Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2, which appeared in late 2019 and quickly spread.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19, and when do they start?
Symptoms of COVID-19 typically start 4 or 5 days after being infected with the virus. Some people may never show symptoms, or have very mild symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches or muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or diarrhea

How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is spread through particles from the infected person’s lungs and airway, and usually spreads when they cough, sneeze, or talk near other people.

It is easily passed between families and people who live together, but can be spread at gatherings where people talk closely together, hug, or share food or drink.

People can be infected and spread the virus without even having symptoms, and some strains or variants of the virus may be more contagious.

Can people who are vaccinated still spread the virus?
Vaccines work incredibly well to prevent serious illness and death, but nothing prevents 100 percent of infections. It is possible for a person who has been vaccinated to get COVID-19, and this is sometimes referred to as “breakthrough infections”. While it may seem that lots of breakthrough infections have been reported, most cases of COVID-19 are occurring in unvaccinated people.

Do I need to wear a mask after being vaccinated?
If you live in an area where COVID-19 is spreading quickly, experts recommend that you wear a mask indoors or around other people, or while traveling. Even if you have been vaccinated, it is still possible to get the virus and spread it to others.

What are the different variants of the virus that cause COVID-19?
Viruses can change or “mutate” which creates new strains or variants. Most of the time new variants won’t change how a virus works, but some can affect virus’s ability to spread and may make people sicker.

The more people are vaccinated against COVID-19 the harder it will be for the virus to spread and create new variants.

How long are you contagious?
Most people are no longer contagious by 10 to 14 days after their symptoms started, but it is important to talk to your doctor to figure out when you are no longer considered contagious.

How long does it take to recover from COVID-19?
Most people who get COVID-19 feel better within a few weeks. Those who experience more severe illness may have ongoing symptoms. Your recovery can depend on factors like age or overall health.

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