COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 (CDC). Coronaviruses are very common among people and many species of animals, and their severity varies from strain to strain. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and spread between people, such as with COVID-19.
This strain of the coronavirus, COVID-19, is very contagious and is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets released in the air can carry the virus and land in the mouths and noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms). Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
COVID-19 can also live on contaminated surfaces such as cardboard, plastic, clothing, and other high touch surfaces. The best way to combat the novel coronavirus is by practicing physical distancing, frequently washing your hands, and disinfecting your surfaces with chemicals that are effective against coronaviruses. (For a list of those chemicals, review the EPA List N of Approved Disinfectants)