Everything You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

COVID-19 can be caught in a variety of ways

SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19 (the new coronavirus). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it spreads in three ways (CDC). First, if you are close to an infected individual who is exhaling minute droplets and particles containing the virus, you can catch COVID-19 by breathing in the air. If those tiny droplets and particles land in your eyes, nose, or mouth, or if you have pathogen particles on your hands and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you can catch it.

COVID-19 poses a threat to whom?

Anyone can get COVID-19, but certain people are more susceptible to “severe illness,” which may necessitate hospitalization or intensive care. In addition, COVID-19 is more likely to cause significant illness in older adults than in younger, healthier people. In reality, the vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths in the United States have been among those aged 50 and up, with the risk increasing with age.

Adults of any age who have an underlying medical condition are more likely to have problems from a coronavirus infection, such as those who have:

  • Cancer
  • Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease  
  • Diabetes 
  • Down syndrome  
  • Heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, hypertension, or heart problems in general
  • Positive to HIV or have AIDS
  • Thalassemia, often known as sickle cell disease, is a blood disorder that affects people.
  • Current or previous smoking, solid organ or blood stem cell transplant (includes bone marrow transplants)
  • Stroke, also known as cerebrovascular disease, is a condition that impairs blood flow to the brain.
  • Disorders of substance abuse (such as alcohol, opioid, or cocaine use disorder)
  • Tuberculosis

What can you do to reduce your risk?

Boost your immunity by getting vaccinated. Two vaccines have been licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): a two-shot series from Pfizer-BioNTech and another two-shot series from Moderna. It has also granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine (J&J). However, the CDC now recommends using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instead of J&J’s.

COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality can be prevented with any of the three vaccinations. Everyone 5 and older, including persons who have had COVID-19 in the past, are encouraged to get vaccinated (shots for younger populations are currently being reviewed). Adults aged 18 and up are also eligible for booster shots to improve their COVID protection, particularly in light of the highly transmissible omicron form. Those aged 12 to 17 who received a Pfizer vaccine can also receive a booster dose.

Wearing a face mask in public indoor settings, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated rooms, keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and individuals, not in your household, and washing your hands frequently are all strategies to reduce your chances of being sick from COVID-19.

Are there any adverse effects from the vaccines?

Mild to severe side effects, including arm soreness, headache, fatigue, muscle, and joint discomfort, nausea, fever, or chills, are frequent after vaccination, but these are “natural indicators that your body is creating protection,” according to the CDC.

There have been no long-term side effects reported yet.

A small percentage of vaccine patients have had inadequate responses to the doses. According to the CDC, these extreme reactions to COVID-19 vaccination are “rare but possible,” according to the CDC. Anaphylaxis, or an allergic reaction, has been reported in 2 to 5 people per million who have been vaccinated in the United States. This is why, after your shot or booster, you may be requested to wait 15 minutes to monitor for symptoms. 

Vaccine providers have drugs on hand to treat the reaction swiftly.

Reports of myocarditis or pericarditis in some teenagers and younger adults following vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also being monitored by health experts. However, according to the CDC, the majority of these patients who received treatment responded favorably to therapy and improved fast.

Is it possible to contract COVID-19 despite being completely vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent a coronavirus infection, but they are also very successful at avoiding serious illnesses caused by COVID-19. According to federal data, unvaccinated people are 16 times more likely than vaccinated people to be hospitalized due to a coronavirus illness.

Unvaccinated people aged 50 and older are up to 4 5 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated and boosted.

Despite these safeguards, the vaccines are not 100 percent successful in preventing the virus from spreading — and preliminary research suggests that omicron is stronger at evading immunizations than earlier variations — making it conceivable for completely vaccinated people to contract COVID-19. A “breakthrough infection” is what this is referred to as.

While fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections are less likely than unvaccinated people to develop serious disease from COVID-19, they are nonetheless contagious and can transfer the virus to others. This is why, regardless of vaccination status, health professionals advise wearing a face mask in public indoor settings, especially in places where viral transmission levels are high or substantial. This can help prevent persons who are asymptomatic or have a mild sickness from spreading the virus to others unintentionally.

What are the COVID-19 symptoms?

COVID-19 patients have reported a wide spectrum of symptoms that develop two to 14 days after virus exposure, including:

  • Chills or a fever
  • Cough
  • Breathing problems or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Aches in the muscles or throughout the body
  • Headache
  • New olfactory or gustatory impairment
  • Throat irritation
  • Congestion or a runny nose are both symptoms of congestion.
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Diarrhea

This list is not exhaustive, and some other uncommon symptoms, ranging from cognitive difficulties to skin rashes, have been reported throughout the pandemic.

You can use a COVID-19 test to see if you have an infection. You can also use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive reference for medical guidance.

The majority of COVID-19 patients can recover at home. Get medical help right away if you develop emergency warning signs such as chest pain or pressure, new disorientation or confusion, pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, difficulty breathing, or an inability to wake or stay awake.