IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED
CDC has updated its guidance for people who are fully vaccinated. See Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

How COVID-19 Spreads

How COVID-19 Spreads

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

Protect Yourself and Others

Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms.

To protect yourself against getting COVID-19 from inhalation:

To protect yourself against getting COVID-19 from splashes or sprays:

To protect yourself against getting COVID-19 from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth:

Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others and what you can do after you’ve been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 and Animals

COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations. Pet cats and dogs can sometimes become infected after close contact with people with COVID-19. Learn what you should do if you have pets.

Reinfection

Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare​.​ CDC is actively working to learn more about reinfection to inform public health action.