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Introduction to Covid-19: A Blog Post by Shrita Reddy

  • Covid-19, frequently called Coronavirus, is a viral disease caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus
  • It is a respiratory viral disease
  • The incubation time of the virus ranges from 2 to 14 days
  • Symptoms typically go away within a few weeks of contracting the virus, but some have continued to feel effects for many weeks
  • Older populations with underlying conditions are most at risk


How it spreads:

  • Covid-19 spreads through droplet transmission
  • It spreads in three main ways:
    • Standing too close to an infected person and breathing in their air which contains droplets containing the virus
    • Droplets containing the virus entering the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth through coughs and/or sneezes from an infected person
    • Touching a surface with infected droplets on it then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Some cases of Covid-19 have been reported in pets
    • It is possible, though rare, for infections to spread through animals
      • If sick, isolate from both roommates and pets as a precaution


Common symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

 If you have these symptoms go to the hospital immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face


If you are experiencing these symptoms and suspect you may be infected, get tested as soon as possible. COVID-19 testing is free and can be drive-through or by appointment.

  • Search “COVID-19 testing” to find a location near you


Safety and Precautions:

  • Wear a mask in public places
    • This is especially encouraged for those who are not fully vaccinated
    • Masks protect yourself and others!
  • If possible, keep 6 feet of distance away from strangers
  • Avoid crowded areas as much as possible
  • Wash your hands regularly and effectively
    • Use soap and warm water, rubbing for at least 20 seconds
    • Hand sanitizer is a good alternative if soap is not available
  • Sanitize surfaces that are touched daily or touched by people who could be infected
    • Get in the habit of regularly disinfecting your phone, desks, handles, toilets, and sinks
  • Check in with yourself and loved ones to make sure you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
  • The best way to prevent getting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated!


What to do if you are sick:

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive you should:
    • Stay home
      • Stay at home and do not go out unless it’s for medical care
      • Call your doctor if needed
      • Have a family member or friend drop off groceries or supplies that you need on your doorstep
    • If you don’t live at home alone, try and isolate as much as possible
      • Try and delegate a specific room or space to stay in that others in the house should avoid
      • Call people you have been recently in touch with and inform them that you are sick so they can monitor their health and get tested
      • Self-isolate for two weeks after symptoms develop
      • Avoid sharing items with other members of the house
    • Monitor your symptoms
      • If you notice any of the emergency symptoms listed above, see a doctor immediately
      • Drink lots of fluids, and take over the counter medication as needed
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Clean surfaces and items regularly
    • Wear a mask if in contact with family members or pets
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive:
    • Close contact is when you are within six feet of a person for at least fifteen minutes
    • Monitor your health and look out for symptoms of the virus
    • Get tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible
    • Stay home for 14 days, even if you do not notice any symptoms
      • You do not need to isolate from your family members if you do not feel sick, just stay home to protect others because you might still have the virus even if you do not have symptoms
    • Contact Tracing:
      • Contact tracing is a method of tracking the spread of a virus and slowing its spread
      • It involves informing people they are sick, helping them get tested for the virus, and ensuring they quarantine or isolate as needed
      • If you test positive or someone you have been in close contact to tests positive, you may be called by a contact tracer
        • During this call, the contact tracer will ask about your signs and symptoms and the dates these symptoms appeared
        • You will be asked about the people you have been in close contact with recently
        • You will be asked to self-isolate or quarantine as needed
      • Information discussed in a contact tracing call is confidential and will not be shared

Vaccine information:

  • Taking the COVID-19 Vaccine is a safe and effective method of significantly lowering your risk of getting the virus. Getting the vaccine greatly reduces your chances of contracting Covid-19 as well as decreasing the negative effects of the virus.
  • There are three vaccines currently available:
    • Pfizer : 2 doses required
      • Get 2nd dose 2 weeks after the first
    • Moderna : 2 doses required
      • Get 2nd dose 2 weeks after the first
    • Johnson & Johnson : 1 dose required
  • Common side effects of the vaccines are :
    • Pain at the injection site
    • Swelling at the sight
    • Redness at the site
    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Muscle pains
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Nausea
  • These symptoms typically go away after a few days.
  • To relieve pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold compress or wet washcloth to the area
  • To relieve the flu-like symptoms from the vaccine, drink extra fluids and take over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or aspirin as needed
  • Consult a doctor if the symptoms do not go away or worsen after a few days
  • Vaccines are available for free at local pharmacies, grocery stores, or special vaccine clinics. The vaccines are free, and can be given through appointments or walk-ins.
  • See https://www.vaccines.gov/ to find a vaccine site near you!

New guidance for fully vaccinated people:

  • You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your last dose
  • Fully vaccinated people can resume all activities without a mask and social distancing
  • Make sure to hang on to your vaccine card for traveling
  • Continue to take precautions and be safe as scientists are still learning about the variants


Variants of a virus happen when the virus mutates. Variants emerge and disappear, and these changes are monitored by scientists.

There are four variants present in the United States currently:

  • Alpha:
    • First variant detected, originally from the United Kingdom
    • 50% increased transmission
    • Vaccine still effective against this variant
  • Beta:
    • Second variant detected, originally from South Africa
    • 50% increased transmission
    • Reduced vaccine effectiveness against this strain
  • Gamma:
    • Third variant detected, originally from Brazil
    • Reduced vaccine effectiveness against this strain
  • Delta:
    • Fourth variant detected, originally from India
    • Increased transmission
    • Possibility of decreased vaccine effectiveness against this strain

These variants of the original COVID-19 virus spread faster and easier, which increases the amount of infections.

  • The Alpha variant is currently the most popular in the United States.
  • If you are interested to see changes in the variants across the country:
  • To protect yourself from COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants continue to:
    • Get vaccinated
    • Wear a mask in public/ crowded spaces
    • Avoid crowded areas and maintain distance from strangers
    • Wash your hands frequently