About COVID-19

About the novel coronavirus, COVID-19

Named after the crown-like projections on their surfaces, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common among different animal species such as bats, cattle, camels, cats and pigs. While it’s rare that animal coronaviruses infect people and spread, the first human coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, however, in recent years some types have become serious such as the SARS outbreak in 2003 and MERS outbreak in 2012.

In December 2019, officials from Wuhan, China first discovered the newest respiratory coronavirus, now called the “Coronavirus Disease 2019” or “COVID-19”.

How COVID-19 spreads

Human coronaviruses are thought to be transmitted mainly by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Person-to-person transmission is likeliest to occur among close contact (around 6 feet). This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens such as the common cold or flu spread.

Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads

How to prevent potential spreading of the virus

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • Stay home. Many counties, including Tarrant County, have issued orders requiring people to stay home unless they work for an essential business or need to run an essential errand.
  • When you must be outdoors, wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth and practice social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control has learned that people can have COVID-19 without having symptoms, and they can spread the disease. Wearing a cloth face covering protects others. Do not wear masks meant for health care workers. Learn more about face coverings from the CDC.
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For the most current information, check the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

What to do if you feel sick

Follow CDC recommendations if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19 to help protect people in your home and community.

Should I wear a mask?

Effective June 25, 2020, face coverings (cloth face coverings, disposable masks, etc.) must be worn by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, tenants and visitors at all UNT System locations and campuses in the following areas:   

  • Indoor public areas, except where marked, even if you are alone. This includes all classrooms, non-private offices and common spaces in residential facilities.
  • Outdoor spaces where six feet or more of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Full details of the face covering requirement may be viewed on the UNT System COVID-19 web site.

See the cloth face coverings guidelines from the CDC. 


Resources and information

Resources for HSC employees and students

Some may feel anxious about COVID-19, and these HSC resources are available to provide counseling and other assistance:

This page was last modified on June 25, 2020