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Here are answers to some common questions and additional resources related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Houston area:
What is COVID-19 and where did the novel coronavirus come from?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.
The coronavirus referenced in news headlines is a newly identified strand. The disease from this new coronavirus is officially named COVID-19, while the virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2. The new virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and has since spread globally.
Coronaviruses are responsible for two other recent outbreaks: the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak and the 2012 MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak.
What are the symptoms?
The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear anywhere from two to fourteen days after exposure. Click here to see what COVID-19 does to your body.
Those experiencing trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, bluish lips or face or confusion should seek medical attention immediately.
What are the rules about wearing masks in public where I live?
Harris County's mandatory mask order went into effect on Monday, April 28. Click here for more information about masks in Harris County.
In several other southeast Texas countries, authorities have recommended but not mandated wearing a mask. Click here to see county-by-county rules.
When does the stay-at-home order end where I live?
Stay-at-home orders vary by county. Click here to see information for your county.
When can we stop social distancing?
Easing off the strict social-distancing rules in place in much of the country would have to occur on a "rolling" basis, not all at once, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, reflecting the ways COVID-19 struck different parts of the country at different times.
Fauci explained in an April 14 interview with the Associated Press that until a vaccine is developed, the nation's ability to test for coronavirus infections and carry out contact-tracing for those infected will determine when we can ease social distancing.
Click here to learn more about social distancing.
How many people have died in my city, county or state?
Check out these pages for county-by-county information around southeast Texas:
HARRIS COUNTY | FORT BEND COUNTY | MONTGOMERY COUNTY | GALVESTON COUNTY | BRAZORIA COUNTY | MATAGORDA COUNTY | BRAZOS COUNTY | GRIMES COUNTY | WHARTON COUNTY | WALLER COUNTY | CHAMBERS COUNTY | LIBERTY COUNTY | WALKER COUNTY | AUSTIN COUNTY | WASHINGTON COUNTY | SAN JACINTO COUNTY | POLK COUNTY | COLORADO COUNTY
The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States and around the world is changing every day. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore are maintaining a real-time, interactive map showing the number of confirmed cases and deaths.
When are hand sanitizer and toilet paper expected to be back in stock?
Numerous retailers have stated that there is no issue with the supply chain for toilet paper and many other household necessities. People are buying these staples at a higher-than-normal rate, and manufacturers are working to get product from their warehouses to store shelves.
Many stores are receiving shipment on a daily basis and restocking shelves that were empty the day before.