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National Coronavirus Resources
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
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.
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:
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:
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
Brain fog or confusion
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
In some rare cases, COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory problems, kidney failure, and even death. Emergency warning signs include:
Pressure or pain in chest
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:
Shortness of breath
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
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.