The nearly 1 million people who have lost their lives to COVID-19 also have given the world a gift: a better understanding of how to treat the disease.
More deaths are expected this fall because of the recent surge in coronavirus infections in the United States and many other countries.
Yet there also are signs that death rates are declining and that people who get the virus now are faring better than those in the early months of the pandemic did.
Several drugs have proved able to fight COVID-19 and doctors know more about how to treat the sickest patients in hospitals.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.