By now, the world has become familiar with COVID-19. But what really is this pandemic causing virus? COVID-19, also known as coronavirus or (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly infectious viral respiratory infection. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include flu-like symptoms, cough, and shortness of breath. While many will experience a mild illness after contracting Covid-19, others may experience serious health complications if contracted which can lead to hospital admissions and even death.
The CDC reports approximately 24 million reported cases of Covid-19 and approximately 400,000 Covid-19 related deaths as of January 21st, 2021. Curtailing the spread, of this highly infectious virus, has proven to be challenging even for some of the most advanced nations.
However, the steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are simple, or at least they appear to be simple on paper. The virus is spread through microscopic respiratory particles that infected individuals breathe out. COVID-19 can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and even speaking or singing.
Preventative COVID-19 Measures Include:
- wearing a mask;
- hand washing;
- keeping a social distance of 6 feet;
- quarantining after testing positive or after being exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
Until recently, lifestyle preventive measures were all that was available in our toolbox to fight this deadly virus, but now there is the long awaited COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, in the United States, there are two vaccines being administered: Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Both of these vaccines require two shots in order to develop successful immunity.
In addition to these two vaccines, three more are in phase three of their clinical trials. These three trial vaccines include AstraZeneca’s, Janssen’s and Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?
For the vaccines that are currently being administered, some may question the safety of these vaccines given their novelty. However, it is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires rigorous investigation of any vaccine prior to its release and ultimately has determined that the potential benefits of the two available vaccines outweigh the potential side effects of the vaccine. The FDA will continue to monitor and research the vaccine and make recommendations and improvements as needed.
COVID-19 Vaccination in Washington, DC
Although there are two vaccines being administered in the United States, there is a waitlist for receiving them in many locations. Vaccines are currently being prioritized for high-risk individuals such as health care workers and the elderly. If you have questions or would like to check your eligibility for a COVID-19 immunization, you can contact your state’s health department, or visit the Center of Disease Control’s website for more information. DC residents can register here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and preventing the spread of the virus should be everyone’s responsibility. By partaking in preventative measures, and arming ourselves with knowledge, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 together.
Dr. Chantal Lewis,
Medical Director of VMT Home Health Agency