Medically Reviewed by Expert Board

This page was fact checked by our expert Medical Review Board for accuracy and objectivity. Read more about our editorial policy and review process.

.
This article was
last modified The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
on.

SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the pneumonia-like illness COVID-19, emerged at the end of 2019. The virus spread at an alarming rate, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a pandemic and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency. Use these resources to help understand COVID-19 and be proactive about prevention.

See information for Patients and Health Professionals below.

COVID-19 News and Spotlights

Delta Variant is the Most Common SARS-CoV-2 Strain in the U.S.

July 9, 2021

Viruses are constantly changing through mutations in their genetic material. Viruses that have mutated are called variants. Mutations sometimes help variants spread easier, become resistant to treatment or vaccines, or can make them more harmful or deadly (virulent). Scientists monitor for and track variants by testing the genetic material from known cases to detect mutations. The CDC reports that the Delta variant is now the most common strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. Here are a few facts you need to know about the Delta variant:

  • The Delta variant was first identified in India and was first found in the U.S. in March 2021.
  • The variant is spreading rapidly and causing surges of COVID-19 in certain areas of the U.S., especially where there are low vaccination rates.
  • Vaccinations protect against this variant, preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
  • More research is needed to more fully understand this variant. More data will help determine whether the Delta variant is more virulent, causes different signs and symptoms, and whether a booster vaccine will be needed to provide greater protection.

Learn more about tracking SARS-Cov-2 variants.

Sources:

(June 28, 2021) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html

(July 7, 2021) Kathy Katella, 5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant. Yale Medicine News. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-delta-variant-covid

FDA Warns Against Using Two COVID-19 Tests

June 4, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication on May 28, 2021 warning consumers to stop using two specific COVID-19 tests: the Lepu Medical Technology SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit and the Leccurate SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Rapid Test Kit (Colloidal Gold Immunochromatography). The manufacturer is recalling all the test kits, which were distributed to pharmacies to be sold for at-home testing and were offered for sale directly to consumers.

These two tests have not been authorized or approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. The agency is concerned about the accuracy of these tests, noting that there is a high risk of incorrect results and potentially serious consequences. For example:

  • False negative results with the antigen test could mislead test takers to think that they do not have COVID-19, leading to delayed diagnosis and/or spread of the disease.
  • False positive results with the antibody test could mislead test takers to think they had COVID-19 in the past. If they think they are protected from further infection, they may not take appropriate precautions.

The FDA advises patients who might have been tested with one of these kits to talk to their healthcare provider if they are concerned about the results. For more details, read the FDA Safety Communication.

Source: (May 28, 2021) Stop Using Lepu Medical Technology SARS-CoV-2 Antigen and Leccurate Antibody Tests: FDA Safety Communication. Accessed June 4, 2021 https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/stop-using-lepu-medical-technology-sars-cov-2-antigen-and-leccurate-antibody-tests-fda-safety

Summer Safety Advice from the Experts

May 28, 2021

Summer activitiesAs summer gets underway, many questions arise about COVID-19 and whether it is safe to return to the normal summer activities that we look forward to every year. A new podcast from the Infectious Diseases Society of America features interviews with experts on “How to Summer Safely”. They address questions like whether or not to wear a mask, when to get tested and/or quarantine, and how to have safe summer gatherings.

CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker

Answer questions to help you decide whether to seek medical care and get tested. To get started, click the button below:

When Should You Get Tested for COVID-19? | Getting Tested for COVID-19 After Protesting | How Would Pooled Testing Work for COVID-19? | Does Wearing a Face Covering Really Stop COVID-19?