Note that the COVID-19 situation has evolved rapidly and new information is released regularly by official sources. The information below is meant for general guidance only; please see the recommended additional resources for the most complete and up-to-date information.

Latest Update: January 2022

Since its detection in November 2021, the Omicron variant has spread throughout the world. According to the CDC, data from laboratory experiments and epidemiologic investigations, the Omicron variant has increased transmissibility and has the ability to evade immunity conferred by past infection or vaccination. Infections with the Omicron variant are reported to be less severe as compared to the other variants, but more clinical data is needed. We have witnessed a rise in COVID-19 positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths during the first month of 2022. The trends are driven by the Omicron variant, which accounts for appx 98% of cases in the country. The current 7-day average of positive COVID-19 cases is 782,766 cases, a 33% increase from prior week. About 209 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated and 78 million have received their booster shots.

Quarantine Guidelines

The most recent CDC quarantine guidelines are:

  • If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, you must quarantine for at least 5 days, wear a full fitted mask even if you are at home around others, get tested at least 5 days after you last had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Continue to wear masks and avoid traveling.
  • If you were exposed to CIVID-19 and are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, there is no need to quarantine, however, you must get tested even if you do not experience symptoms.
  • If you were exposed and have confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days, no need for quarantine, but must monitor symptoms. Continue to wear masks and avoid traveling.
  • If you tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, please quarantine for at least 5 days, wear a well-fitted mask. End quarantine after symptoms have subsided, get tested, continue to wear mask, and avoid traveling and large social gatherings.


Vaccines are the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and prevent emergence of future variants.

  • CDC recommends that everyone 5 years or older get fully vaccinated.
  • CDC recommends that everyone ages 16 or older get a booster.

Learn more about types of vaccines, risk and benefits 


People are advised to continue wearing masks in public to slow transmission of COVID-19.

Review guidelines on effective types of masks and how to wear them


If you have been exposed and/or if you are experiencing symptoms, get tested. Note that self-tests are not always accurate. PCR tests/antigen tests are accurate. If you are positive, please follow quarantine guidelines.

Find a testing center near you

About the COVID-19 Virus

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2. An infected person is contagious to others for up to two days before symptoms appear and remain so for up to 10-20 days. The primary mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying the infectious virus.

People with COVID-19 illness display a wide range of symptoms—from asymptomatic to mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever/chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches and new fatigue
  • New loss of taste and smell
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, continue to monitor them and contact your provider. If someone is displaying severe signs of COVID-19 illness such as persistent pain, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, discolored skin, call 911 or your local emergency facility.

After the first cases of COVID-19 disease were first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 quickly dispersed across the globe, resulting in the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Since declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, we have witnessed its ability to magnify how health is at the nexus of many inequities and inequalities. Countries across the globe shut down and health systems along with health care professionals were overwhelmed.

The emergent variants of SARS-CoV-2 have contributed to the overwhelming health care systems across the globe. As any other RNA virus, SARS-CoV-2, is prone to genetic evolution. As it is transmitted from one host to another, it develops mutations over time, which result in variants with different characteristics in transmissibility, disease severity, and immune escape. Some of the variants reported include Alpha- B.1.1.7 (first reported in the UK), Beta-B.1.35.1 (first reported in South Africa), Gamma- P.1 (first reported in Brazil), Delta-B.1.617.2 (first reported in India). Lambda-C.37 and Mu-B.1.621 are emergent variants that are currently being tracked by the WHO.

At the time of this writing, the CDC reports that the U.S. has a total of 65.8 million cases and eclipses 850,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Globally, WHO reports more than 328 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5.5 million deaths.

The devastation of COVID-19 prompted an immediate response to develop vaccines against the virus. Additionally, local, and global efforts are being made to ensure vaccine distribution equity. More than 9 billion vaccines have been administered across 184 countries, which is roughly 60% of the global population. 

The United States has authorized and approved three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. All currently authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are safe, effective, and reduce the risk for severe illness. They are also shown to be effective towards the emerging variants. On August 23, 2021, The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech. A month later, on September 22, 2021, the FDA also approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine single booster dose to certain individuals.

    Sources Used and additional resources for COVID-19information:

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