"Flattening the curve" is when preventive measures are put into place to slow or stop the number of new cases during an outbreak like COVID-19. Based on experiences from other countries and past epidemics, preventive measures such as social distancing and quarantines help to accomplish this goal.

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

  • People aged 65 years and older

  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

  • Other high-risk conditions could include:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • People with diabetes

  • People who have serious heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies and pulmonary hypertension

  • People with chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis

  • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment

  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

  • People of any age with severe obesity

  • People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis

People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

  • • Through a person’s contact with contaminated surfaces and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.