Sars-CoV-2 is the virus that causes Covid-19. It is a type of coronavirus, the name for this type of virus comes from the way the protein molecules cover it looks like a crown or corona.
The Sars-CoV-2 virus spreads through the moisture and droplets in the air that we exhale. Once the virus is in our nose, throat, and lungs, each time we exhale we send large amounts of virus into the air around us. The viruses can be breathed in by others or can land on surfaces where they can infect others who touch these contaminated surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. Sneezing, coughing, and high-exertion activities like exercising, singing, and yelling appear to spread more droplets from deeper into the lungs that spread further.
Sars-CoV-2 is more contagious than the flu and more recent variants such as Omicron and XBB are much more contagious than the original variants.
While most people who are infected with Covid-19 will have only mild symptoms of fever and cough and some may even have no symptoms at all, many will have severe symptoms and many of those infected will die. Children and younger adults are less likely to require hospitalization or to die from their Covid infection, compared to older adults or to those with chronic medical conditions, however even for children and young, healthy adults, Covid-19 is much more deadly and dangerous than a typical flu or cold virus.
Some people who have Covid-19 develop long-term symptoms of weakness or difficulty breathing or difficulty thinking clearly that can last for months, making it difficult to do regular daily activities.
Repeat Covid-19 infections can cause increased damage to multiple body organs and increase the risk of death in high-risk persons for months after they have “recovered” from their covid-19 infection
When Covid-19 is surging, the number of very sick people needing intensive hospital care such as mechanical ventilation to keep them alive while their body heals can overwhelm parts of our healthcare system. We do not have enough hospital beds, mechanical ventilators, or protective equipment to provide care to a large number of very sick people.
We can reduce our risk of getting or spreading Covid-19 and of needing hospitalization and dying from Covid-19 by
- Getting vaccinated and staying up to date on boosters
- Staying home and testing when we are not feeling well
- Keeping our kids home from school or social events when they are not feeling well
- Using masks when in close contact with people outside of our immediate family when community covid spread is high
- Practicing proper hand hygiene
- Managing our chronic illnesses as well as possible to reduce our risk of severe complications when we get Covid-19
- Staying home and away from others when we test positive for Covid-19
- Staying up to date on covid news and information from reliable sources such as the WHO, the CDC, and your local health department.
- Using home testing effectively to prevent the spread of Covid
- Testing before and after large social gatherings or traveling and after close contact with someone who might have Covid
- Testing before visiting someone at a high risk
- Periodically testing when you live or work in high-risk places or if you live or work with others at high risk
Testing when you aren’t feeling well