Over a year and a half later, COVID-19 is still a major health concern for people across the globe. Whether you’ve had COVID-19 yourself or you know someone who was diagnosed, there is still a lot that we have to learn about the virus.
However, over the last year and a half, there have been insights in new studies done on the most impactful pandemic within the last century. Below, we are going to share recent findings of COVID-19, including how it spreads, insight on the vaccines, and more.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, symptoms have mostly stayed the same. Symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Unfortunately, it can have the same symptoms as other viruses including the flu. There are even symptoms that correlate with a common cold, sinus infection, or pneumonia.
Another downside about covered symptoms is that some infected people experience them months after being diagnosed and recovered. It can also take months for your sense of smell and taste to return to normal.
If you are showing some symptoms that correlate with COVID-19, it does not necessarily mean that you have it. However, it is best to proceed with caution and consult your doctor or get tested if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
Speaking of exposure, let’s talk about how COVID-19 is spread.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was believed that COVID-19 was spread via aerosol as well as contact surfaces. This means that you could touch an area that has COVID-19 virus and catch the virus through that method.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the newest findings. It is quite rare that you will catch COVID-19 by touching a surface. This is because COVID-19 does not survive very well outside of a body. It simply cannot sustain itself on the surface of something like a countertop.
However, it is very true that COVID-19 spreads via aerosol. This means that the virus spreads through droplets that come through the nose or the mouth. If somebody sneezes or coughs, the virus spreads through the air in this manner.
From there, especially if the virus spreads indoors, it will find a new person to infect by entering the nose or mouth. Studies show that droplets from the sneeze can spread 23 to 27 feet through the air. However, the time that the droplets remain in the air depends on several conditions including the temperature of the room.
Does COVID-19 Spread Outside?
Recent findings show that it is not impossible for COVID-19 to spread while outdoors. But the likelihood of the virus spreading while you’re outside is greatly reduced in comparison to being outdoors.
COVID-19 spreads fast when there is a large group of people gathered into an indoor facility. This can be a home, store, or any other closed building.
On the other hand, if you are at the park and you pass somebody who is running on the trail, this would be a very unlikely way to catch COVID-19. Keep in mind that there is no 100% guaranteed way that you will not catch COVID-19, but being outside will reduce your risk.
Unfortunately, nearly anybody can catch COVID-19. It is believed that a portion of a global population has natural immunity to it and will never catch it. It is best to assume though, that you are able to catch it and take the proper precautions.
Otherwise, there are people and groups who are more susceptible to catching COVID-19. These people also have a higher probability of suffering harsher symptoms and having difficulty recovering from the virus.
So, who are these people that are more susceptible to COVID-19? People with autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and obesity are more susceptible to the symptoms of COVID-19.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Covid-19?
Some CDC guidelines have mostly remained the same when it comes to preventing catching COVID-19, as well as reducing the spread of it.
One area to start with is masks. Studies show that masks make the virus less likely to spread, therefore resulting in fewer cases. Mask I’ll be most effective when used indoors around large crowds.
Meanwhile, vaccinations are also another way that you can help prevent catching and spreading COVID-19. In mind that you are not guaranteed to never catch COVID-19 if you have a vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine, no matter from which brand, does not give a 100% rate of protection. It is still possible to catch COVID-19 and even die from it if you have the vaccine.
What’s important to realize is that having the vaccine makes it less likely that you will catch it. It also makes it less likely that you will experience extreme symptoms that will result in hospitalization or death. Keep in mind that over 99% of today’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients.
You are also less likely to spread the virus if you have a COVID-19 vaccination. The most recent study shows that people with the Pfizer Covid vaccine have a 65% less likely chance of spreading the virus.
Even when you are vaccinated, it is still advisable to take precautions such as wearing a mask. This is especially true if you live with a young child who was unable to get the vaccination.
This depends on when you get to the COVID-19 vaccine initially. It also depends on who made your CoOVID-19 vaccine.
When you initially get the vaccine, you can expect to have somewhere between 80% to 90% protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. As time goes on, this protection will lessen. That’s why recently COVID-19 boosters are recommended for specific groups. Meanwhile, we are still learning how long the vaccine will protect you.
The CDC recommends a third booster shot to the following groups.
Recent studies show that it is important for pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Know that this is a safe vaccine for pregnant women with very low risk. It also is not believed to pass through to the fetus or cause any form of harm.
Some of the guidelines were loosened in terms of what to do when you were exposed to COVID-19. Initially, you would need to be isolated for 14 days. It’s important that you stay away from anybody in your household or coming in contact with any other people.
Now, with a negative Covid test taken within five days of showing symptoms, you can reduce your quarantine to seven days. This can make it easier to return to work upon a negative test.
Either way, if you were knowingly exposed to COVID-19, you must quarantine to reduce the risk of spreading it to others. This does not matter if you were vaccinated or unvaccinated at the time of exposure.
Variants include alpha, delta, and mu. The COVID-19 Delta variant is the most prominent variant in the United States today. It originated in India and came to the US in late winter/early spring of 2021.
COVID-19 delta variant is more alarming for several reasons. First, it is even more contagious than the original version of COVID-19.
Delta is also extremely contagious when it comes to children. There have been around 100 deaths in the United States in pediatric cases. While there are vaccines available for children starting at 10 years of age, there is still little to no protection available for younger elementary school kids.
While most schools are still hoarding in-person classes, some schools give the option to go virtual.
This is the million dollar question. There is no sure-fire way to know when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. The good news is that cases and deaths are dropping after the large Delta surge through the summer.
There is a large likelihood that COVID-19 will always be part of life. Just like the cold or flu, we will always need to be aware and careful about catching or spreading COVID-19. Social distancing is also an effective way to protect against spreading COVID.
The best you can do right now is to make sure you protect yourself as much as possible. This means wearing a mask and considering the COVID-19 vaccine. In the US, 398 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given to date.
If you are concerned that you have COVID-19, please contact our office for the next steps.