I'm a Doctor and Everyone Needs to Know This About COVID
"The pandemic is over," said President Joe Biden on 60 Minutes Sunday night. "We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over." "The president is correct," U.S. Health Sec. Xavier Becerra told Yahoo Finance Monday. "He's made it clear that Americans are still dying in the hundreds every day from COVID, and so we have to stay at this. The vaccines are the most effective way for us to stay protected," Becerra added. And yet 400 people are dying every day, and Long COVID remains a plauge for millions who never fully recover from the virus. What do you need to know? Read on for this essential report—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
CDC Eases COVID-19 Quarantine Guidelines
The CDC eased its COVID-19 guidance highlighting that the pandemic poses less of a risk than it did before. The guidance no longer recommends individuals exposed to the virus to quarantine for 5 days but does advise wearing a mask for 10 days. Experts agree that while the pandemic poses less of a risk, if you test positive it is best that you continue to isolate for 5 days and follow mask mandates for another 5 days should you be out in public.
Interpreting At-Home Test Kits – What does a faint line mean?
Currently, at-home rapid tests are the most convenient means of testing for COVID-19. While they are typically user friendly, a result with a faint line has continued to cause confusion and concern for many individuals. After a period of 15-30 minutes, a chemical reaction takes place and signifies the presence of certain proteins in the sample. Even if you receive a faint line on your COVID-19 test kit, you should assume you are positive and take the proper precautions. The shade of your results does not indicate the contagiousness of the virus in your system but does indicate that you are indeed positive.
Updated High Risk COVID Destinations List for Travel
While the CDC continues to ease overall guidelines and restrictions, it's important to recognize that the pandemic is not over. The CDC recently updated its list for high-risk COVID-19 destinations that one should remain mindful of. Popular additions of late include Jordan and Sint Eustatius as Level 3, or a "high" risk category. While testing and vaccination requirements are being eased across the board (yet remain in certain areas), individuals should attempt to avoid these high-risk areas to reduce infection and help prevent further spread of the virus.
PCR Tests Over Rapid Testing – What's More Reliable?
Rapid Tests are great for convenience but often show false results and limited capabilities for catching new or unknown variants. PCR tests are more accurate and reliable and help to avoid secondary testing that is usually needed with rapid tests. PCR tests tend to be more reliable because they measure the specific genetic material of the virus. Health Care professionals and the CDC consider PCR tests to be the gold standard for detecting COVID-19. Both are valuable in detecting the virus, but you may need to take multiple rapid tests to identify an infection early on. Point of Care PCR tests like AscencioDx are coming on the market and will continue to do so.
Researchers Develop New Test to Measure COVID Immunity
MIT researchers developed a test that measures immune protection against COVID-19. The test works by measuring the level of neutralizing antibodies in a blood sample utilizing similar technology found in antigen tests. This test would be helpful for the public to understand their level of immunity/risk as we progress and learn to live with the virus. While the immunity test could resolve a lot of unanswered questions about COVID-19, it is still in the early stages of development. However, the utility of such a test to the public will have to be validated in a very large clinical study, which is yet to be performed.
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