The Virus & Transmission

Dr. Patrick Boyle, a faculty member in Pacific's School of Physician Assistant Studies, explains the virus above. Watch in Spanish.

What is COVID-19?

  • SARS-CoV-2 is a type of coronavirus that causes a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), among other symptoms.
  • COVID-19 is the specific disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

How is it transmitted?

  • Through air by droplets emitted when you are close to an infected person who coughs and/or sneezes
  • By touching hard, smooth surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus, followed by touching your face, especially your mouth, nose and eyes
  • Transmission can occur a few days before symptoms appear or when carriers are asymptomatic

How serious is it?

  • It appears that 80% of infected people will have a mild case.
  • However, 1 in 5 will require hospitalization
  • People with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for a severe case

Vulnerable Populations

Students and employees who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include individuals with any of the following characteristics:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People with chronic lung disease (other than mild asthma)
  • People with serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • People with a body mass index of 30 or higher
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
  • People with other medical conditions identified by OHA, CDC or a licensed health care provider that put the individual at higher risk of severe illness

Faculty and staff with one of the above risk factors should contact Tracy King in Human Resources at and complete the Request for Accommodation form. Human Resources will work with each faculty or staff member to determine reasonable accommodations up to and including telework/remote work. Please see Pacific University HR Guide to Return to Campus for further employment and leave details. Human Resources will inform the appropriate college dean of the accommodations needed for any specific faculty or staff member.  

Learn more from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention