Learn About Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Our Resource Center

Find information about coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn about what it is, how it works and how it can impact your health insurance. Click to get started.

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HealthInsurance.com is committed to providing you with the information and tools to support your overall health, including the latest Coronavirus resources. National Coronavirus Resources Benefits.gov Coronavirus.gov Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) CMS.gov Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Medicare.gov National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) USA.gov Coronavirus Information What Is Coronavirus? Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2, is an especially contagious and severe respiratory disease, which was not previously seen in humans. While most people experience mild or moderate symptoms, it can cause a serious reaction in certain populations. For some, it can result in hospitalization and even death. Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that were named based on their crown-like shape under a microscope (“corona” means “crown” in Latin). While some people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, such as those over 65 or with a pre-existing condition, even previously healthy individuals may suffer a severe reaction. Where Did Coronavirus Come From? The first documented case of COVID-19 was in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Originally, it was reported that people developed viral pneumonia after visiting a seafood market there. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there was an office worker who contracted the disease in Wuhan, yet had no previous travel history and no link to the seafood market. This in mind, the investigation into the origins of the disease remains ongoing. Coronavirus Prevention We now know that COVID-19 is spread through aerosol droplets from an infected person, so coronavirus prevention is a critical way to contain the virus and save lives. Some ways to protect yourself and others include: Wear a mask. A mask can prevent you from spreading droplets, while providing a level of protection for you. Wash and/or sanitize your hands frequently. Washing your hands will keep you from spreading the virus to others or accidentally infecting yourself by touching your face. Cough into the bend of your elbow. Coughing into the air or coughing into your hand will spread the virus. Instead, cough into your elbow to avoid infecting others. Stay home if you feel unwell. Coronavirus disease is most contagious as symptoms increase. So even if you haven’t tested positive for the virus (false negatives are common), it’s best to stay home for everyone’s protection. Practice social distancing. Maintain a six-foot distance of space to avoid spreading or catching droplets from an infected person. Avoid crowded areas. Indoor spaces that are not well-ventilated and crowded outdoor spaces carry an increased risk of catching the virus. Watch for Coronavirus symptoms. Be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 to stay vigilant for both you and your loved ones. COVID-19 Testing Information Coronavirus testing can provide valuable information to help you and your loved ones stay healthy. Currently, there are 3 different types of COVID-19 tests: 1. Antigen Test This is the fastest test with a simple swab in the mouth or nose. It yields quick results, so it is often used to test large groups of people, such as at airports. The antigen test is very accurate, and false positives are rare. However, false negatives are more common. 2. PCR Test The PCR test is the most sensitive for detecting an active infection. It collects mucus from the nose or throat using a swab. Nasopharyngeal swabs that go deep into the nose are considered the most accurate of all. PCR results can take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on whether it can be tested on-site or if it has to be sent to a lab. 3. Antibody Test An antibody test looks for proteins in your blood that fight off the virus. And this type of test can indicate if you’ve already had COVID-19. It is not recommended to take the test within the first 14 days of symptoms because the immune system may not have produced antibodies yet. The test is collected via a finger-prick or blood draw. There are also several ways you can get COVID-19 testing: Contact your medical provider to order a test based on your symptoms. Visit the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website to look up community-based COVID-19 testing locations near you. Check your local pharmacy. Some pharmacies like CVS Health, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart may offer testing at many of their pharmacies. Finding Coronavirus Vaccinations Near Me Coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out across the world to help prevent severe reactions to the virus. As of March 2021, there are three coronavirus vaccines available to guard against the Coronavirus: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Moderna vaccine Johnson & Johnson vaccine Note: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine only requires one. Your eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine depends on your state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan and prioritization: You can visit the CDC website to choose your state or territory and learn more. You can also find a coronavirus vaccine location at VaccineFinder. COVID-19 vaccines may also be available at local pharmacies across the country, including: Walmart CVS Health Rite Aid Target Publix Kroger Coronavirus Resources Medicare and COVID-19 Resources Medicare covers many COVID-19 services and tests, including: COVID-19 testing: Covered with no out-of-pocket costs. COVID-19 antibody tests: Covered if you have tested