NYU Langone continues to respond to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Find information from our physicians and researchers about COVID-19 and when to seek care.
Fast Facts on COVID-19
What we know about COVID-19 continues to evolve. Most experts agree on the following facts:
- COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China late in 2019.
- It is part of the family of viruses that cause the common cold.
- People with COVID-19 may experience minor cold symptoms, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell; or people may not have any symptoms at all.
- Significant illness presents like pneumonia with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Older adults and people with preexisting conditions like lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease are most likely to be severely affected.
For additional information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19 Podcast: Everything You Need to Know
On Sirius XM’s Doctor Radio, our experts discuss COVID-19 and its impact across medical specialties.
Preventing Respiratory Illness
“If you’re healthy, remember that prevention is key,” says Michael S. Phillips, MD, chief hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone.
- Wash your hands frequently; cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hands; and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- The type of hand soap you use is not as important as being thorough. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Practice social distancing by staying home when possible, and by maintaining physical space in public. In particular, if you are within 3 to 6 feet of someone who is coughing, take a step back and limit physical contact with that person.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores.
“These simple measures will go a long way in preventing infections in both yourself and those around you,” adds Dr. Phillips.
When and How to Seek Medical Care
“People who have typical cold symptoms such as runny nose and congestion without a fever don’t need to see the doctor. As with a cold, they should stay at home until they’re no longer sick,” explains Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, pediatric infectious disease expert and hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone.
For worsening symptoms including fever or muscle aches and pains, we recommend that you stay home and speak with one of our care providers using NYU Langone’s Virtual Urgent Care. You can schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you and see a care provider right from your mobile device, without having to leave home.
Our doctors also offer video visits, which are similar to in-office appointments but are held over video chat through your NYU Langone Health MyChart account. We suggest using the NYU Langone Health app. You can schedule a video visit online or by calling your doctor’s office. Video visits are available to new patients as well as those who already have an NYU Langone doctor.
When to Seek Emergency Care
If you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should seek medical care quickly.
- If your doctor or medical care provider is available by phone, call them right away, or go to the nearest emergency department.
- Wear a face mask or cloth face covering.
“Don’t delay seeking care, including going to the nearest emergency department—ideally with a face mask on—if you have these symptoms,” Dr. Phillips says.
More COVID-19 News from Our Experts
Here is some of what NYU Langone experts have said about COVID-19 in the media.
- Time: NYU Med School Will Graduate Students Early to Help New York Fight Coronavirus
- NBC News: Telehealth and Telemedicine for Coronavirus: What It Is and How to Use It Now
- ABC News: ‘You Are Not Alone’: Chaplains Provide Emotional Support to COVID-19 Patients
- USA Today: European Travelers Brought Coronavirus to New York Long Before First Case Confirmed, Studies Suggest
- Time: Watch a New York City Doctor Describe How Medical Professionals Fight Against COVID-19
- ABC News: Coronavirus Vaccine in Human Trials Relies on Body’s Genetic Material
For media inquiries related to COVID-19, please call 212-404-3500 or email