There is a lot of information—and misinformation—about COVID-19. So, we get that you may be wondering about the disease, the variants, and the vaccine.
That’s why ESSENCE® and the Louisiana Department of Health are helping to move our communities forward by providing answers to some of the most popular questions, fro the basics and beyond.
What is COVID-19?
It’s a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk to get severely ill, or die, from COVID-19.
How Does COVD-19 Spread?
There are three ways that COVID-19 spreads: (1) Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus; (2) Having these small droplets land on your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through a cough or sneeze; and (3) Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected. Click here to learn more about how COVID-19 spreads.
What is Contact Tracing?
While it may seem new, or even an invasion of privacy, it has been used for decades by state and local health departments to help slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases. Right now it is helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by letting people know they may have been exposed, should monitor their health for signs and symptoms, and get tested. During contact tracing, the health department staff will not ask about money, your bank information, your Social Security number, or your credit card numbers—if you do receive a call asking for those things, you may want to notify your local police department.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
According to the CDC, millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history and have proven to be safe and effective.
Did the Vaccine Come Out Too Fast?
Dr. Shantel Hebert-Magee, Region One Medical Director, Louisiana Department of Health, puts it plainly by saying, “Just because you don’t know about something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” She goes on to explain that in the 1950s, airbags were first developed but they were not mandated until 1999. “mRNA has been around since the 1960’s and in early 2000, we were using this technology for cancer immunotherapy, to give people a last lease on life,” she says. “We’ve had it in our pocket for a long time, but there hasn’t been an opportunity or a need to utilize this technology until now. So, this is not new, this has been around, it’s just a matter of when do you implement something? You implement technology when there is a need and when there is a desire.”
Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Variants?
According to the CDC COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. New variants happen because the virus is constantly changing through a natural ongoing process of mutation (change). Even before the COVID-19 vaccines, there were several variants of the virus. Looking ahead, variants are expected to continue to emerge as the virus continues to change. To find out more about variants, click here.
Still have a few questions? Click here to check out the top 5 #COVID19 vaccination myths and how we debunked them. (LINK TO ARTICLE ONE) To find a vaccination location in Louisiana, click here.