positive at any point or are suspected of having had the Coronavirus. All medically necessary hospitalizations: Includes hospital stays for COVID-19 treatment and quarantine requirements. Note: Deductibles, coinsurance and copays may apply. Telehealth benefits: Medicare Advantage plans may offer virtual healthcare services, also known as telemedicine, to keep you out of the waiting room and get non-emergency care at home. Be sure to also visit our Guide To Medicare Vaccine Coverage to learn more about how Medicare covers the coronavirus vaccine. COVID-19 and Telemedicine Telemedicine has become a convenient virtual method to get care from a doctor online versus visiting a doctor in person. In the wake of COVID-19, medical providers have used telemedicine as a critical tool to help contain the virus. Medical professionals can evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the transmission risk of in-person visits using technology such as secure messaging portals, video, and cell phones. Telemedicine visits can provide the same level of service as an in-person visit. They can also cost significantly less. COVID-19 Insurance Coverage Visit AHIP's coronavirus resource hub, which breaks down COVID-19 insurance coverage by insurance carrier. 10 Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 1. What is COVID-19? Coronavirus refers to a whole family of viruses, including those related to the common cold. However, the newest form of coronavirus, COVID-19, is a more contagious and severe form of the virus. 2. What are the Coronavirus symptoms? Coronavirus symptoms can vary widely, depending on the individual, but the most common COVID-19 symptoms are: Loss of taste or smell Fever or chills Cough Fatigue Brain fog or confusion Headache Sore throat Congestion or runny nose Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea In some rare cases, COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory problems, kidney failure, and even death. Emergency warning signs include: Difficulty breathing Pressure or pain in chest Confusion Inability to arouse Bluish lips or face And if you experience any of these coronavirus symptoms, call 911 immediately. 3. How long does it take COVID-19 symptoms to manifest? Coronavirus symptoms will emerge within 14 days of exposure. But keep in mind that some individuals experience no symptoms at all. If you’ve been exposed to the virus, you should still stay at home and get tested even if you show no signs of infection. 4. How long do COVID-19 symptoms last? Coronavirus symptoms can last anywhere from days to weeks, depending on the severity of the case. However, scientists and doctors have identified many people as post-COVID “long-haul” sufferers. While these people may no longer suffer from acute coronavirus symptoms, such as fever or headaches, and may even test negative for the virus, they still suffer from symptoms of the virus. Common coronavirus symptoms include: Mood issues Brain fog Shortness of breath Coughing If you’re still experiencing coronavirus symptoms after a few weeks, contact your doctor. 5. How long am I contagious with Coronavirus? The length of being contagious depends on the severity of the COVID-19 infection and your general health. You can generally stop self-isolation 10 days after the onset of coronavirus symptoms if you have no fever for at least 24 hours and see a reduction in symptoms. However, those with a severe illness or who are severely immunocompromised may take up to 20 days to no longer be contagious. 6. Can you get COVID-19 twice? COVID-19 reinfection is extremely rare. Research is still ongoing to understand how long individuals are protected. 7. Where do I go to get tested for COVID-19? There are several options to get COVID-19 testing: Contact your doctor: He or she can evaluate your symptoms and order you a test if they feel the situation warrants it. Visit the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website: To look up look up community-based COVID-19 testing locations near you. Visit the lHRSA lookup tool: To find a health center that may offer free testing to those who qualify. Check your local pharmacy: Certain pharmacies may offer testing, including CVS Health or Walgreens. 8. What are the types of COVID-19 tests? There are 3 types of COVID-19 tests available: Antigen Test. The fastest test, it is often used when testing large groups at once (i.e., at airports to avoid coronavirus travel restrictions). It is accurate with a low false-positive result. However, it does have a more significant false-negative risk. PCR Test. Known to be the most accurate, PCR tests can take anywhere from minutes to weeks to get results. It depends largely on if there is a lab on-site or not. Antibody Test. Tests to see if the body has antibodies, rather than searching for the presence of the virus. Recommended after 14 days of onset of symptoms. 9. How can I stay safe if I have COVID-19? Simple measures can be taken to stay safe and promote healing: Stay home and self-isolate if needed Get plenty of rest Drink fluids Take medication recommended by your medical provider Periodically check your vitals via pulse oximeter However, if your coronavirus symptoms are severe or concerning, contact your medical provider or call 911. 10. How can I prevent getting COVID-19? Tips for coronavirus prevention include: Practice social distancing Wear a mask Wash your hands frequently Maintain healthy habits, such as exercising, getting plenty of rest and eating nutritious foods. Get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible for one. Explore Our Coronavirus Content What is coronavirus? Coronavirus surveys and news 3 tips to help you get the coronavirus vaccine Note: The above information does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional regarding your health needs. If you’re experiencing a health emergency, contact your local emergency health services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care.
