How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and 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. COVID-19 can also survive on surfaces that have been contaminated with respiratory secretions. (For example, a sick person coughs on their hand and then touches a doorknob.) So contaminated surfaces may be another, less common, route of transmission. Common disinfectants kill COVID-19 on surfaces.
Can the virus spread before symptoms present?
Yes. It is estimated that about 45% of people who contract COVID-19 will have no symptoms. If you are asymptomatic, your ability to spread the virus is not dependent on the severity of your symptoms. Even without symptoms, you can still have a large amount of the virus in your body, similar to someone who has severe symptoms.