COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. It is a communicable disease that started in Wuhan, China. Since its discovery, it has spread around the world and has changed many things. It is a member of the coronavirus family, which includes other viruses that cause different conditions such as cold, flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
How COVID-19 spreads
Covid-19 spreads when fluids or small particles from the nose and mouth of an infected person come in contact with an uninfected person. The fluids can also contaminate surfaces.
You can get infected through the following ways:
- Inhaling air when an infected person close to you is breathing out small droplets and fluids that contain the virus.
- When an infected hand comes in contact with your eyes, nose or mouth.
- When contaminated fluids come in contact with your eyes, mouth or nose via splashes and spray like a cough or sneeze.
The virus responsible for COVID-19 is constantly changing and as a result, new variants have been created. Due to these variants, the condition continues to spread at an alarming rate in the United States, rendering vaccines nearly futile. You are more susceptible to contamination if you are less than 6 feet away from an infected person.
How to control the spread of COVID-19
Covid-19 is highly communicable. Studies show that it spreads faster than most members in the coronavirus family. Therefore, learning how to slow the spread is imperative. You can protect yourself by:
- Getting vaccinated
- Using a nose mask to protect yourself and others around you.
- Staying 6 feet away from strangers or people who don't live with you
- Keeping your hands clean with soap and water
- Having a hand sanitizer on you always
- Getting yourself tested
TESTING FOR COVID-19
The primary aim of COVID-19 tests is to detect SARS-CoV-2 or antibodies that are produced after infection or vaccination. You can get tested for immunity or active infection.
You can test for SARS-CoV-2 to know if you are infected at the time of the test. It is called a "viral" test and it can be done using Antigens and Nucleic Acids Amplification Tests (NAAT). Types of viral tests are:
- Rapid test: This test can be done at home, school or anywhere. You can get the results immediately. Some examples are Antigens and several NAATs.
- Laboratory test: It must be done in the laboratory and you get your results after days. It includes RT-PCR and other forms of NAATs
You can test for antibodies to know if you have ever been infected. These tests are known as "antibody" or "serology" tests. They are done to detect a previous infection, not a current one. In most cases, antibody tests done immediately after vaccination are positive.
The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has slowed down, but scientists are still working to prevent any unexpected outbreak.