Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2). WHO first learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
- Chills or dizziness.
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. More information about the differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
While more is learned every day about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, there is still a lot that is unknown.
Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
While there are vaccines now for COVID-19, there is no cure for the virus. The FDA has approved the anti-viral medication remdesivir (Veklury) for treatment in hospitalized patients with COVID. It has been found to help in recovery of those severely affected by COVID-19. That said, remdesivir is not a cure.
The anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were originally granted emergency use, but that was later revoked after studies found that it’s “unlikely to be effective” against COVID-19 in addition to the serious side effects it can cause.
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity
Vaccination : Go to Mass.gov to find available sites.
It’s important to know that vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals. Before any vaccine is made available, it must go through rigorous development and testing. Manufacturing is critical — every dose must consistently be high quality. Additionally, extensive testing in clinical trials is conducted to prove safety. First, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. Next, the vaccine is given to people with particular characteristics (e.g., age and physical health). Then, the vaccine is given to tens of thousands of people and tested for effectiveness and safety.
After that, the data is reviewed by the FDA which approves the vaccine, and by an independent board, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) which will make its recommendations for use. These bodies are the final safeguards for the public ensuring any vaccine is both safe and effective.
Please visit Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States | CDC for more information.