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Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that includes certain forms of the common cold. The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is the latest variation of the virus. COVID-19 is extremely contagious, causing severe respiratory disease that was not previously seen in humans. Coronavirus disease was named based on its crown-like shape under a microscope (“corona” means “crown” in Latin). Now that we’ve answered, “what is Coronavirus?”, let’s walk through some COVID-19 frequently asked questions. How Did Coronavirus Start? The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, where people developed viral pneumonia after visiting a seafood market there. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an office worker also contracted the disease but had no link to the seafood market. The investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus disease remains ongoing. Was COVID-19 man-made? No. Scientists have studied the genetic sequence of the virus and concluded that it was not man-made or engineered. How Many Types of Coronavirus Are There? Scientists define coronavirus as a family of viruses that are named for their crown-like appearance. There are currently seven different strains of the virus, with COVID-19 being the latest strain. How Does Coronavirus Spread? There are 3 things to know about the spread of Coronavirus: Coronavirus is spread just like the common flu: Person to person between people who are within 6 feet of each other. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These respiratory droplets can then be inhaled into the lungs or land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. The virus can possibly spread before people show symptoms. But this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Is Coronavirus Contagious? Yes, COVID-19 is a highly contagious illness. And people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Is Coronavirus Airborne? Yes. The CDC says Coronavirus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets from an infected person. How Long Does the Coronavirus Last On Surfaces? The CDC indicates that Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and sunlight exposure may reduce the time that Coronavirus survives on surfaces and objects. Other common questions about Coronavirus living on surfaces include: Can Coronavirus Live On Food? According to the FDA, there is no evidence of food, food containers or food packaging being the source of COVID-19 transmission. But if you’re still concerned about Coronavirus contamination on food, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from packaging, and before you prepare or eat food. Can Coronavirus Live On Clothes? Though we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, experts believe it’s unlikely that the viral particles will survive on porous surfaces like clothing. COVID-19 spreads mostly through aerosol droplets, which means it is much more likely to get the virus person-to-person rather than surfaces. In addition, WHO reports that the likelihood of COVID-19 being spread through your shoes is extremely low. What Are The Coronavirus Symptoms? Common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may include: Fever or chills Loss of taste or smell Cough Fatigue Brain fog Nausea or vomiting Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea Sore throat Headache For certain people, COVID-19 can create more severe issues that can require hospitalization. Some more severe Coronavirus symptoms may include: Pain or pressure on the chest Confusion Difficulty breathing Inability to arouse or stay awake Bluish lips or face In these severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even become fatal. So if you’re experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. How To Know If You Have Coronavirus There are several ways that coronavirus symptoms can appear. Some people experience all symptoms of COVID-19, while others have some symptoms or none at all. That said, knowing whether you have Coronavirus can be tricky on your own. Your best bet is to get tested for COVID-19. How Quickly Do Coronavirus Symptoms Appear? COVID-19 symptoms appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. What Should I Do If I Think I Have Coronavirus? If you have mild symptoms like a low fever, cough, or sore throat, you should stay at home and self-isolate. This means: Don't go to work, school, or public areas, and avoid using public transportation or ride-sharing services. Separate yourself from other people as much as possible: Stay in a specific room, and use a separate bathroom, if one is available. What Does Coronavirus Feel Like? Coronavirus feels different for everyone. Some experience severe shortness of breath, while others don’t realize they have the virus at all. However, about 80% of people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms such as: Fever or chills Recent loss of smell or taste Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea Headache Fatigue Runny nose Muscle aches Sore throat Can You Have Coronavirus Without A Fever? Yes, it’s possible to have Coronavirus without a fever. But the virus affects everyone differently, so there are a number of ways that symptoms can present themselves. For some, coronavirus symptoms start with a cough or loss of smell and/or taste. In these cases, a fever only appears after the first few days. Coronavirus vs. Flu: What’s The Difference? Coronavirus and influenza (commonly called the flu) may share similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while the flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses. Here are the 3 other key differences of Coronavirus vs. the flu: Symptoms: Since COVID-19 and the flu are separate viruses, there’s a difference in how the viruses present themselves in the body. For example, a loss of taste or smell is rare with the flu but common with COVID-19. Reaction: Coronavirus can cause a more severe reaction than the flu. In some instances, COVID-19 causes complications like blood