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An Informative Guide to COVID-19


A Brief Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic

2020 has been a turbulent ride for the world at large. With the Coronavirus spreading like wildfire, global health systems were overwhelmed, and nations tried their best to contain the viral transmission through strict lockdowns and movement restrictions. The United States reported more than 346,000 deaths and over 20 million SARS-CoV-2 infections by the end of the year.
Here’s a look back at how the pandemic unfolded and evolved through the year.
Less than two weeks after WHO announced bizarre Coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China, the CDC confirmed the first U.S. case of Coronavirus through an overnight RT-PCR COVID-19 test on January 21, 2020. At the same time, Chinese scientists also confirmed the human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With conditions worsening, China imposed a strict lockdown and completely closed off Wuhan.
With worldwide death tolls rising and the number of cases escalating exponentially, WHO declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020. Several countries worldwide began imposing restrictions on global air travel, and on February 3, 2020, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the country. Two days after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, President Donald Trump announced a national emergency on March 13. Stringent travel bans followed, telehealth services were expanded, and hospitals struggled to keep up with the rise in virus-affected patients.
Adding to the woes, WHO announced that COVID-19 could be airborne. Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government began developing, manufacturing, and distributing effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines.
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COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine Development Brings Hope

Vaccinations for persons aged 18 years or older in the U.S. began on December 14, 2020. On March 17, 2021, the HHS issued a directive expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all Americans. On April 19, persons aged 16 or older were made eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and on May 10, FDA approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 years. On August 23, the FDA approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for persons aged 16 years or older. FDA authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 years on October 29, 2021.

In June 2021, mounting concerns over the Delta variant significantly crippled efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19. The more contagious and transmissible variant spread fast, especially among unvaccinated populations, leading to a spike in cases and hospitalizations. Subsequently, the Biden administration mandated vaccines across the general public, including foreign visitors to the United States.

Beginning November 8, 2021, fully vaccinated foreign travelers were allowed in the United States. Those traveling by air must show proof of vaccination and a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test report, taken within three days before boarding the plane.

COVID-19 Testing

Widespread COVID-19 Testing Saves Lives

RT-PCR COVID-19 testing has been the gold standard for detecting the viral load in suspected patients. RT-PCR tests of people who show symptoms of infection such as sore throat, fever, trouble breathing, or loss of the sense of taste and smell, those who are asymptomatic, and who may have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by identifying affected individuals in the early infection stages. A positive RT-PCR COVID-19 test in a timely fashion allows affected persons to isolate themselves and seek early treatment, thereby limiting the chances of further spread of the infection.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, limited capacity and supplies of labs resulted in significant delays of RT-PCR COVID-19 test reports. Moreover, the standard norm was that reports were available after at least 2-3 days of RT-PCR tests. So, people who had an urgent or last-minute need to travel internationally could not afford to get a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test report on them.

But with time, improvement in lab equipment and expansion of supply and capacity has resulted in rapid COVID testing and delivery. Also, the RT-PCR test for travel has made it possible to get tested on the go and never miss a flight! COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing and same-day RT-PCR testing deliver results in as few as 15-30 minutes. Today, same-day RT-PCR tests and rapid COVID test methods are more authentic than ever with accurate and reliable results.
Delta & Omicron Variant

Omicron - A Looming Threat

As the world was slowly limping back to normalcy, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021. The new variant was first detected in specimens collected from Botswana and South Africa. WHO named the new variant ‘Omicron’ and classified it as a variant of concern. The U.S. designated Omicron as a variant of concern on November 30, 2021, and the first confirmed case of Omicron in the States was identified on December 1, 2021.

As was done for previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, CDC continues to track the course of Omicron using genomic surveillance and frame public health practices accordingly. To date, no conclusive data is available regarding the mode of spread of Omicron, how well available medications and vaccines work against it, or the severity of illness it causes.

As per CDC, at least one case of illness caused by the Omicron variant has been detected in more than 20 states of the U.S., including Arizona. Once Omicron can be accurately estimated at low frequencies, surveillance data will be available in CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. RT-PCR tests remain the standard for diagnosing the new variant.

COVID-19 Protection

Protect Yourself from COVID-19

Persons who are yet to be vaccinated or have a compromised immune system or an underlying medical condition should continue taking COVID-19 preventive measures to stay safe. If you are experiencing any typical COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself immediately, get an RT-PCR COVID-19 test done at the earliest, and seek medical care accordingly.

Here are some CDC guidelines you can follow to stay away from COVID-19 infection:
  • Unvaccinated people, those with a compromised immune system, an underlying medical condition, or those aged two years or older wear a well-fitted mask in crowded outdoor settings, indoor public places, and areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
  • Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in areas of high transmission and indoor public places.
  • Wearing a well-fitted mask covering the nose and mouth is compulsory at stations, airports, and all forms of public transportation.
  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet, especially from someone who is sick or is COVID-19 positive.
  • Avoid crowded indoor settings and those that are poorly ventilated.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow if you are not wearing a mask. Then, wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately and dispose of the soiled tissue into a trash can.
  • Monitor your health daily and get vaccinated if you haven’t already.
COVID-19 Testing Facility

Are you looking for a reliable COVID-19 testing facility in Phoenix,  and Scottsdale, Arizona? Affordable Rapid Testing offers rapid, reliable, and contactless same-day RT-PCR tests, rapid COVID-19 testing, mobile testing, Organization testing, and events testing options. In addition, our same-day travel testing facility ensures that you never have to miss a flight and get tested on the go because our lab is just 4 minutes away from Phoenix Harbor Airport, Arcadia, Phoenix.