How COVID-19 Spreads


The COVID-19 virus emerged in China in 2019. Since then, it spread around the world. But how is this possible? Let's learn about how this virus spreads.

The first case

We think the virus that causes COVID-19 started as a virus inside an animal. Somehow, it moved from the animal to a human. That was the very first human infection. From that single infection, the virus spread to another person, and then another and another. We call this "person-to-person" transmission.


How does it move from one person to another? We think it most often spreads in droplets released when a sick person coughs or sneezes. You can breathe in these droplets. Or, they land on surfaces. If you touch an infected surface and then touch your face, you move the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. That’s how it infects you.

Community spread

COVID-19 seems to be highly contagious. It spreads very easily among people. That causes pockets of outbreaks in communities. We call this "community spread."


To help stop the spread of this virus, wash your hands often and avoid other people. If you must be among other people, keep your distance. Stay away from groups of more than 10 people. If we can slow the spread of the virus, we can keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by new patients. We may be able to create a vaccine to end the pandemic.