It has been a year since the World Health Organization officially declared Covid a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
During this period, there have been over 29 million cases of Covid in the United States and 527,720 people have died. Now, after months of adjusting to everything from wearing a mask to working from home, more than 60 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
Questions remain about the end of the pandemic and what life is like in a post-pandemic world. But a year later, CNBC Make It has put together a comprehensive guide, ranging from information on current vaccines and variants to how to keep being productive while you work remotely to what endemic Covid-19 might mean to you.
Here’s what we’ve learned about Covid, and what you need to know to move forward.
How this guide works:
There is an impressive amount of information on Covid-19. So CNBC Make It has distilled the must-have topics that can help you stay healthy and manage day-to-day life in the event of a pandemic. Here you’ll find the most important information, as well as links to other useful stories CNBC Make It has reported over the past year. If you want to jump directly to a particular section, just click on it in the table of contents below.
Three Covid vaccines are currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. Experts say you should take the vaccine that is available to you.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna two-shot vaccines use innovative messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology. Moderna’s vaccine showed an efficacy of 94.1%. Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective against Covid.
Both mRNA vaccines appear to be effective against many emerging variants. But Moderna started clinical trials for a booster which targets the South African strain on February 24.
Johnson & johnson single dose vaccine uses a cold virus to provide instructions to cells on how to fight the coronavirus. He demonstrated an overall effectiveness of 66% in preventing Covid, and was 86% effective in preventing serious illness and death from Covid.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said the company is well positioned to handle variants.
Other promising vaccines in the pipeline include one from Novavax and one from Oxford-AstraZeneca.
As of March 10, more than 30 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated, According to the CDC.
But it could take all summer for “anyone and everyone” to be truly vaccinated, said Dr Anthony Fauci “Pod Save America“in an episode published on February 18.
We will have to wait until May or June to vaccinate priority groups, according to Fauci chronology. And then it could take several months for all adults to have vaccines in their arms, he said.
Since people are fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can safely visit with other fully vaccinated people and even some unvaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing, according to guidelines released on March 8.
To check your own eligibility status, use NBC News’ plan your vaccination tool.
While vaccines have made a return to normalcy a reality, it is not yet time to ditch your mask.
As more contagious Covid coronavirus variants emerge which question the effectiveness of current vaccines (like the one in South Africa), the CDC says that wearing a combination of surgical mask and cloth, aka “double masking”, can reduce exposure by about 96%.
Tying the earrings on a surgical mask, then tucking in and flattening the material to fit close to the face, also improved protection, the CDC found, as well as some other hacks.
And you can use warning signs to find out if your N95 mask is real or counterfeit.
It can be difficult to go through all of the so called “immunity boosters”. Dr Fauci said in September that most immune supplements do nothing, but there is one exception: Vitamin D deficiency may impact your susceptibility to infections, said Fauci.
“So I wouldn’t mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements“he told Jennifer Garner on Instagram Live.
It’s also good to take vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect, Fauci said. But “none of the other concoctions and herbs I wouldn’t make,” he said.
Fauci also recommended other habits that can keep your immune system going function optimally, such as getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
Many people have experienced the pandemic in a constant state of uncertainty. And “fear and anxiety really go hand in hand: the more uncertain things are, the more we are going to be afraid, and the more we are afraid of things, the more we are anxious,” says Kevin Antshel, clinical psychologist and director. from Syracuse University’s Clinical Psychology Program.
On top of that, people are mourn the loss of jobs, loved ones and “normal” life. Some, especially frontline healthcare workers, may even experience some form or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is therefore important to recognize the signs that long-term stress has a negative impact on your mental health and knowing what to do about it. There is strategies and mindsets, such as reframing your thoughts or focusing on focused tasks, it can help you cope.
As so many aspects of our lives have gone virtual, from doctor’s appointments to meetings and school, video calls have become exhausting. And video conferencing is here to stay, even after the pandemic.
“The way we engage in the space communicates a lot about our intentions, our relationships and even our values - with video chat, all of this is really flattened, watered down, and often completely messed up,” James, digital media expert. Jarc tells CNBC do it.
But there are ways to dealing with common frustrations, from covering the sticker of your face with a sticky note to using the chat feature.
In November, Gates shared four uplifting or educational books to read during the pandemic. Some of the suggestions touch on pressing issues, such as “Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World” by Fareed Zakaria. Others, like a history book on Winston Churchill during World War II, show how leaders act under pressure.
Whatever title interests you, studies have shown that reading can reduce your stress level just as effectively as other relaxation methods.
When a disease becomes “endemic”, it means that there is a “constant presence and / or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area”, according to the CDC. The flu is a good example.
Over the next few years, if the Covid becomes endemic, it probably won’t be as serious or fatal. But regular testing and annual vaccine boosters could become the norm.