The number of people infected with the disease continues to change on a daily basis. While the impact of the disease varies by location, there are more than 519.5 million confirmed cases in people with it COVID-19 According to the WHO, more than 6.2 million people have died from the disease worldwide. (While some news sources report different numbers, the WHO provides official numbers of confirmed cases once a day.)
That The CDC provides a rough picture of the outbreak in the US here, currently putting the total number of confirmed and probable cases at more than 81.5 million and estimating more than 994,000 deaths. The CDC also reports that 82.6% of US adults and children 5 years and older have received at least one vaccination and 70.4% of people of the same age group are fully vaccinated (meaning they receive two doses of Pfizer or Moderna have vaccine or single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson).
According to the CDC, reported COVID-19 illnesses ranged from mild (in some cases with no reported symptoms) to severe illness requiring hospitalization, critical care and/or a ventilator. COVID-19 diseases can also lead to death. While people of all ages can be infected, the risk of complications increases with age. People living in a nursing home or long-term care facility and people of all ages with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and obesity) are also at high risk of serious illness.
COVID-19 has caused serious illness and even death in otherwise healthy young and middle-aged adults. While most children have mild or no symptoms, some have become seriously ill. As with adults, children who have no symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
While most people recover within a few weeks, some adults and children suffer from post-COVID conditions known as “Long COVID,” which can appear weeks after infection and can include a range of new, recurring, or ongoing health problems. These range from fatigue and muscle pain to – in extreme cases – autoimmune diseases and Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a condition in which different parts of the body swell. Even people who had mild or no symptoms when infected can have post-COVID illness.
It helps that experts now have a better idea of how the virus is transmitted from one person to another. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread in three ways:
- By breathing air near an infected person exhaling small droplets and particles containing the virus;
- When these droplets and particles land on your eyes, nose, or mouth:
- Or touching your eyes, nose and mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
In general, according to the CDC, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater your risk of spreading COVID-19, and indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces.
Additionally, droplets can land on surfaces, and people can get the virus by touching those surfaces, although it’s not considered a primary way of spreading COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Viruses are known to be constantly changing. Scientists are working to learn more about these variants, how they spread, and how they might affect the severity of illness in people who get the virus. You’ve studied Omicron closely ever since it appeared. There is also more to learn about how long the vaccines can protect people.