clots. Treatment: The flu can be treated by antiviral drugs. Only one antiviral drug, remdesivir, is approved to treat COVID-19. Researchers are still evaluating COVID-19 drugs and treatment. Note: It’s difficult to diagnose COVID-19 vs. the flu based on symptoms alone, so be sure to get tested to determine which illness you have. What’s The Difference Between Coronavirus and a Cold? The common cold is typically mild and doesn’t often require intervention for recovery. COVID-19, on the other hand, is a far more serious virus with many symptoms and complications. It typically takes three to 10 days to recover from the cold, but it can take individuals much longer to recover from COVID. While symptoms of the common cold typically appear anywhere from one to three days after being exposed to the virus, COVID can take as long as 14 days to present symptoms. The key difference of Coronavirus symptoms vs. common cold is the way symptoms are presented. For example: COVID-19 has an array of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, while the common cold does not. A common symptom of a cold is a stuffy or runny nose. But many COVID-19 patients experience loss of smell or taste without a runny or stuffy nose Fever, muscle aches and fatigue may be common symptoms of Coronavirus, but these aren’t typically symptoms of the common cold. Can You Get Coronavirus Twice? At this time, cases of Coronavirus reinfection are very rare. But research is still ongoing. How Long Are You Contagious With Coronavirus? The duration of Coronavirus infection can vary depending on your immune system. According to the CDC, adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms remain contagious no longer than 10 days after the onset of symptoms. But it may take up to 20 days for those who are immunocompromised or experiencing severe symptoms of the virus. How Long Does It Take To Recover From Coronavirus? COVID-19 recovery is a very individual process, but most people recover within a few days to a few weeks. Is Coronavirus Deadly? Yes, unfortunately Coronavirus can be fatal. Visit worldometer’s Coronavirus statistics for up-to-date information, including statistics about Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. What Kills Coronavirus? A household cleaner that contains bleach or at least 70% isopropyl alcohol should kill the virus. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a database of safe disinfectants against COVID-19 Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Coronavirus? Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 70% isopropyl alcohol are strong enough to kill the COVID-19 virus. But if you’ve used enough hand sanitizer to build residue on your hands, it’s time to wash them. The film traps viruses and germs rather than killing them. Hand sanitizers work well when a sink isn’t available. So remember: The top Coronavirus prevention tip is to wash your hands. How Much Does It Cost To Get Tested For Coronavirus? Thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in the U.S. Community-based testing sites also offer COVID-19 testing free of charge as a part of the national response to the pandemic. Where Can I Get Tested For Coronavirus? There are 3 ways to get tested for COVID-19: Contact your doctor: He or she can evaluate your symptoms and order you a test if they feel the situation warrants it. Visit the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website: To look up community-based COVID-19 testing locations near you. Visit the HRSA lookup tool: To find a health center that may offer free testing to those who qualify. Pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart may offer testing. You can also check with local independent pharmacies to see if they offer tests. What Medicine Should I Take For Coronavirus? There is currently no cure for COVID-19. But some over-the-counter medication can help reduce symptoms and make you more comfortable, though. For fevers, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) can help lower your temperature. But cough medicine and over-the-counter medication for nausea and vomiting are largely ineffective against COVID-19. Treating Coronavirus comes also down to several factors like your age and underlying medical conditions. If you’re under 65 and relatively healthy, the best solution is to stay home and treat it like you would any other cold or flu: Hydrate. Fevers and coughing will deplete your body of water much faster than normal so you need to balance that with water and drinks with electrolytes like Pedialyte. Rest. Your body needs all the strength it can to fight off the virus, so avoid physical exertion. Try over-the-counter meds. As stated above, OTC meds won’t cure you, but they may bring relief so you can feel more comfortable. Do Antibiotics Treat Coronavirus? No. Antibiotics do not prevent or treat COVID-19 because COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Antibiotics only work against bacteria. Is There A Cure For COVID-19? There's currently no cure for COVID-19. However, there are 2 treatments available in the hospital for severe cases: Remdesivir (Veklury): An antiviral medication approved by FDA to treat COVID-19. Dexamethasone: A steroid medication recommended for patients who need supplemental oxygen. Is There A Coronavirus Vaccine? As of March 2021, there are three coronavirus vaccines to guard against the Coronavirus: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Moderna vaccine Johnson & Johnson vaccine Your eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine depends on your state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan and prioritization. COVID-19 vaccines may also be available at local pharmacies across the country including CVS, Publix, RiteAid, Walgreens, and Walmart. The above information does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional regarding your health needs. If you’re experiencing a health emergency, contact your local emergency health services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care.
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