C O V I D  19

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It affects your lungs, airways and other organs.

Coronaviruses are from a large and diverse family of viruses that cause illnesses such as the common cold. Other recent diseases caused by coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

SARS-CoV-2 was first recognised in China and likely originated in animals. It is still unclear how the virus came to infect humans. The disease spread to other countries, with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

The virus has since undergone genetic mutations over time as it adapts to humans. Some of these mutations, such as the Delta variant, can spread more easily than the original virus and cause more severe disease.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • a fever of at least 38°C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, sneezing and runny nose, temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste.

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea, headache, muscle pain or body aches, nausea, vomiting, confusion or irritability.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your iwi health provider.