According to the CDC: "COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. Over one million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.
COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. COVID-19 may attack more than your lungs and respiratory system. Other parts of your body may also be affected by the disease. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill.
For more information please visit: About COVID-19
Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of prevention and control strategies remains a public health priority. The CDC will continue to provide sustainable, high-impact, and timely information to inform decision-making. For current COVID-19 data, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker.
According to MDHHS, anyone exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, even if they are fully vaccinated or have had a previous COVID-19 infection.
MDHHS has a dashboard, found here, where you can find COVID-19 testing sites around the state.
For more information on COVID-19 testing, including types of tests or how to interpret results, visit the CDC or MDHHS COVID-19 Testing pages:
If someone who is vaccinated can pass, carry, and show symptoms, what is the point of getting the shot?
From the CDC’s discussion of vaccine breakthroughs, COVID-19 vaccines protect people against severe illness, including disease caused by other variants circulating in the U.S.
COVID-19 vaccines protect people from getting infected and severely ill, and significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death.
The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent infection by Delta or other variants is to get vaccinated.
For people who are vaccinated and still get infected (i.e., “breakthrough infections”), there is a risk of transmission to others. That is why, if you are vaccinated or unvaccinated and live or work in an area with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19, you – as well as your family and community – will be better protected if you wear a mask when you are in indoor public places.
People who are immunocompromised may not always build adequate levels of protection after an initial 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners. Currently, there is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause infertility problems in women or men.
Learn more here.
Why should I trust that the vaccine is safe when it was developed so quickly?
FDA approves a vaccine for use only if it is proven safe and effective, after clinical trials have been conducted with thousands of people, and when its benefits outweigh any risks. The COVID-19 vaccine builds on years of scientific research and an unprecedented level of scientific investment and cooperation. Every study and every phase of every trial was carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval.
The identification of what is approximately a less than 2-in-a-million risk of a blood clotting disorder associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a sign that the nation’s safety monitoring system for COVID-19 vaccines is working. After any vaccine is successful in clinical trials and authorizes it for use, the FDA continues to monitor it for safety. The pause in the use of the J&J vaccine allowed scientists to evaluate each incident of the clotting disorder. They determined that the level of risk was very low and that the benefits of continued use of the J&J vaccine greatly outweigh any risk associated with it.
The likelihood of a medically significant reaction is extremely low. Temporary side effects like soreness, headaches, or a mild fever are signs that the body is responding and building an immunity to the virus. They typically go away in a day or two.
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How can I be sure the long-term side effects of the vaccine won’t be worse than having COVID-19?
The threat of COVID-19 is real and urgent, and the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh any risks. The risk of severe adverse events after any COVID-19 vaccination remains very low, and far lower than the risk of adverse health outcomes associated with contracting COVID-19. More than 600,000 people in the U.S. and millions worldwide have died from COVID, and we’re still learning about “long COVID” — symptoms and adverse health outcomes that continue to impact people long after the initial infection.
Learn more here.
What is the difference between emergency use authorization and full approval?
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize the use of yet to be approved drugs, or unapproved uses of approved drugs, for life-threatening conditions when there are no other adequate, approved, and available options and other conditions are met. In the case of COVID-19, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and has now issued full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, now known as Comirnaty.
In an emergency when lives are at risk, like a pandemic, it may not be possible to have all the evidence that the FDA would usually have before approving a vaccine or drug. If there’s evidence that strongly suggests that patients have beneﬁted from a treatment, the agency can issue an EUA to make it available. For the COVID-19 vaccines, FDA required two months of safety and efficacy data before the EUA was granted. That included clinical trials with tens of thousands of people and rigorous testing and review, and all the vaccines continue to be closely monitored. Compared to emergency use authorization, FDA approval of vaccines requires even more data on safety, manufacturing, and effectiveness over longer periods of time and includes real-world data.
Learn more here.
COVID-19 therapeutics are available to individuals who are at a greater risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19. These medications must be ordered by a physician. Treatment should begin as soon as possible after developing COVID-19 symptoms. Therapeutics are recommended for the following persons:
Persons who are at a greater risk for becoming very sick with COVID-19 include:
Those older than 50
Unvaccinated persons (Vaccinated people, especially those 65 years of age and older with other risk factors may benefit from COVID-19 treatment).
People with weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease, or heart disease.
Paxlovid and Lagevrio (Molnupiravir)
These medications stop the virus that causes COVID-19 from making copies of itself in your body. They are used in persons with mild to moderate symptoms (non-hospitalized). Oral antivirals must be started no later than 5 days after your onset of symptoms.
Paxlovid: Is used in individuals 12 yrs. and older who weigh a minimum of 88 lbs. (40 kg).
Lagevrio (Molnupiravir): Can be used in individuals 18 years and older
Helps the body stop the COVID-19 virus from making copies of itself in your body. This treatment option is used in persons with mild to moderate symptoms, as well as those with a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Veklury (Remdesivir) can be used in the outpatient setting as well as for persons hospitalized with COVID-19. IV antiviral therapy should be started as soon as possible after symptoms of COVID-19 begin, and no later than 7 days.
Veklury (Remdesivir): can be used in individuals 18 yrs. of age and older, and can also be used in children at least 28 days of age
To find treatment near you, use the Treatment Locator found here.
More information on treatments can be found on the CDC's site here.Also check out frequently asked questions from the MDHHS