Coronavirus and COVID-19

How Online Doctors Can Help

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Know the Symptoms of COVID‑19

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

A new coronavirus was identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak of a disease called COVID-19. Symptoms typically include a cough and difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms can appear from two to 14 days after exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still learning about how the infection spreads, but coronaviruses typically travel from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, just like the flu.

COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets and can persist for a short time on some surfaces. It generally takes prolonged contact at fewer than 6 feet away to become infected. Most patients who are infected have mild symptoms of the disease. The elderly and those with preexisting chronic conditions are more likely to have complications. 

Speak with a doctor right away if you have flu-like symptoms or difficulty breathing. 

Looking for COVID-19 testing? Find a location near you >

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Infection

To avoid contracting COVID-19, use the same precautions that you would for the flu or cold: 

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly
  • Avoid handshakes
  • Cover your cough
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you feel sick
  • Practice social distancing to prevent potential spread
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days if you’ve been exposed
  • Wear a cloth face mask when out in public

Next Steps If You Have Symptoms

If you’re sick or think you may have come in contact with someone who is sick, try not to panic. Because symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can be similar, here are some specific precautions worth taking: 

  • Stay home
  • Monitor your symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, repeated shaking with chills, headache, new loss of taste or smell)
  • Have an online visit using Amwell. Visiting a doctor online allows you to be evaluated from your home, which can reduce the chance of contracting and/or spreading illness. As there is a heightened awareness of COVID-19 and more cases are being diagnosed in the United States, please expect longer than usual wait times due to high demand, depending on your location. If your symptoms are mild and you do not have a fever or shortness of breath, you may choose to not seek medical care at this time.

Stay Informed

The CDC will continue to provide updates as it learns more. Visit the CDC website regularly to stay informed about COVID-19 and the best ways to take care of yourself and your family. 

Important Note

 Visit with a doctor using Amwell before going to a clinic or hospital if you meet the following criteria: 

  • Symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, chills, repeated shaking with chills
  • Travel to countries with COVID-19 alerts within 14 days of onset of symptoms
  • Contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 within 14 days of onset of symptoms

How Amwell’s Online Doctors Can Help You

An online doctor visit is a sensible option if you're worried that you're sick because you can get medical attention from your home and limit the possible spread of illness. You can have a telehealth visit to screen for COVID-19 in four simple steps: 

  1. Download and login to the Amwell app 
  2. Pick a provider
  3. Describe your symptoms 
  4. Give detailed explanations of travel history, etc. 

Your provider will then recommend next steps (staying home and tracking your symptoms or going to a nearby urgent care facility). Ultimately the goal of the visit is for you and your doctor to work together to identify how to keep you and your family healthy.

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Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

See below for answers to some of our most common questions. You can also call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1‑844‑SEE‑DOCS for questions about our services or to speak to a doctor about your symptoms or conditions.

  • How do people become infected with COVID-19?

    The virus is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets between people who are in close contact — within about 6 feet of each other. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be inhaled into the lungs or land on the skin of someone nearby who then spreads it when they touch their face or mouth. While reports of spread occurring from people without symptoms has been reported, this is believed to be uncommon.[1]

    [1] CDC Coronavirus Disease and You- Key Facts.

  • How dangerous is COVID-19?

    Overall fatality rates of COVID-19 are low, and most people have mild symptoms. Those with chronic lung disease and other chronic medical conditions and people older than 65 years with weaker immune systems are most at risk for complications if they contract COVID-19.[1] Even though most individuals will not die from it, COVID-19 is a public health concern because there is no immunity to it.[2]

    [1]  Wilson N, Kvalsvig A, Telfar Barnard L, Baker MG. Case-fatality estimates for COVID-19 calculated by using a lag time for fatality. Emerg Infect Dis. 3/13/2020 10.3201/eid2606.200320

    [2] Becker's Hospital Review, Leaked AHA webinar slide shows US hospitals brazing for 96 million coronavirus cases3/12/20:

  • How can I tell if I have COVID-19?

    Only a healthcare professional can diagnose symptoms, but there are some that are particularly common to coronavirus infections. COVID-19 is a lower respiratory infection, which means it mainly affects the lungs. Most people develop a fever with a cough and shortness of breath. Many also feel exhausted, and have body aches[1]

    [1] CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Symptoms;

  • How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

    The best way to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is to avoid exposure.[1]

    1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and after you have been in a public place.
    2. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    5. Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
    6. Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
    7. Wear a face mask if you are sick. Face masks are not helpful if you are well, unless you are caring for someone who is sick with a respiratory infection.
    8. Clean and disinfect doorknobs, phones, keyboards, counters, toilets, faucets and sinks every day.

    [1] CDC How to Protect Yourself

  • What is COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of virus in the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses are responsible for a wide range of infections from the common cold to more serious lung infections. The strain, which causes COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and is related to two other coronaviruses responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)[1]

    [1]World Health Organization Health Topics-Coronavirus

  • Who should be tested for COVID-19?

    People who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, or who live in a community where there is active spread of COVID-19 should contact a healthcare professional to discuss whether testing is necessary.[1]

    [1] CDC Testing for COVID-19

  • What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

    After you get the COVID-19 vaccine, you may have pain and swelling in the arm where you got the shot. You may also feel tired or get a fever, chills, or headache. Side effects are a normal sign that your body is building up protection against COVID-19. They should go away in a few days. Currently, both available COVID-19 vaccines require two shots for full immunity. If you have side effects after your first shot, you should still get the second one unless your doctor or vaccine provider tells you not to. Rarely, COVID-19 vaccines can cause a severe allergic reaction that requires emergency treatmentIf you believe you are having a severe allergic reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, seek care immediately by calling 911. 


  • How does the vaccine affect people with allergies?

    If you have a history of allergic reactions not related to vaccines — for example, allergies to foods, pets, things in the environment, or oral medications  you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Iyouve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or other injection in the past, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In general, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that vaccination providermonitor people on-site after giving them COVID-19 vaccines. These professionals have emergency treatments and equipment on hand in the event of a severe allergic reaction.  

    You should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines if you have a history of allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate, or to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. If you had an allergic reaction after receiving your first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive the second shot 


  • How many times will I need to be vaccinated?

    Currently, there are two COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. Both require two shots in order for you to get the maximum protection. Depending on which vaccine you receive, you will need to get your second shot either three or four weeks after your first shot. Researchers are still studying another vaccine that requires only one shot. 


  • Is there a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not determined whether future booster shots might be needed for either of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines currently available. Only the two initial shots of the vaccine are recommended at this time. 


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