- COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus.
- It causes fever, sore throat or cough.
- COVID-19 can also make it difficult to breathe and cause a change in your sense of taste or smell.
Coronavirus spreads easily
- COVID-19 spreads mainly when we breathe in small droplets produced when someone with COVID-19 breathes, coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or shouts.
- Coronavirus spreads in waves that last for several weeks or months. During a wave, more people have the virus and are getting sick. It is more likely that you will catch coronavirus during this time.
What happens when you get infected by coronavirus?
- Your body has an immune system or army whose job it is to fight infections.
- When you breathe in coronavirus, your immune system fights the coronavirus and tries to kill it.
- Often the immune system kills the coronavirus, but sometimes the coronavirus overwhelms the immune system, making you sick.
What is a COVID-19 variant?
- As viruses spread across communities, they often change to become more effective at spreading from one person to another, or at making people severely ill.
- Around the world, there are new versions or ‘variants’ of coronavirus.
- In South Africa we have a COVID-19 variant called 501Y.V2. It is also called B.1.351.
- This variant has spread very rapidly, and has made many people sick, even some who have had COVID-19 before.