In addressing the rapidly changing situation with coronavirus (COVID-19),
RMHA will rely on the guidance and direction of public health authorities,
including CDC and HUD.
What is Covid-19
CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel
(new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been
detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United
States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has
been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
On January 30, 2020, the International Health
Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared
the outbreak a “public
health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020,
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health
emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare
community in responding to COVID-19. On March 11, 2020
WHO publicly characterized COVID-19 as a
Source and Spread of the Virus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that
are common in people and many different species of animals, including
camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect
people and then spread between people such as with
SARS-CoV , and now with this new virus (named
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All
three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S.
patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a
likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of
the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large
seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a
growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal
markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was
subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China,
including in the
United States . Some international
destinations now have apparent community spread
with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States.
Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known
how or where they became exposed. Learn what is known about the
spread of this newly emerged coronaviruses.