Your Top 10 Coronavirus Questions of 2020, According to Google—Answered

Google just released its annual Year in Search report, and unsurprisingly, COVID-19 was a popular search word.

Today, Google revealed its annual Year In Search report, and of course the novel coronavirus was among the top searches, only second to the election results. People turned to Dr. Google to ask all sorts of questions about COVID-19 as reports of the virus hit the news cycle, then continued to rely on the search engine to get a handle on every new development during the ongoing pandemic. Here are the 10 top trending coronavirus-related search terms of 2020—and the quick, clear answers we all need.

What is the coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and reached pandemic status by March 11. Since then, 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with this respiratory illness, and over 280,000 have lost their lives to it. Here are more basics about the virus, simplified: More Than 200,000 Deaths Due Coronavirus in the US—Here's Everything You Need to Know

How long does coronavirus last?

Every case of coronavirus is different, but experts have a general idea of how long the typical course of the illness lasts. Most people can expect to recover within two weeks after the onset of symptoms, but more severe cases could last up to six weeks—and for some, dubbed "Covid long haulers," symptoms can linger for months. Learn more about what to expect: How Long Does Coronavirus Last? What to Expect if You Contract COVID-19

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

Symptoms of the coronavirus can seem a lot like the flu. Initially, a fever, cough, and shortness of breath emerged as the three most common symptoms of COVID-19. Now, other signs such as muscle pain, fatigue, and loss of taste and smell are on the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) symptoms checklist. View more symptoms: 11 Coronavirus Symptoms You Need to Know—and How to Prevent the Virus

How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Though the coronavirus is typically transmitted through the air via respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than by touching objects and materials, the virus can still remain viable on a variety of surfaces, according to the CDC, though it's not exactly clear for how long. Here's what you need to know to keep surfaces and clothes virus-free: How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Clothes—and Will Laundry Detergent Kill the Virus?

How is coronavirus spread?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person, usually through close contact (within six feet). Being near an infected person who coughs, sneezes, or talks can expose you to their respiratory droplet carrying the virus—and they can spread the virus even if they don't have any symptoms yet. If those virus-containing particles are inhaled or land in your eyes, nose, or mouth, you could become infected.

How long are you contagious with COVID?

Someone who has had COVID-19 stops being contagious 10 days since symptoms first appeared, after 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), and if other symptoms are improving (except for a loss of taste and smell, which may persist for weeks or months), according to the CDC. Here's more about when it's safe to be around others after having coronavirus: How Long After Having Coronavirus Are You Contagious? Here's What Doctors Say

Is diarrhea a symptom of COVID-19?

A 2020 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that digestive issues—like diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain—may be more common than previously thought, with up to half of COVID-19 patients diagnosed complaining of stomach issues. What you should know about this symptom: Is Diarrhea a Symptom of COVID-19? New Study Says Digestive Issues May Be Common With Coronavirus

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

There is currently no cure for coronavirus, but vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are close to FDA approval, and the Pfizer vaccine is already approved and being given to people in the UK. Read more about the vaccine development and who would be first in line to receive the vaccine: COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Groups: CDC Panel Recommends Who Should Get the Vaccine First

Is coronavirus airborne?

Yes, according to the CDC, which acknowledged in October that the coronavirus can be spread through airborne transmission—and that's why mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing are so important.

Is sneezing a symptom of Covid-19?

A runny or congested nose is considered a symptom of the coronavirus by the CDC—but sneezing by itself is not. A report published by the World Health Organization found that only 4.8% of patients showed nasal congestion as a sign or symptom of a COVID-19 infection, a much lower percentage than other common symptoms. Here's a rundown of what we know so far: Is Stuffy Nose a Symptom of COVID? Here's What an Expert Says

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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