How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads easily from person-to-person, even when an infected person is not showing symptoms. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets containing the virus go into the air. These droplets can be inhaled or land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, exposing them to the virus. These droplets may stay in the air for minutes to hours after an infected person has left that space and can infect others who are more than 6 feet away. This type of spread is called “airborne transmission”.

People may also be exposed to COVID-19 by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching a surface with the virus on it. Although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, researchers are still learning more about COVID-19.