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Coronavirus and COVID-19

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Written By: Ashley Kane on May 14, 2021

All about COVID‑19 vaccines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines to prevent COVID‑19 in the United States. COVID‑19 vaccines are safe and effective and if we want to take control of the pandemic we need as many people vaccinated as possible. What we do as individuals will greatly shape the future of the pandemic.

The vaccine developed by Pfizer is reported to be 95% effective at preventing COVID‑19 and the one produced by Moderna is similarly effective at 94.5%. While the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is 63% effective at preventing any COVID‑19 infection, it is reported to be 100% effective at preventing hospitalization or severe illness. All three vaccines work by triggering an immune response in your body to protect against the coronavirus infection. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses a few weeks apart to be effective, whereas the Johnson and Johnson vaccine only needs a single dose to be fully effective.

Vaccines are now more widely accessible in the U.S. Everyone 12 and older is recommended to get a COVID‑19 vaccination.

Many doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics offer COVID‑19 vaccines. Your doctor’s office or local pharmacy may contact you with information about their vaccination plans. Parents, check with your child’s healthcare provider about whether they will offer COVID‑19 vaccination as Pfizer-BioNTech is available for children 12 and older.

Many people have questions about the safety of the vaccine and whether they should/are able to get it. It’s also been reported that there have been some side effects from the vaccine. Talk to a doctor virtually to get care for your symptoms or reactions, and to get answers to your important questions.

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You can also see answers to common questions about COVID‑19 vaccines here.

What can I do after I am fully vaccinated?

Once you’re fully vaccinated (2 weeks after your final dose), you can resume activities you did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing except where required by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. You will still need to wear a mask while traveling on planes, buses, and trains, in transportation hubs such as airports or train stations, and when a business or workplace requires it.

It’s important to continue to watch out for COVID‑19 symptoms. If you are sick, you should still get tested, stay home, and keep away from others. If you have a condition or take medication that weakens your immune system, you should talk to your doctor first before stopping any of the preventive steps you took before you were vaccinated.

The latest numbers on the United States coronavirus outbreak

  • There are a total of 32,643,851 cases in the United States.
  • There are 580,837 deaths reported.
  • You can see which states currently have mandates here.

Guidelines from the CDC

  • COVID‑19 vaccines: You can read more about how a vaccine can help prevent COVID‑19.
  • Face masks: The CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks in public places for protection. It is important to note these are cloth face masks. N-95 masks and surgical masks continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders only. Here’s a video that shows how to correctly wear a face mask:

Worldwide coronavirus outbreak

  • There have been 160,813,869 confirmed cases of COVID‑19 worldwide, with 3,339,002 deaths. You can view additional data here.
  • Here’s what we know about the new COVID‑19 COVID-19 variants.
  • The following countries have restrictions on entry into the United States: China, Iran, most European countries, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Brazil.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all global destinations.
  • The WHO characterized COVID‑19 as a pandemic in March 2020. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO stated, "This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time."
  • WHO, UN Foundation, and partners launched the COVID‑19 Solidarity Response Fund to support the work of WHO and partners to help countries respond to the COVID‑19 pandemic.
  • The OpenWHO online courses for COVID‑19 provide free learning resources for health professionals, decision-makers, and the public.
  • WHO and partners have launched an international clinical trial, SOLIDARITY, with the goal of generating robust data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID‑19.
  • The Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that "young people are not invincible from COVID‑19." The data from many countries show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization for the coronavirus disease.

What to do if you are coping with stress

A pandemic is stressful, and it is natural if you are feeling anxious during this time. It’s important to take care of yourself. Here are some resources for you to consider.

What to do if you feel sick

If you’re sick or think that you may have come in contact with someone who is sick, try not to panic. It’s important to see a doctor.

Amwell doctors are prepared to screen for COVID‑19. Online doctors can:

  • Assess your symptoms during a visit.
  • Discuss next steps and care options.
  • Refer you to in-person care if necessary.
  • Avoid traveling to the doctor’s office and exposing yourself to other germs by having a visit online. Telehealth allows you to seek medical attention from your home, which can reduce the chance of contracting and/or spreading illness.

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Frequently asked questions about coronavirus

What is a coronavirus? Coronaviruses originate in animals and rarely spread to humans. Two well-known types of coronaviruses have infected humans and led to outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The current outbreak involves a new coronavirus that causes a condition called COVID‑19.

What are the symptoms? People with COVID‑19 have a range of reported symptoms from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. People with these symptoms, or a combination of symptoms, may have COVID‑19:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath

or at least two of the following:

  • fever
  • chills
  • repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of smell or taste

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterates that these symptoms are not all-inclusive. Speak to a medical provider if you have symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

How does it spread? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still learning about how the new coronavirus spreads. Coronaviruses typically spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, just like the flu, or through surfaces that a person with the virus has touched. It’s important to maintain a distance of 6 feet around others when out in public to avoid potential exposure to the virus as there are now reports of people contracting the virus without exhibiting symptoms.

How do you prevent it? The best ways to stay healthy are to cover your cough, avoid close contact with people who are sick, maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public spaces, avoid handshakes or high fives, and wash your hands for 20 to 30 seconds with soap and water. If running water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Click here to find out how to select and use hand sanitizer. The CDC also recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public.

How is it treated? Speak with a doctor immediately if you have a fever, trouble breathing, or flu-like symptoms.