Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)—For Beginners to Experts

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June 3rd 2020 UPDATE

  • Global estimates are over ~6,450,000+ cases ...
  • The Novel 2019 coronavirus is called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, & causes the COVID-19 illness (formerly 2019-nCov).
    • Risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in Canada Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 10.43.20 PM.png is continuing to rise = 94,500+ cases. See also
    • In the US, ~1,850,000+ cases have been reported.
    • Implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic change often. Best advice is to stay informed by getting updates every day via resources below.
    • With considerable misinformation spreading during the pandemic (an infodemic), watch for conflicting news stories and scientific evidence.
      • Thus be critical of what you read regardless of the source.
      • Watch for anyone downplaying (or, over-hyping) concerns associated with COVID-19.
      • And share concerns with your health provider, a colleague or family member.


This pathfinder is structured in three sections and updated 2x daily:

  1. Part I is for consumers: protect yourself (next section)
  2. Part II is for experts such as researchers & clinicians.
  3. NEW: See Part III for medical librarians.

Reliable, evidence-based COVID-19 information is urgently needed by patients and health professionals around the world.

Note: To recommend additional links to this page, e-mail


  • Social distancing: AT ALL TIMES stay two metres or six (6) feet apart in public.
  • Masks & gloves: many people are wearing masks and gloves in public now.
  • Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 10.43.20 PM.png In Canada, masks are now recommended when in public spaces.
  • Quarantine period: 14 days if you have been exposed to others with COVID-19. (Testing is recommended if you have been exposed.)
  • Disinfect: Wash your hands with soap & hot water thoroughly (and often) for 20 seconds after touching objects outside the home.
  • Sanitize: Use at least 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you can disinfect.
  • Homemade facemasks: recommended when in public spaces, especially when caring for others.


If you have symptoms such as fever, malaise, cough OR difficulty breathing contact a health care provider and ask about self-quarantine & testing.

  • HERE is a simple, informative easy literacy handout from HealthLink BC: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Need to speak to a health professional now for advice about your "next steps"?
    • In BC, call 811 toll-free or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1.
    • In an effort to ease the burden on HealthLink 811, BC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 line at 1-888-COVID19 or text at 1-888-268-4319.
    • The Public Health Agency of Canada Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 10.43.20 PM.png has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397. As facts emerge about COVID-19, this guide will be updated. Stay informed, and ask your health provider for assistance. [Disclaimer]
  • Use caution when evaluating information found on the Web (or in print) about COVID-19; urge others to do the same. Evaluate information on COVID-19 with your health provider.

In Canada Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 10.43.20 PM.png

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For emerging, easy-to-understand information, see:

In the United States

Medline/PubMed Searching

PART II FOR RESEARCHERS: “Evidence-Based” Studies, Reports, Updates

This part of the guide presents links to research and evidence based information resources on COVID-19. It is intended for research purposes only. It will be updated as more information becomes available. Patients should contact their health provider if they have questions about their health care.

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  • LitCOVID ... a curated literature hub at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus.
  • Central access to 16,945 peer-review articles; updated daily and further categorized by different topics and geographic locations for improved access.

OVID Searching

Ovid Medline “Search on COVID-19”

  1. (exp coronavirus/ or coronavirus*.mp.) and (wuhan or beijing or shanghai or 2019-nCoV or nCov or COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2).mp.
  2. coronavirus*.ti. or (novel coronavirus*.mp. and (exp china/ or or (( or exp pneumonia/) and
  3. ('COVID-19' or '2019-nCov' or 'SARS-CoV-2').mp. or exp Coronavirus Infections/
  4. or/1-3
  5. See also

Google Scholar Search Strings:

  • Cut and paste Bramer’s search into 2019nCoV|"2019 nCoV|CoV|coronavirus"|"2019 novel|new coronavirus|cov"|"wuhan coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak"|"wuhan*coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak"|"wuhan**coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak"|"coronavirus|cov|ncov*wuhan"

Evidence-based & Point-of-care information

Top Impact Medical Journals & Preprints - Articles about COVID-19


Library Web Guides

Additional Readings / Misinformation


  • China: Truth In A Pandemic | 101 East. COVID-19 pandemic is claiming lives around the world, terrifying populations, forcing entire countries into lockdown.
  • COVID-19: Tracing The First Month Of The Novel Coronavirus | Insight | Will the new novel coronavirus - which has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 75,000 others - trigger the possibility of a global pandemic?


Other useful links


This pathfinder has been created by a medical librarian. When COVID-19 became a serious worldwide issue, I started to collect links to ensure that all relevant information was brought together in one place. While the guide provides up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a doctor. While I strive to keep all content current and correct, I make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability of information, products, services, or related graphics contained on any of the websites listed. Only qualified health providers can provide health care e.g., they will take your health history, examine you, and bring their expertise and experience to bear on evaluating you. Put simply, advice regarding your care should always include your physician and other health providers. Please ask your local medical librarian for further assistance.

"Sharing is caring'

Thank you for reading to the bottom of the pathfinder. This pathfinder and the links shared here are compiled from the suggestions of many medical librarians and information professionals from around the world. Feel free to reuse any information here and/or borrow the structure in building your own guides for your own communities.

Note: To recommend additional links to this page, please e-mail