Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
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.
COVID-19 News and Spotlights
WHO Classifies Omicron a Variant of Concern, First U.S. Case Confirmed in California
December 1, 2021
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified the newly identified SARS CoV-2 variant called Omicron a Variant of Concern. Viruses are constantly changing through mutations in their genetic material, resulting in variants of the original virus. These mutations sometimes help variants spread easier, become resistant to treatment or vaccines, or can make them more harmful or deadly. According to the WHO, preliminary evidence suggests that there is an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, and that it may spread easier.
Omicron was first reported to the WHO by South Africa on November 24, 2021. The first U.S. case was confirmed in California on December 1, 2021. The person who tested positive for Omicron was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. The individual had been fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms of the infection. The CDC and state and local public health departments continue to monitor for additional cases.
Meanwhile, health officials urge the public to continue following COVID-19 prevention strategies and to take steps to protect against infection. Individuals should also get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. At least one test manufacturer has confirmed that its COVID-19 test is able to detect the new variant.
Learn more about how the CDC tracks SARS-CoV-2 variants.
World Health Organization. Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern. November 26,2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. First Confirmed Case of Omicron Variant Detected in the United States. December 1, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1201-omicron-variant.html
Radhika Anilkumar and Carl O’Donnell. Thermo Fisher says its COVID-19 tests accurately detects Omicron variant. Reuters. November 29, 2021. Accessed December 1, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/thermo-fisher-says-its-covid-19-tests-accurately-detects-omicron-variant-2021-11-29/
FDA Authorizes Additional COVID-19 Boosters, CDC Widens Eligibility
November 23, 2021
Many more people are now eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots that recently received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The extra doses of the vaccines are expected to provide additional protection for millions of Americans, reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death.
For individuals who initially received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, booster doses are authorized for adults age 18 and older six months or more after their initial series of the shot.
For individuals who received the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster doses are recommended for those 18 and older who received the initial shot two or more months ago.
The following table summarizes the three vaccines currently available in the U.S.
|Vaccine features||Pfizer-BioNTech||Moderna||Jansen/Johnson & Johnson|
|Effectiveness||91% in those age 16+; more than 89% in people with underlying conditions; 100% in children age 12 to 15||94%, more than 90% in people with underlying conditions||66% in preventing COVID-19 with symptoms; 85% in preventing severe illness|
|Ages approved||Age 5+||Age 18+||Age 18+|
|Number of doses||2 doses 21 days apart||2 doses, 28 days apart||1 dose|
|Booster authorized||For all adults age 18+ six months or more after initial vaccine series||For all adults age 18+ six months or more after initial vaccine series||For adults age 18 and older who were vaccinated two or more months ago|
|Most common side effects||Pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, chills|
|How they work||While these different vaccines work slightly differently, they all prompt our immune systems to produce white blood cells that fight the virus. Building this immunity can sometimes cause symptoms. Our bodies keep some “memory” white blood cells so that the next time we are exposed to the virus, our immune system will remember how to fight it. For details, read the CDC’s Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work.|
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Updated November 9, 2021) Different COVID-19 Vaccines. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html
Mayo Clinic (Updated November 23, 2021). Comparing the differences between COVID-19 vaccines. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine/comparing-vaccines
Two COVID-19 Tests Kits Recalled
October 20, 2021
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that a recall of two COVID-19 laboratory test kits from an Abbott Laboratories unit is a Class 1 recall, the most serious type, due to the risk of false positives, which is a positive result when there is no infection. The recall is for the Alinity m Resp-4-Plex AMP and the Alinity m SARS-CoV-2 AMP test kits. In September, the FDA issued a letter warning healthcare providers and laboratories of the risk for false positive results with these two kits. The agency recommended that they consider retesting patients with a positive result from the faulty test kits with different approved COVID-19 tests. Read the full story.
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:
CDC COVID-19 County Check
Find out about the level of COVID-19 transmission in your area
For Health Professionals
- For Lab Professionals: Visit the following pages for essential information:
- AACC’s Coronavirus Resources
- CDC: Information for Laboratories
- CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Laboratories
- Association of Public Health Laboratories: Laboratory and Testing Resources
- For Clinicians: Visit the following CDC pages.
- Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
- Ten Clinical Tips on COVID-19 for Healthcare Providers Involved in Patient Care
- Interim Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Training for Healthcare Professionals
- LOINC from Regenstrief: SARS Coronavirus 2 LOINC information