Facts About COVID-19

COVID-19 has been circulating among humans since late 2019, and during that time we have learned much about the virus and how it is transmitted. This knowledge allows us to better understand how to protect ourselves and our community.

Transmission of different strains of COVID-19 happens primarily person-to-person, through droplets that are created when people talk, cough, sneeze, or engage in similar activities that cause particles from the lungs to be expelled through the nose and mouth.

It is important to know that people who are infected with COVID-19 are contagious before they show symptoms, and some people never show symptoms at all (see also this article).  Because of this, the best advice is to treat everyone, even yourself, as if they are contagious with COVID-19. The simple precautions below can help reduce the chances of infection for all the known strains of this virus.

One of the most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 is by keeping distance between you and others (social distancing). As we begin spring semester, we continue to:

  • Modify spaces to decrease population density. This can be in the form of markings on the floor showing appropriate distances, signage, limiting the number of people allowed in a space at one time, and rearranging furniture.
  • Decrease the number of people in an office by modifying work schedules and through telework.
  • Increase air circulation and let in fresh air where possible. This dilutes any COVID-19 virus present, thus reducing the risk of transmission.

Other methods of transmission are not as common, but are still important to understand so we can minimize the risk posed. Transmission from hard surfaces is possible, as the virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 3 days, and it is important to sanitize high-touch surfaces. The risk of transmission through HVAC systems is low, but it is possible.

Answers to many questions can be found at the CDC, WHO, and NM Department of Health. NMDOH provides specific guidance for New Mexico, including public health orders.