Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The current strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans (World Health Organization).
Common signs of infection include:
COVID-19 upended daily life in the United States as SARS-CoV-2, the virus spreading the disease, caused surges in infections across the country. After more than a year of adjusting to strict guidelines, many Americans got vaccines and started to resume a more normal life. But many more remain at risk until they get vaccinated, and experts are still tracking the emergence of virus variants that could pose new threats.
In the U.S., three vaccines are being administered (from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) endorses a clinical preference for the Pfizer and Moderna shots, based on the latest evidence of vaccine effectiveness, safety and rare adverse events. The CDC says everyone ages 12 and older should also get a booster shot.
Now that the highly contagious Omicron is the dominant variant in the U.S., worry continues and the CDC has kept stronger guidelines for wearing masks for prevention.
Scientists and public health officials continue to work as quickly as possible to find more answers to key questions about how the disease affects the body and why some cases are more severe than others, and identify the best treatments for COVID-19. (Yale Medicine)