- COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Sharma et al., 2021).
- The virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes (Sharma et al., 2021).
- The virus attaches to cells in the respiratory system, primarily in the nose, throat, and lungs, using a protein called ACE2 (Zhou et al, 2020)
- Once inside a cell, the virus uses its own genetic material to take over the cell and make copies of itself (V’kovski et al., 2020).
- This process can damage the respiratory system, leading to symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing (Rahimi et al., 2022).
- In some cases, the virus can also cause damage to other organs, such as the heart and kidneys (Wadman et al, 2020)
- The body’s immune system fights the virus, but in some cases, it can cause a “cytokine storm,” an overreaction that can lead to severe illness or death (Huang et al, 2020)
- People who are older or have underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (CDC.gov, January 27, 2023).
- There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, but antiviral drugs and supportive care can help to reduce the severity of symptoms (https://www.covidtreatmentguidelines.nih.gov).
- Vaccines have been developed and authorized for emergency use globally to help control the pandemic (Fortner et al., 2021).
- Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from severe illness and death caused by COVID-19 (cdc.gov, December 22, 2022 coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccinebenefits.html).