a person can get the coronavirus by touching a surface or object where the virus has fallen and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, allowing the virus to invade their body.

Martin Finucane can be reached at