Coronavirus Information Page

Sources shown on this page have been vetted by the Center for Aging and Values.  We are monitoring these sources and may update them from time to time. The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this webpage.

What is Corona Virus?

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

How Can I Protect Myself and My Loved Ones?

Vaccines

Many older Americans have been vaccinated resulting in a sense of relief and many happy reunions.  The goal remains to vaccinate between 70% and 90% of all people’s of the world in order to deny this virus the opportunity to spread.  This can only be achieved through cooperation of all nations and continued vigilance in doing what has proved effective:  mask wearing when around those who have not yet been vaccinated, physical distancing, and testing.

If you have not yet had the vaccine and have concerns about its safety and effectiveness, please seek out a reliable source of information and discuss them.  The Center for Aging & Values urges all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Click here for information from the Centers for Disease Control, AND contact either your primary care provider or your local public health department to find out current information on vaccine availability in your area.

Masks

As of May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance stating that Americans who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.  There are exceptions including airplanes, health-care settings, and other locations that may be regulated by local law.   Those who are immune-compromised are advised to continue to wear masks.

What is Physical Distancing?

Physical distancing is a strategy that is very effective in slowing the spread of a virus.  By keeping a “clear zone” around and between people (roughly 6 feet) the transmission of droplets from someone speaking, singing, coughing and/or sneezing becomes less likely.  The most common form of transmission of COVID-19 occurs after you have been exposed to these droplets and you bring your hands to your face. This is why frequent hand washing and using sanitizer is so important.  Transmission between family members living in close quarters is common and may be the greatest source of transmission.

How Do I Know if I Am Contagious?

It is probably better to assume you are contagious until you are able to be tested.  Testing will continue to be important in the post-pandemic times as a means of spotting outbreaks and strategically finding ways to keep the hot spots from spreading.  It is also looking like testing will become more common as more and more of us return to traveling and gathering for work, school, worship, and sporting events.

What is the Course of the Virus?

Now over a year into this pandemic, scientists and health professionals around the world are better able to identify how this virus enters our system, multiplies and impacts our immune system, and resolves.  Researchers continue to uncover new aspects of the virus, including new variants, and providers are refining treatment protocols.

There is no single presentation of COVID.  Some people who test positive report having fever, cough, and shortness of breath or feelings of tightness of the chest.  Some have mild versions of these symptoms and other more intense.  Some lose a sense of taste or smell while others have no symptoms at all.  People who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, immune disorders and any problems with their lungs (including currently smoking, vaping, or having smoked in the past) may be more at risk for developing a severe case of COVID-19 that might require hospitalization, intubation, or ventilation.

What is Post-COVID?

Consequences of having had COVID and survived are a focus of on-going research.  So-called “long-haulers” report different clusters of symptoms after they have recovered from COVID.  These include “brain fog”, fatigue, shortness of breath, gastric problems, heart palpitations, and muscle pain.  These symptoms vary in intensity and how long they persist.  It is still too early to tell whether these will turn into chronic conditions or will eventually go away.  Right now, treatment is provided based on presenting symptoms.

If you have any of these symptoms, consult with your primary care provider, or if needed, go to the emergency room at your nearest hospital.

What Sources of Information Can I Trust?

There is a new way of checking out whether a website is offering evidence-based information or just selling you something.  This is HealthGuard.  HealthGuard’s red/green ratings and labels help users know which health news and medical information websites to trust.  It is a free download.  Check it out!

Websites

The primary sources of information that are driving research and treatment of COVID-19 are the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Both these organizations collaborate in collecting information and sharing it with the scientific and research community around the globe.  Researchers and policy makers depend on WHO and the CDC to arrive at treatment protocols and policies that insure best practices and good health standards for all of us.

Here in the U.S., state and local health departments work in collaboration with the Public Health Service under the direction of the Surgeon General of the United States in collecting information and monitoring illnesses.  Public Health officers have broad powers of enforcement when it comes to keeping people in a state healthy.  To find out what is happening in your state in terms of the COVID-19 response, google “[STATE_NAME] public health department” and follow the links to COVID-19, or do a similar search for your city or county public health department.

Many universities and research institutions are working on vaccines, treatment protocols, and diagnostic tests.  These institutions can be a useful source of information through their publications.

What Sources of Information Should I Question?

Sadly, there are always scammers and hucksters who will take advantage of people’s lack of information and fears to make claims for miracle cures and magical preparations that will protect you.   Remember that just because someone calls themselves an expert, it doesn’t mean they actually have the experience and knowledge you seek.  Today anyone can publish a webpage or produced a video.  Rule of thumb — if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.