COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.
Everyone must stay at home to help stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading. Wash your hands with soap and water often to reduce the risk of infection.
You can usually treat mild coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at home. If your symptoms are severe, you may need medical care until you recover.
Coronavirus enters the body through the respiratory system, causing direct injury to a persons lungs via inflammation and pneumonia- both of which can negatively impact how well oxygen is transferred into the bloodstream. This oxygen impairment can occur at multiple stages of Covid-19, and not simply for critically ill patients placed on ventilators.
In fact, there's a phenomenon we've observed clinically where a person with Covid-19 can have a very low oxygen levels but otherwise appear well, termed "happy hypoxia". It is concerning because these patients may be more significantly ill than they feel, certainly warranting closer attention in a medical setting.
However, not everyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will develop low oxygen levels. There are people who may have a very uncomfortable bout with fever, muscle aches and GI upset at home, but never demonstrate low oxygen levels.
Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Do not leave your home if you have either:
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)
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
How to protect yourself from coronavirus
The advice for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus is the same as for most other people.
You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home