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Cut through the confusion surrounding the new coronavirus with this course that aims to dispel misinformation about COVID-19.

October 19, 2021

Given the rapid change of COVID-19 information, we’ve retired the original “What You Need to Know” course and launched a new course: “COVID-19: The Fight Continues.” This course contains up-to-date information about the state of the pandemic in 2021.

July 14, 2020

This update includes refinements throughout the course to reflect the latest information on COVID-19 mortality rates, virus transmission, symptoms, prevention strategies, and updated guidance for travelers, parents, and businesses.

What Is COVID-19?

  • Updated COVID-19 mortality rate (most countries have a mortality rate of 5% or lower, with the United States currently at 4.3%.)

How It’s Spread

  • Emphasized person-to-person spread as the primary mode of transmission

  • Noted that some studies indicate the virus may spread between people within 18 feet of each other if there's a breeze

  • Updated statistics regarding how contagious the virus is (R0)

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Expanded the lists of potential symptoms and complications

  • Updated details about testing and diagnosis

  • Noted that treatment options are under investigation


  • Added “avoid close contact” to the steps for prevention

  • Restructured and updated the content about wearing a cloth face covering to incorporate it in the main steps for prevention

Exposure Assessment and Response

  • Information condensed and restructured for clarity

  • Known-risk content updated to reflect the dangers of close contact with symptomatic and asymptomatic persons

  • Added details on the known-risk exposure-period duration

  • New details highlighting how exposure risk applies even if both parties are wearing cloth face coverings or personal protective equipment

What to Do If You’re Sick

  • Updated statistics based on newly available CDC numbers (rather than relying on the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s numbers)

  • Added pregnant people to the list of high-risk groups

  • Updated COVID-19 Mortality Rate by Age chart—new percentages are based on the combined averages of South Korea, Spain, China, and Italy

  • Added details on how officials test for COVID-19

Flattening the Curve During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Added information about how the “curve” is steepening again as some areas lift restrictions and reopen businesses

  • Removed information about what individuals can do to “flatten the curve” since the tips were a repeat of recommendations presented elsewhere in the course

Information for Travelers

  • Updated the information about international travel to reflect the CDC’s latest guidance (level 3 travel notice)

  • Updated guidance about traveling within the United States to reflect that many destinations are under “shelter in place” orders

  • Updated guidance about air travel to reflect that there is an increased risk when flying as opposed to the initial guidance from the CDC that air travel presents a low risk

  • Updated the list of countries from which foreign nationals cannot depart when traveling to the United States

Information for Parents

  • Added new preventive measures for parents to protect their children

  • Added a new section on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)

Information for Businesses

  • Updated language to reflect guidance for keeping customers and employees safe during the reopening of businesses—rather than the preparation of businesses for the pandemic

  • Added content about high-risk professions that fall outside of OSHA’s “high risk” and “very high risk” categories

  • Added new tips for maintaining a safe work environment

  • Updated guidance about what to do if an employee becomes sick at home

March 25, 2020

This update includes refinements throughout the course to reflect the latest information on COVID-19 case numbers, virus transmission, symptoms, prevention strategies, and updated guidance for travelers and businesses.

What Is COVID-19?

  • Corrected instances where the virus, SARS-CoV-2, was referred to as the illness, COVID-19

  • Indicated that COVID-19 cases are now present in every state across the United States

How It’s Spread

  • Added that the WHO says it’s safe to receive letters and packages from China

  • Updated which countries are experiencing sustained community spread

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Added information about reduced sense of smell and taste as a new, potential COVID-19 symptom

Exposure Assessment and Response

  • Updated the criteria in the high-, medium-, and low- or no-identifiable risk categories

What to Do If You’re Sick

  • Updated statistics and other information about the high-risk groups

Information for Travelers

  • Updated the introduction to reflect that most travel has been halted, with the exception of emergency situations

  • Updated the “Should I Travel Within the United States?” Q&A

  • Updated the “Will I Be Quarantined After International Travel?” Q&A

Information for Businesses

  • Added more guidance about getting the workplace ready for a COVID-19 outbreak

  • Added guidance about how to maintain a safe work environment during COVID-19

March 13, 2020

This was the first version of the COVID-19 course, exploring the latest information from a variety of trusted public sources.

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