COVID-19 is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 and rapidly spread around the world.
Symptoms may start 4 or 5 days after infection, but occasionally it may take 10-14 days. Earliest that infected person becomes infectious around day 3. Some people never develop symptoms.
Symptoms can vary and include cough, fever, headaches, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, breathing difficulties, body aches and pains, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people improve within few weeks, but some may become very sick and develop breathing difficulties and organ failure leading to a death.
Elderly, people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, serious heart disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sickle cell disease, obesity and people with a weak immune system might be at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.
The virus causing COVID-19 mostly spreads from person to person when people talk, cough, sneeze or share food or drinks. Small particles that contain COVID-19 virus pass from infected person’s lungs or upper airways and can travel through the air to other people who are nearby.
There are several new variants of the COVID-19 causing virus. Some are more infectious and even cause disease in vaccinated. However, in vaccinated people, COVID-19 disease is not as severe.
The tests designed to identify people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are "nucleic acid tests" or "antigen tests." Nucleic acid tests, called "molecular" tests, identifies the genetic material from the virus and antigen tests proteins from the virus. Rapid Ag test gets results in roughly 15 minutes and nucleic test up to 45 minutes. Polymerase Chain Reaction “PCR” is used in nucleic acid testing.
Experts believe that vaccination is one of the most important weapons available to control the COVID-19 pandemic.