A year has passed since the World Health Organization officially declared Covid a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
In that time, there have been more than 29 million Covid cases in the US and 527,720 people have died. Now, after months of adjusting to everything from wearing face masks to working from home, more than 60 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
Questions remain about how the pandemic will end and what it’s like to live in a post-pandemic world. But a year later, CNBC Make It has put together a comprehensive guide, from information on current vaccines and variants to how to stay productive while working remotely and what endemic Covid-19 could mean for 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 overwhelming amount of information about Covid-19. So CNBC Make It distilled the must-have topics that can help you stay healthy and manage your everyday life from the pandemic. Here you’ll find the most important information, plus links to other helpful stories CNBC Make It has reported over the past year. If you want to jump to a particular section, just click on it in the table of contents below.
What you need to know about Covid vaccines
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration authorizes three Covid vaccines for emergency use. Experts say that you should take whatever vaccine is available to you.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna two-shot vaccines use innovative messenger RNA or mRNA technology. Moderna’s vaccine has been shown to be 94.1% effective. Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective against Covid.
Both mRNA vaccines appear to be effective against many emerging variants. But Moderna began clinical trials for a booster vaccine targeting the South African strain on February 24.
Johnson & Johnson Single Dose Vaccine Uses a common cold virus to instruct cells on how to fight the coronavirus. It was shown to be 66% effective overall in preventing Covid and 86% effective in preventing serious illness and death from Covid.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said the company is well positioned to handle variants.
Some other promising vaccines in the works include one from Novavax and one from Oxford-AstraZeneca.
A timeline of when everyone will get vaccinated
As of March 10, more than 30 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
President Joe Biden said that thanks to an “accelerated process,” the United States will have enough supply to vaccinate all adults in the country by the end of May.
But it could take all summer for “each and everyone” to actually get vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci told “Pod Save America” in an episode posted on February 18.
It will take until May or June to vaccinate priority groups, according to Fauci’s schedule. 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 other fully vaccinated people and even some unvaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing, according to the guide published March 8.
To check your own eligibility status, use the NBC News plan, your vaccination tool.
How to make a double mask correctly
While vaccines have made a return to normal feel more like a reality, it’s not yet time to ditch the mask.
As more Covid variants of the contagious coronavirus emerge that challenge the efficacy of current vaccines (such as South Africa’s), the CDC says wearing a combination of surgical and cloth mask, also known as “double-masking,” can reduce exposure by about 96%. .
Tying the earmuffs of a surgical mask, then tucking and flattening the material to fit close to the face, also improved protection, the CDC found, as well as a few other tricks.
And you can use telltale signs to determine if your N95 mask is real or fake.
The supplement Dr. Fauci takes to help keep his immune system healthy
It can be difficult to get around all the so-called “immunity boosters.” Dr. Fauci said in September that most immune supplements do nothing, but there is one exception: Vitamin D deficiency can affect your susceptibility to infection, Fauci said.
“So I wouldn’t mind recommending it, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements,” he told Jennifer Garner during an Instagram Live.
It’s also okay to take vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect, Fauci said. But “any of the other concoctions and herbs I wouldn’t do,” he said.
Fauci has also recommended other habits that can keep your immune system working optimally, like getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
The psychological cost of the pandemic and how to cope
Many people have lived through 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 fear and the more we fear things, the more anxious we are,” says Kevin Antshel, clinical psychologist and director. from Syracuse University’s Clinical Psychology Program.
On top of that, people are suffering the loss of their jobs, their loved ones, and their “normal” life. Some, particularly frontline healthcare workers, may even experience some form or symptoms of PTSD.
Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs that long-term stress is negatively affecting your mental health and to know what to do about it. There are strategies and mindsets, such as reframing your thoughts or focusing on goal-directed tasks, that can help you cope.
Inexpensive ways to make your WFH space more ergonomic
How to Fix Video Conferencing Burnout
As many aspects of our lives have become virtual, from doctor appointments to meetings to school, video calls have become exhausting. And video conferencing is here to stay, even after a pandemic.
“The way we engage in space communicates a lot about our intentions, our relationships, and even our values. With video chat, all of that really flattens out, gets diluted, and many times is completely lost,” said the expert in digital media James Jarc tells CNBC Make It.
But there are ways to deal with common frustrations, from covering your face thumbnail with a sticky note to taking advantage of the chat feature.
4 books Bill Gates recommends for pandemic reading
In November, Gates shared four uplifting or educational books to read during the pandemic. Some of the suggestions touch on pressing topics, such as “Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World” by Fareed Zakaria. Others, like a history book on Winston Churchill during World War II, point out how leaders act under pressure.
Whatever title you are interested in, research has shown that reading can reduce your stress levels just as effectively as other relaxation methods.
Experts say Covid will become endemic
In a February survey of more than 100 immunologists, infectious disease researchers and virologists, nearly 90% said that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid, will become endemic.
When a disease becomes “endemic,” it means that there is a “constant presence and / or habitual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area,” according to the CDC. Influenza is a good example.
Over the next several years, if Covid becomes endemic, it is likely not as serious or fatal. But regular testing and yearly vaccine boosters could become the norm.