Disclaimer: The following information is taken from a variety of government, scientific, and public sources and is not the official view or perspective of The Lundquist Institute. During this time, information, data, and analysis regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is in process and cannot always be independently verified. We offer this Q&A as a public service to the community; our advice is to always seek the help of a health professional if you think you have any symptoms or are not feeling well. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to us at publicaffairs@lundquist.org.


About COVID-19


COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the cold or flu, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. Be vigilant as severe cases may lead to pneumonia, kidney failure or death.

Mild symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Runny Nose & Sneezing
  • Cough & Sore Throat
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Muscle Pain & Weakness
  • Chills & Fatigue
  • Impaired Liver & Kidney Function

You can self-check for symptoms using this online tool developed by Emory University's School of Medicine: https://c19check.com/.

The City of Los Angeles provides a website to find out if you are eligible for free COVID-19 testing at Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing.


The CDC provides the following information:

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of the illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States. 
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Practice social distancing; six feet from another person is the recommended distance. 


  • STAY home
  • STOP the spread
  • SAVE lives

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises the following prevention methods:

Wash Hands Frequently

Use soap and water for visibly dirty hands or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently for non-visibly dirty hands.

Practice Respiratory Hygiene

When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Maintain Social Distancing

Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.

Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose & Mouth

Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

Seek Medical Care Early

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and tell your health care provider if you have traveled in an area in China where the virus has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms.

Mild Symptoms

If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, still seek medical care and be sure to carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.

Animal Proximity Precautions

Practice general hygiene measures when visiting farms or contact with wild animals. Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products.

Animal Consumption

Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

COVID-19 Testing

In most cases, the test involves taking a throat swab or a throat-nose swab from the patient. In the case of a well-founded suspicion, samples should not only be taken from the upper airways but also from the lower airways, for example from coughing up secretions from the bronchi or lungs. The samples are tested for coronavirus in diagnostic laboratories. The procedure is based on a so-called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Such tests take about five hours and have become standard procedures in laboratories. They are also used to clarify hereditary diseases or to determine paternity.

In PCR, a specifically selected piece of DNA is copied and multiplied in a thermocycler in order to search for specific DNA pieces, such as coronavirus. The method then shows whether and how many pathogens are present in the body. In viral infections, this is called the "viral load." The actual test takes about five hours, plus the transport time to the test laboratory. The results are usually available after one or two days, after which the doctor informs the patients. If the test result is positive, the patient and the respective health authority are informed immediately. If necessary, this is followed by inpatient admission with specially designed isolation rooms and protective measures. In the case of mild disease progression, patients can also remain at home in isolation as long as it is ensured that they cannot infect third parties. 

What is the difference between a bacterial and viral infection?

As you might think, bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, and viral infections are caused by viruses. Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren't effective against viruses.


Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that thrive in many different types of environments. Some varieties live in extremes of cold or heat. Others make their home in people's intestines, where they help digest food. Most bacteria cause no harm to people, but there are exceptions.
Infections caused by bacteria include:

  • Strep throat
  • Tuberculosis
  • Urinary tract infections

Inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped create bacterial diseases that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medications.


Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require living hosts — such as people, plants or animals — to multiply. Otherwise, they can't survive. When a virus enters your body, it invades some of your cells and takes over the cell machinery, redirecting it to produce the virus.

Diseases caused by viruses include:

  • Chickenpox
  • AIDS
  • Common colds

In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether a bacterium or a virus is causing your symptoms. Many ailments — such as pneumonia, meningitis and diarrhea — can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. 


With social distancing and sheltering in place, mental health services are available to the public.

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 854-7771, or text "LA" to 741741, to connect with a trained professional.

For New York, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help. Contact (844) 863-9314 if you feel overwhelmed.


More Information

Please visit the following health organizations for the most up-to-date information on possible vaccines, treatments, FAQs, news and more: