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You asked, we?re answering: Your top questions about Covid-19 and vaccines


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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-questions-answers/#how-safe-and-effective-are-2nd-booster-shots-are-there-side-effects-to-getting-a-4th-dose-of-vaccine
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Summary

The FDA has said it’s OK to mix and match brands for the booster dose.Some immunocompromised people ages 12 and older and all adults ages 50 and up can now get a 4th dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.People who are boosted have more protection against Covid-19 illness and even infection compared to people who are past due for a booster shot — and significantly more protection than those who haven’t been vaccinated at all, recent studies suggest. In December, the CDC recommended the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson shot due to data suggesting a rare blood clotting syndrome called TTS is more common among some people who got a J&J vaccine – particularly women ages 30 to 49.A 2nd booster shot (or the 4th overall dose) of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccines appeared to be safe and gave a “substantial” boost to immunity when given about 7 months after the 1st booster (or the 3rd overall dose), according to a new study published May 9.“Fourth-dose Covid-19 mRNA booster vaccines are well tolerated and boost cellular and humoral immunity,” UK scientists wrote in the study published in The Lancet. And respiratory viruses such as coronavirus and influenza tend to peak in the colder months.Since October, the FDA has allowed Americans ages 12 and up who are severely immune-deficient to get 4 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.According to the CDC, people are considered moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have:The reason at-home antigen tests expire is because Covid-19 test components “may degrade, or break down, over time,” the US Food and Drug Administration says. When a longer expiration date is authorized, the test manufacturer may send a notice to customers to provide the new authorized expiration date, so the customers know how long they can use the tests they already have.”Children under age 5 might be able to start getting vaccinated as early as June — if the US Food and Drug Administration gives authorization and if the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives its recommendation.On April 28, Moderna announced it’s seeking emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years.If the FDA gives authorization, the Moderna vaccine might become the first to be available for children under age 5.In late March, Moderna announced results of a clinical trial that included 2,500 children ages 6 months to 24 months and 4,200 children ages 2 through 5 years. “We should remember that the benefits of the vaccine likely go beyond what we are studying: In addition to decreasing the risk of severe disease substantially and of symptomatic disease modestly, there are likely benefits in decreasing spread of the virus within the community and within families, and any prevention of spread will also result in children being able to stay in school and day care – which correspondingly means their parents aren’t scrambling for child care or missing work themselves.”Many Americans were confused when Dr. Anthony Fauci told PBS that the US was “out of the pandemic phase” — but told CNN the next day that the pandemic was not over.“We don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told PBS on April 26. “But what we are in is a different phase of the pandemic — a phase that’s a transition phase, hopefully headed toward more of a control where you can actually get back to some form of normality without total disruption of society, economically, socially, school-wise, etc.”Fauci said while coronavirus probably won’t be eradicated, the level of virus in society could be kept very low if people are intermittently vaccinated, possibly every year.For people who are up to date on their Covid-19 vaccines and boosters, protection against illness from the Omicron variant drops off several months after the last dose – but protection against hospitalization and death remains high, researchers have found. So, “a well-fit N95 can reduce the amount of potentially infectious particles that you inhale by more than a factor of 20 times,” Cappa said.In addition to wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask, taking steps including getting vaccinated, testing yourself for Covid-19 and making sure spaces you’re in are well-ventilated can make it safe for people — even those at higher risk for more severe illness — to travel, said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.BA.2 is a spinoff of the original Omicron variant (BA.1). Denmark saw an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths after BA.2 became dominant there — though that may be because more people were infected with BA.2.“An analysis conducted in Denmark showed no difference in risk of hospitalisation between those infected with BA.2 and those infected with BA.1, although as BA.2 has become the dominant variant, there has been a recent rise in the number of hospitalisations and deaths in the country,” a WHO report said.Lab research suggests BA.2 is resistant to the antibodies of people who were infected with previously dominant variants, such as Alpha and Delta. When it comes to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, “wastewater can detect an increase in cases 4 to 6 days before we might see these cases show up through a rise in positive tests,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Some community settings such as schools and some high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters might include additional layers of prevention.”Scientists are trying to develop a universal, “pan-coronavirus” vaccine – one that offers protection against any type of coronavirus, including variants that cause Covid-19.But such vaccines are “going to take years to develop,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.There are seven known human coronaviruses: four that cause common colds; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS; severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS; and SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.