Sources: HuffPo.com, YourHHRS News
Even though it’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 was declared a global health emergency, there’s still so much experts are working to understand about the virus. It’s hard to keep track of what’s known, what’s a myth and what guidance we should follow. That’s why we’ve rounded up the most important things to know about post-Trump era COVID-19:
New COVID-19 variants are spreading rapidly — the price paid for not moving comprehensively enough on mass testing, travel restrictions, and contact tracing. News that the virus is mutating is certainly unsettling, but infectious disease experts and public health officials were fully prepared for that likelihood.
Our current vaccines appear to protect against most of the known variants of the virus currently circulating, and vaccine manufacturers are working on boosters that might better target new strains. But all experts agree: Now is the time to be especially diligent about maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks. And everyone should make an effort to stay informed about the new variants and their different symptoms.
It’s time to double-mask. Given that the new variants are more contagious, many health officials are now recommending that Americans get in the habit of double-masking. Putting on two masks creates a more robust shield: Simply the mask with the best filtering capabilities on first, then layer on a cloth option.
More at-risk groups have been identified. When the pandemic began, experts warned that people with conditions that can weaken their immune system ― like those currently undergoing cancer treatment ― are at higher risk. But a pair of studies released last month found that people with inactive cancer are also at higher risk, and that those with schizophrenia are almost three times more likely to die from COVID-19.
Schools can be reopened safely. Evidence has been mounting for months that schools are not major sources of COVID-19 transmission in communities. And in January, a team of researchers with the CDC effectively made the case for reopening schools when possible. Researchers have made it clear that schools can only reopen safely with certain protocols in place, like masking, proper ventilation, efforts to maintain physical distance in the classroom and expanded testing. Indoor sports and competitions can increase transmission risk, though.
Beware of “Covid Tongue.” Since the pandemic began, experts have expanded the list of potential symptoms. And now they’ve become aware of another possible one: There is anecdotal but growing evidence that people with the virus may develop white patchy ulcers on their tongues.
The information in this story is what was known or available as of publication, but guidance can change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.