Updates: Research teams discover new variants of U.S. COVID-19

  • A research team at Southern Illinois University discovered a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that is specific to and dominant in the U.S.
  • Scientists at Ohio State University also discovered another mutation identical to the strain in the U.K., but it likely arose in a virus strain already present in the U.S.
  • The single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is safe and generates an immune response, based on early stage clinical trials, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • The Vatican has confirmed Pope Francis received the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

Staying Safe

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Here’s what to know about the symptoms and what to do if you have them. It's important to take precautions to protect not only your health, but also that of others.

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Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new virus strains?

A coronavirus variant in the U.K. has caused alarm because it might spread more easily. But even if that turns out to be true, experts say the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out will likely still work on the strain.

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Do I have a winter health issue or COVID-19?

From winter allergies to dry air, these are the differences between a seasonal problem and the coronavirus.

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Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause an allergic reaction?

The percentage of people who have actually experienced an allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine is low. Here's everything you need to know about vaccines and allergies.

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How can I persuade someone to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Medical experts say vaccine-induced herd immunity is the best way to end the pandemic. Here's what everyday Americans can do to encourage their families, friends and community members to get the vaccine.

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Will travel bans help contain new coronavirus strains?

A newly identified variant of the coronavirus has led over 40 countries to impose travel restrictions against the United Kingdom, which registered a record number of daily cases.

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Am I immune to the coronavirus if I’ve already had it?

You have some immunity, but how much and for how long are still unanswered questions.

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What are the treatment options for COVID-19?

There are several treatment options, and which one is best depends on how sick someone is.

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How does the coronavirus affect the heart?

Even though it’s known as a respiratory virus, doctors believe the coronavirus can directly infect the heart muscle and cause other problems leading to heart damage.

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Public health glossary

What's the difference between quarantine and isolation? Here's a guide to the public health terms used in the coronavirus coverage.

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WHO's FAQ guide

See the World Health Organization's FAQ guide to get informed about the coronavirus.

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WHO investigative team finally arrives in Wuhan

The much-anticipated and delayed World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus has finally arrived in Wuhan, only to hit another setback. Two members have been forced to remain behind after they tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. The rest are quarantining for 14 days. It's been a year since the first reports of the disease emerged in Wuhan. The international team of scientists was supposed to arrive a month ago but was delayed by the Chinese government, which drew a rare public criticism of Beijing from the WHO at the time. Beijing says the delay was a "misunderstanding." The United States has also criticized the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts have done the first phase of research. Washington has long-accused Beijing of lack of transparency, and hiding the extent of the initial outbreak. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is pushing a narrative that the virus may have existed outside China before it was discovered in Wuhan, partly due to scientific papers that suggest it may have circulated in Europe in 2019. One WHO team member however, has warned that while they don't expect any hindrances as they scour the city, the scientists may not find clear answers here.
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