“However, since September of 2020, there have been five SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and now the current Omicron,” Fauci said January 26.“I don’t want anyone to think that pan-coronavirus vaccines are literally around the corner in a month or two. “So do not wait to receive your primary vaccine regimen and please get your booster if you are eligible.”The US Food and Drug Administration has limited the use of certain monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19 because “data show these treatments are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant,” the FDA said.Those monoclonal antibody treatments include Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab plus etesevimab and Regeneron’s casirivimab plus imdevimab.The FDA has decided to limit the use of these treatments for “only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments.”“Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to account for more than 99% of cases in the United States as of Jan. 15. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that COVID-19 patients seeking care in the U.S. at this time are infected with a variant other than omicron, and these treatments are not authorized to be used at this time,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a January 24 statement.“This avoids exposing patients to side effects, such as injection site reactions or allergic reactions, which can be potentially serious, from specific treatment agents that are not expected to provide benefit to patients who have been infected with or exposed to the omicron variant.”Earlier in January, the National Institutes of Health amended its treatment guidelines to no longer recommend those two treatments.In December, the FDA said sotrovimab was the only monoclonal antibody treatment that remained effective against the new Omicron variant.However, “there are several other therapies – Paxlovid, sotrovimab, Veklury (remdesivir), and molnupiravir – that are expected to work against the omicron variant, and that are authorized or approved to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for progression to severe disease, including hospitalization or death,” the FDA’s statement said.“Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Each person is limited to 3 free N95 masks.Well-fitting N95 masks give the best protection against the spread of Covid-19 compared to other masks, such as KN95 masks, disposable surgical masks and cloth masks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its mask guidelines, recommending people “wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.” “Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection,” the CDC says.The updated guidance, issued January 14, came after weeks of public debate about whether cloth masks should be ditched in favor of more effective masks due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. They also shouldn’t have exhalation valves, vents or other openings.“CDC continues to recommend that any mask is better than no mask,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said January 12, “and we do encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of Covid-19.”MIS-C is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It’s “a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 in which different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.(A similar syndrome called MIS-A can happen in adults after getting Covid-19.)With children, MIS-C happens when “the virus induces your body to make an immune response against your own blood vessels” – which can cause inflammation of the vessels, said pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.More than 6,400 children have suffered from MIS-C, according to the CDC, and at least 55 have died. That’s when they come to our hospital.”The CDC said parents should seek medical care if a child has an ongoing fever plus at least one of the following:They can — but they work better if you take more than one, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.Fauci said a single rapid antigen test — like the ones often taken at home, with results in about 15 minutes — are not as sensitive at detecting Omicron as PCR tests, which are processed in a lab.But “if you do (rapid antigen tests) maybe 2 or 3 times over a few-day period, at the end of the day, they are as good as the PCR,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. So it’s still important to wear a high-quality mask and avoid others whenever possible.“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.The decision was motivated by research showing most Covid-19 spread “occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the CDC said in late December. “Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.” The CDC said those whose “symptoms are resolving” can also leave isolation after 5 days, as long as they also wear a mask for the next 5 days. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.”It depends on whether you’re fully vaccinated and boosted, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.Those who have received a booster shot “do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure,” the CDC said in a December 27 update.“For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days,” the CDC said.“Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”For anyone who was exposed to someone with Covid-19, it’s a good idea to get tested 5 days after exposure, the CDC said. “If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19,” the CDC said.As coronavirus keeps spreading, new mutations and new variants are expected to develop.But the new Omicron variant has an unusually high number of mutations, including dozens on the spike protein — the structure used by a virus to latch onto and get inside cells under attack.“It has a lot of mutations — more than 50. That’s a new record,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health.More than 30 of those mutations are in the spike protein — the part of the virus targeted by leading Covid-19 vaccines. “On the other hand, all of the previous variants, which have also had differences in the spike protein, have responded to vaccines — and especially boosters,” he said.Yes — but early research suggests fully vaccinated people are not likely to get severely sick from the Omicron variant. You need to have 2 out of 3 things to gather safely.”“I would say consider the risk level of the people who you’re meeting with,” said Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.She said anyone unable to get tested may want to reconsider meeting with: Families with unvaccinated children who can’t get tested in time should also reconsider meeting with vulnerable relatives, Carnethon said, as those children might be infected but asymptomatic.But even testing does not guarantee safety, said Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, an Los Angeles internal medicine specialist.For example, a test taken immediately after a new infection might not detect the virus – “and the test wouldn’t have been positive until tomorrow or the next day,” he said.“You can certainly get both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could be catastrophic to your immune system,” said Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a family medicine physician in Florida.In fact, getting infected with one can make you more vulnerable to getting sick with the other, epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin said. “Your defenses go down, and it makes you vulnerable to getting a second infection on top of that.”On their own, both Covid-19 and the flu can attack the lungs, potentially causing pneumonia, fluid in the lungs or respiratory failure, the CDC said.“The two (illnesses) together definitely could be more injurious to the lungs and cause more respiratory failure,” said Dr. Michael Matthay, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.And just like with Covid-19, even young, healthy people can die from the flu.Doctors say the easiest way to help avoid a flu/Covid-19 double whammy is to get vaccinated against both.“Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The ability to get both vaccines at the same time can make it more convenient for Americans to try to stay healthy, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.“If that means going in and getting the flu shot in one arm (and) the Covid shot in the other, that’s perfectly fine,” Fauci said.But don’t assume you’re protected right afterward. Similarly, you’re not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 until two weeks after the final dose.Yes. In fact, the first confirmed Omicron-related death in the US was a man who previously had Covid-19.The Texas man, in his 50s, had not been vaccinated, Harris County health officials said.For months, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccines give stronger protection against Covid-19 than previous infection alone.“If you have had Covid-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in August, citing research published during a Delta variant surge. Health experts say the best way to help protect against the Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and boosted.“I think that depends on people’s individual risk tolerance,” CNN medical analyst and emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen said. If you’re unable to get that test, people should still be wearing masks indoors.”For children too young to get vaccinated — and who obviously can’t wear a mask while eating — “the key in that case is to surround the unvaccinated kids with others who are vaccinated,” Wen said. Some doctors say the definition of “fully vaccinated” needs to change to include booster doses.“I’ve always said this is a three-dose vaccine,” said vaccinologist Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.“The reason is when you get that third dose, you get a 30- to 40-fold rise in virus-neutralizing antibodies, and therefore there’s more spillover protection against new variants – including Omicron,” Hotez said December 15.“The third dose gives you 70% to 75% protection against symptomatic illness.”Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s inevitable that the definition of “fully vaccinated” will change. “None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives,” the CDC said.And contrary to popular myths, the vaccines don’t have microchips and can’t make you magnetic.“All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, rare earth alloys or any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.”No. Diagnostic tests like PCR tests and rapid antigen tests can help detect whether you’ve been infected with coronavirus. Moderna said planned to submit its data to the FDA.“I wouldn’t wait,” said Dr. Paul Spearman, a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.He said data presented to the committee by Pfizer “showed that a 10-microgram dose — so a third of the dose that is licensed for adults — was equally effective in terms of generating neutralizing antibodies, one of the most important means of protecting people from Covid-19.” One advantage of the smaller (but equally effective) doses for children was reduced side effects, said Dr. Bob Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital — one of the Pfizer pediatric trial sites.“So, one-third of the dose that we’re giving adults, or even one-third of the dose that was used in 12-year-olds and above, was just as immunogenic. “A lot of people are asking us: ‘Does this mean you’re giving us less of a vaccine?’ I said, well, we’re giving you less antigen, but their immune response is so good that they’re making the same immune response – so there’s no need to give more vaccine,” he said.For parents of larger 10- or 11-year-olds who are worried a pediatric dose might not be enough, weight is not important when it comes to vaccines, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.Pfizer said data from its vaccine trial that included 2,268 children ages 5 to 11 showed the vaccine is safe and generates “robust” antibody response. “Whether that just is that it causes a little more severe illness than other variants or that it is just more prevalent — and so we’re seeing more symptomatic cases — we’re not sure … but it’s probably multifactorial.” Some youngsters have suffered long-term effects from Covid-19 or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) – a rare but potentially serious condition that can happen in children weeks after a coronavirus infection.More than 6,400 children have suffered from MIS-C, according to the CDC.If possible, buy a few different brands of masks and see which one is most comfortable for your child, emergency physician and CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said. Children can also customize their masks by drawing on them with markers.And, of course, parents can set a good example by also wearing a mask.Data suggests side effects from a booster dose of a mRNA Covid-19 vaccine have been similar in frequency and type to those seen after second doses — and were “mostly mild or moderate and short-lived,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said September 28.The two-shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer both use genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to deliver immunity.Walensky cited a study published that day by the CDC. And don’t try to use a forged or fraudulent vaccination card — that could land you in prison.“COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future,” the CDC said.“Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing,” the CDC said in an August 11 update. Covid-19 can lead to “adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth,” said Sascha Ellington, team lead for emergency preparedness and response in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health.“This vaccine can prevent Covid-19, and so that’s the primary benefit.”“Infections in fully vaccinated people (breakthrough infections) happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant,” the CDC said. “This result suggests that the risk of long COVID is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination, when additionally considering the already documented reduced risk of infection overall.”“Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19,” the CDC says.“Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”The concept that immunity gained through vaccination may be stronger or lasts longer than the immunity achieved from previous infection isn’t new.“Many of the vaccines that we’ve made in history are actually stronger than the virus is itself at creating immunity,” epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant said.No. “The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus,” the CDC said about the Delta variant on August 26.A study published by the CDC in late August showed vaccinated people were 5 times less likely to get infected than unvaccinated people. “People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others,” the CDC said. “CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.”Even if a vaccinated person gets a breakthrough infection and is contagious, “vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time,” the CDC said. “This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.”Avoiding vaccination can harm your loved ones and help create even more contagious or more dangerous variants for everyone, doctors say.Full vaccination reduces the chances of getting and spreading coronavirus.Children too young to be vaccinated and people who are immunocompromised also rely on the vaccination of others to help protect them, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. But vaccination is also important to help prevent more contagious or more dangerous variants from forming — such as one that might evade vaccines and harm those who are fully vaccinated.“If we are going to continue to allow this virus to spread, we’re going to continue to allow … variants to be created,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.Viruses frequently mutate as they replicate among infected people. Murthy said he said he anticipates Johnson & Johnson will submit its application in the near future.But regardless of which vaccine people receive, “getting vaccinated now with any of the three vaccines is still your fastest path to protection … particularly against hospitalization and death from the virus,” the surgeon general said.If there are tissues nearby, you can take your mask off and sneeze into the tissue before putting your mask back on, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. It’s also a good idea to keep backup masks in your car in case of any mask accidents.If you think you might have Covid-19 symptoms, “please get tested regardless of your vaccination status,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said. But Covid-19 vaccines don’t take full effect until 2 weeks after your final dose — “so a person could get sick if the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection,” the CDC said.Those who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to get infected than unvaccinated people, the CDC said. The vaccines require an immune system response to work, so millions of Americans who are immunocompromised or take drugs that suppress the immune system might not get as much protection from a vaccine as others do.The good news: When rare breakthrough infections do happen in vaccinated people, they’re usually less severe, CDC research shows.But it’s especially important for unvaccinated people who have Covid-19 symptoms to get tested. Unvaccinated people can spread coronavirus more easily than vaccinated people, the CDC said.“Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated,” the CDC says. “With all the heavy breathing, you may even want to double the usual 6 feet to 12 feet, just to be safe,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.Doctors say wearing eye protection (in addition to face masks) could help some people, but it’s not necessary for everyone.Teachers who have younger students in the classroom are “likely to be in environments where children might pull down their masks, or not be very compliant with them,” epidemiologist Saskia Popescu said. “There is concern that you could get respiratory droplets in the eyes.”If you’re a health care worker or taking care of someone at home who has coronavirus, it’s smart to wear eye protection, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.(Note: Regular glasses or sunglasses aren’t enough, because they leave too many gaps around the eyes.)But if you’re vaccinated or not in a high-risk situation, wearing goggles isn’t necessary.While it’s still possible to get Covid-19 through the eyes, that scenario is less likely than getting it through your nose or mouth, Steinemann said.He said if a significant number of people were getting coronavirus through their eyes, doctors would probably see more Covid-19 patients with conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye (though having pink eye doesn’t necessarily mean you have coronavirus).The CDC does not recommend using plastic face shields for everyday activities or as a substitute for face masks. “The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” said Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.“Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid.”Doctors say getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent coronavirus infection.If you’re not vaccinated, it’s best to take the stairs if you can. “Spraying disinfectants can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation,” the World Health Organization said.“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris, and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces,” the WHO said.“Moreover, spraying porous surfaces, such as sidewalks and unpaved walkways, would be even less effective.” Besides, the ground isn’t typically a source of infection, the WHO said.And once the disinfectant wears off, an infected person could easily contaminate the surface again.Any large gathering can increase the spread because this coronavirus is transmissible by talking or even just breathing. And when people are “shouting and cheering loudly, that does produce a lot of droplets and aerosolization that can spread the virus to people,” said Dr. James Phillips, a physician and assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital.So doctors and officials say its important to get vaccinated or wear a face mask and try to keep your distance from others as much as possible.“To date, there is no evidence that very high vitamin D levels are protective against COVID-19 and consequently medical guidance is that people should not be supplementing their vitamin D levels beyond those which are currently recommended by published medical advice,” wrote Robin May, director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham in the UK. For anyone over 70 years of age in the US, the recommended daily intake goes up to 20 mcg/800 IU per day.But too much vitamin D can lead to a toxic buildup of calcium in your blood that can cause confusion, disorientation, heart rhythm problems, bone pain, kidney damage and painful kidney stones.“Viruses can live on surfaces and objects — including on money — although your chance of actually getting COVID-19 from cash is probably very low,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said.The new coronavirus can live for up to 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic, up to 24 hours after landing on cardboard, and up to four hours after landing on copper, according to a study funded by the US National Institutes of Health. But the pneumonia vaccine won’t help.“Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, only help protect people from these specific bacterial infections,” according to Harvard Medical School.“They do not protect against any coronavirus pneumonia.”In some cases, health care workers haven’t had enough protective gear to handle the volume of Covid-19 patients.Some have resorted to using plastic report covers as masks. “So that could happen in the case of health care workers who are exposed to a lot more Covid-19 as a result of their work — that they get more severely ill.”In one study, about 4 in 5 people with confirmed coronavirus in China were likely infected by people who didn’t know they had it, according to research published in the journal “Science” last year.“These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of (coronavirus) and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging,” researchers wrote.In March 2020, the CDC said almost half of the 712 people with coronavirus who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship didn’t have any symptoms when they tested positive.Other studies have suggested 25% to 50% of coronavirus carriers don’t have symptoms.It may be difficult to know whether your loved one has coronavirus or another illness.

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