Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause cold and flu-like symptoms in mammals, including humans. On rare occasions, certain strains of coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms such as pneumonia.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. This specific strain has potential to cause more severe symptoms than its close relatives. To date, the majority of individuals that have suffered from severe complications of this new virus have been elderly or suffering from predisposing underlying chronic illness.
All viruses change and mutate over time. The SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is no different. Over time, the virus has undergone one or more genetic mutations, resulting in different variants each with slightly different characteristics such as transmissibility. The recent Delta variant is more infectious than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, with those unvaccinated at greatest risk. More information on the Delta variant is available from the CDC.
According to the CDC, symptoms related to COVID-19 include fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius along with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Additional symptoms of illness related to COVID-19 may be chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
Yes, there are three COVID-19 vaccines — one made by Pfizer-BioNTech, one by Moderna, and one by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and have been shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and in preventing severe disease. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine that has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe or critical COVID-19 disease 28 days after vaccination. In clinical trials, it was 100% effective at preventing death.
The vaccines are authorized for individuals age 12 and older (Pfizer) and age 18 and older (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson). None of the vaccines carries live coronavirus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.