Quick facts, news and updates
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person
- The virus is prevalent throughout the world (pandemic)
- COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness
- People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these or a combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
High risk population
Based on CDC guidelines and what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
- Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness. More information on Are you at higher risk for serious illness?
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
- Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has developed clinical guidance for the care of adult patients with rheumatic diseases, including Behcet's Disease, during the COVID-19 pandemic. All recommendations are based on current knowledge and will be revised as circumstances and evidence evolve. Given the low level of available evidence and the rapidly evolving literature, future updates will follow. Information directly from the ACR is available here: COVID-19 Clinical Guidance for Adult Patients with Rheumatic Diseases
ACR abstract and free access to recommendations for clinicians treating rheumatic patients with of COVID-19 can be accessed here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.41301
The CDC recommends patients continue medications and not change their treatment plan without consulting with their healthcare provider.
How it spreads
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow
- Throw used tissues in the trash
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectantsexternal icon will work
- If you test positive for COVID-19 by a viral test, know what protective steps to take if you are sick or caring for someone
- If you test negative for COVID-19 by a viral test, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing
There are no drugs or other therapeutics presently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19. Current clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated.
The National Institutes of Health have published interim guidelines for the medical management of COVID-19external icon prepared by the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel.
These guidelines contain information about investigational therapeutics and will be updated as new information emerges and drugs and other therapeutic interventions are approved for use by FDA.
Persons seeking information about registered clinical trials for COVID-19 in the United States can search for information here: ClinicalTrials.gov
Coronavirus news and updates
08/21/2020 - As of August 20, 2020, the United States has 5,506,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 172,416 virus-related deaths. Globally, there have been 22,493,312 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with deaths 788,503.
08/20/2020 - COVID-19 has created new questions and challenges for individuals with compromised immune systems or those with chronic conditions. The American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) Simple Tasks campaign aims to raise awareness of the severe impact of rheumatic diseases and highlight the healthcare policy issues that affect patients’ ability to access high-quality care. By educating patients about the healthcare issues affecting rheumatology care, and providing tools that make it easy for patients to become advocates for their care and ensure that people who are affected by these diseases are able to receive the proper medical care they need from rheumatologists.Visit the ACR Simple Tasks website for answers to some common questions: http://simpletasks.org/
08/07/2020 - The NIH has announced research funding to encourage the development of approaches that identify children at high risk for developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), thought to be a severe complication of COVID-19. Up to $20 million will be awarded to successful research proposals over four years. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-funded-project-seeks-identify-children-risk-mis-c
08/04/2020 - NIH launches 2 monoclonal antibody trials for COVID-19 The NIH will launch two clinical trials, one each for inpatients and outpatients, as part of its Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Intervention and Vaccines program to test the safety and efficacy of Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody LY-CoV555 as a potential treatment for patients in the early stages of a COVID-19 infection.
07/24/2020 - Globally, as of 11:06am CEST, 24 July 2020, there have been 15,257,287 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 628,240 deaths, reported to WHO. There are over 4 million confirmed cases in the US. There have been 142,755 deaths in the United States.
07/10/2020 - FDA is alerting consumers and health care professionals that additional hand sanitizer products have been added to the agency’s list of products with confirmed and potential methanol contamination. Consumers should check their hand sanitizer products to determine if a product is on this list. Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products and can be toxic when absorbed through the skin as well as life-threatening when ingested. FDA is aware of reports of adverse events associated with hand sanitizer products, including those contaminated with methanol. FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers, and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. (When reporting such events, please provide the agency with as much information as possible to identify the product).
06/05/2020 - As of June 5, 2020, the United States has 1,842,101 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 107,029 virus-related deaths. Globally, there have been 6,515,796 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 387,298 deaths.
05/29/2020 - From the National Library of Medicine: Infection Control Practices in Children During COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences From Adults https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32464297/
05/26/2020 - CDC offers guidelines regarding the time of isolation following COVID-19 exposure. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM29085
05/21/2020 - CDC offers considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19 when reopening. Find out how to reach your local health officials here: state and local health officials. Each state will determine whether and how to implement considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.
05/14/2020 - FDA's COVID-19 Daily Roundup
05/13/2020 - Survey available to determine the impact COVID-19 has had on the rare disease community. Access the online survey here: https://www.rarediseasesnetwork.org/COVIDsurvey
05/12/2020 - Today NORD launched its COVID-19 Premium & Medical Relief Program to provide vital support to members of the rare disease community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. https://rarediseases.org/in-support-of-rare-disease-patients-impacted-by-covid-19-nord-launches-premium-and-limited-medical-relief-program/
05/11/2020 - The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has compiled a COVID-19 Workforce Virtual Toolkit: "Resources for Healthcare Decision-Makers Responding to COVID-19 Workforce Concerns" https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/Workforce-Virtual-Toolkit
05/07/2020 - FDA revised policy regarding antibody testing.https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-voices/insight-fdas-revised-policy-antibody-tests-prioritizing-access-and-accuracy
05/06/2020 - In preparation for a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the US has ordered $100 million worth of needles and syringes from two companies, in agreements authorized by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
05/04/2020 - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new study to determine the rate of COVID-19 infection among U.S. children.
05/01/2020 - An abstract about rheumatic diseases and COVID-19 can be found here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.41301
04/30/2020 - COVID-19 Briefing with CDC, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and UC Davis Health. The recording of the webinar, slides from the presentation, and additional FAQs can be found at https://chroniccarealliance.org/webinar/
04/29/2020 - In addition to cough and shortness of breath as indications that someone might have the disease caused by coronavirus, the CDC added six more conditions that may come with the disease: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
04/28/2020 - Keep up with CDC updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019 by signing up for email updates, syndicating available content through the CDC Media Library and subscribing to Coronavirus Disease 2019 RSS Feed.
04/15/2020 - The FDA has posted a new “At-a-Glance Summary” that captures the agency’s major activities in the fight against COVID-19. The agency intends to regularly update this resource on efforts related to medical products and equipment, vaccines and therapeutics, food supply and more.
04/03/2020 - ABDA, in partnership with AARDA and the National Coalition of Autoimmune Patient Groups (NCAPG), 40 disease-specific organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of patients, co-hosted a webinar on Coronavirus and Autoimmune Disease on April 3, 2020. The recording and slides can be found here: https://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-disease-covid-19/
- CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
- NIH https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
- FDA https://www.fda.gov/…/mcm…/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
- WHO https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- ACR https://www.rheumatology.org/announcements
- NHC https://www.nationalorganization.org