Your guide to coronavirus and COVID-19
What you need to know about coronavirus and COVID-19, including what to do if you think you might be sick, how to keep you and your family safe and tips on what to do while staying home.
What is the status of the vaccine in the US?
We are tracking the COVID-19 vaccine distribution by state. See how many vaccines your state received and how many people have gotten one so far in our visual guide.
When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Since the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved, health care workers and people in long-term facilities across the country have been lining up to get their scheduled vaccine. A CDC advisory panel decided Sunday that police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers will be among the next in line for a COVID-19 vaccine. Followed by Phase 1b, Phase 1c and Phase 2.
Can you test positive for coronavirus after getting a vaccine?
It’s still possible to test positive for the coronavirus even after getting vaccinated, experts said. The CDC said it can take weeks for a person’s body to build up immunity after getting vaccinated.
I already had COVID-19. Should I get the vaccine?
People who have had COVID-19 “may be advised” to get the vaccine, “due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible,” according to the CDC.
Are there side effects?
Americans will likely experience at least one side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors say that’s normal and you should still get vaccinated.
What about pre-existing allergies?
Two British people with severe allergies apparently had allergic reactions to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, raising questions about whether it is safe for people with preexisting allergies. It was not immediately clear what triggered the allergic reactions. Unlike some vaccines, in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine there are no preservatives or egg products, which have been known to trigger reactions with other types of vaccines. Allergic reactions were not a significant problem in the U.S. trial.
I am hesitant to get the vaccine. What should I do?
While it’s understandable to be hesitant of a new vaccine, physicians such as Dr. Caesar Djavaherian say, patients don’t need to wait. “Historically with a vaccine, the terrible (serious adverse events) that we’re always worried about actually present themselves in a matter of weeks,” Djavaherian, an ER doctor who leads the pandemic response at Carbon Health, a national primary and urgent care provider. “We’re not seeing that type of spike … in the weeks we see people taking the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.” Experts say Americans should feel confident in the vaccines now based on the data.
What are the differences between the two vaccines?
Both of these vaccines target the “spike protein” found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, which allows the virus to attach itself to host cells and infect them. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines deliver strands of genetic material known as mRNA, which turns people’s cells into spike protein factories.
What are the ‘ingredients’ in the vaccine?
Experts say the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, which was authorized Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, looks pretty standard for a vaccine.
Will I be required to get a vaccine?
For some, the short answer is yes, public health and legal experts say. But a mandate is not likely anytime soon, and likely not to come from the federal government. Instead, employers and states may condition return or access to workplaces, schools and colleges upon getting the vaccine and mandate it once the FDA issues full approval, potentially months later.
What has been said about the vaccine effectiveness?
The FDA released a 53-page report summarizing data from Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 candidate vaccine trial. The data supports earlier findings that the vaccine is safe and will prevent 95% of people from becoming sick with COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Congestion, runny nose, nausea and diarrhea are the four most recent symptoms the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added to its growing list of potential signs of the novel coronavirus. The CDC previously said symptoms include chills, fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a new loss of taste or smell. The agency now lists 11 symptoms on its website.
Read more about the symptoms
Is there more than one strain of coronavirus?
Several U.S. states and at least 30 countries have identified a new coronavirus variant, known as B.1.1.7. Several nations have also identified an additional variant, that also appears to infect people more easily.
Is coronavirus spread through the air?
The CDC has updated its website to warn that the coronavirus can spread through the air, something public health experts have been warning about for months but went unacknowledged by the agency until October. The CDC says people can be exposed to the virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours, potentially infecting people who are farther than 6 feet away and even people who come into the area after an infected person has left.
How long do I need to quarantine if I may have been exposed to COVID-19?
The CDC reduced the recommended days a person must quarantine after coronavirus exposure from 14 days to seven or 10 days. The new guidelines say people who have close contact with an infected person can end their quarantine after seven days if they receive a negative test or after 10 days without a test. The CDC defines close contact as 15 minutes total spent 6 feet or closer to an infected person.
How many cases are there in the US and where I live?
We are tracking the coronavirus outbreaks across the US and in your state with daily updated maps, total cases and deaths.
What does coronavirus do to your body?
When the virus enters the body, it begins to attack. From infection, it takes approximately five to 12 days for symptoms to appear.
How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?
Coronavirus could be transmitted by touching a surface and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes, but “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” according to recently updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers from Disease Control and Prevention. Person-to-person contact is believed to the primary way the disease spreads, per the CDC.
Which world leaders have tested positive for coronavirus?
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are latest among the world leaders who have tested positive for coronavirus.