Basic Covid Facts

  1. We are still in the COVID-19 Pandemic. 1 2 In the United States alone, thousands die and tens of thousands are hospitalized per week from COVID, 3 and there are hundreds of thousands to millions of new COVID cases per day. 4 5
  2. Masks are very effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. 6 7 8
    Tight-fitting masks such as N95s and KN95s are much more effective than cloth and surgical masks. 9 Universal masking with high quality masks would be much better than one-way masking. 10
  3. Long COVID develops in 10% to 30% or more of people who get COVID, even in mild cases and even among those who are vaccinated. It consists of often severe symptoms lasting at least 3 months or indefinitely longer. 11 Paxlovid may reduce the risk of Long COVID. 12 Some people infected years ago still struggle with Long COVID which severely impacts every aspect of their lives; you can read about some of their experiences at #LongCovid.
  4. Immunocompromised, disabled, and elderly people are among those substantially more likely to get very sick or die from COVID. 13 14 These at-risk people disproportionately experience the worst effects of COVID and find themselves unable to safely do necessary activities like going to the doctor and grocery store without the existance of widespread masking and improved ventilation. Evusheld no longer works against the latest variants so there is now no good COVID protection for those most at risk. 13
  5. COVID can cause long-term damage to the immune system after infection, similar to Hepatitis C or HIV, 15 making you more likely to get sick from COVID again or other diseases. 16 Omicron does not provide significant immunity against further COVID infections. 17 The idea that getting sick strengthens your immune system is false. 18 Repeat COVID infections are common, even among those vaccinated, and likely put you at greater risk of severe disease and Long COVID. 19
  6. While our current vaccines are somewhat effective in lowering the risk of severe disease and death, they do not significantly prevent infection from the latest variants. 20 Vaccines do not prevent you from infecting others with COVID. 21 In the United States, a majority of people who die are vaccinated. 22 In part because a majority of people are vaccinated but there are still hundreds of deaths a day.
  7. Cleaning indoor air and improved air ventilation can reduce the spread of COVID in indoor spaces. 23 HEPA filters can continuously remove COVID from the air. 24
  8. Risk of heart disease substantially increases after COVID infection. 25 It can also cause issues with the lungs, brain, kidneys, and many other organs. 26
  9. COVID is airborne, 27 meaning it spreads not just from coughing and sneezing, but through the air where it can spread over long distances. COVID continues to mutate and the current dominant variant, Kraken or XBB.1.5, is extremely contagious. 28 Omicron is not milder than previous COVID variants. 29
  10. Rapid tests can struggle to detect the latest variants 30 and multiple tests are needed to confirm whether you have COVID. When infected you may be infectious for at least 10 days 31 and should isolate that long and until you have no symptoms and test negative twice. 32
  1. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Coronavirus disease (covid-19) pandemic. World Health Organization.
  2. Bartels, M. (2024, February 5). Rampant covid poses new challenges in the fifth year of the pandemic. Scientific American.
  3. “CDC Covid Data Tracker.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  4. Pandemic mitigation collaborative – COVID-19 forecasting model. (n.d.).
  5. COVID-19: Wastewater Surveillance. CDC Covid Data tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. “Largest Study of Its Kind Finds Face Masks Reduce COVID-19.” UC Berkeley Public Health, 8 Sept. 2021,
  7. Boutzoukas, Angelique E., et al. “School Masking Policies and Secondary SARS-COV-2 Transmission.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 May 2022,
  8. “Masks Are Effective but Here’s How a Study from a Respected Group Was Misinterpreted to Say They Weren’t.” ABC News, ABC News Network,
  9. Duncan, Scott et al. “The protective performance of reusable cloth face masks, disposable procedure masks, KN95 masks and N95 respirators: Filtration and total inward leakage.” PloS one vol. 16,10 e0258191. 6 Oct. 2021, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0258191
  10. An Upper Bound on One-to-One Exposure to Infectious Human … – PNAS.
  11. Davis, Hannah E., et al. “Long Covid: Major Findings, Mechanisms and Recommendations.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 13 Jan. 2023,
  12. Chavez, Janelle. “Vaccination, Paxlovid Decrease Risk of Long Covid, Studies Show.” CNN, Cable News Network, 23 Mar. 2023,
  13. “People Who Are Immunocompromised.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  14. “Covid-19 Risks and Information for Older Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Feb. 2023,
  15. “SARS-COV-2 Infection Weakens Immune-Cell Response to Vaccination.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
  16. Ewing, Andrew. “Covid-19 and Immune Dysregulation, a Summary and Resource.” WHN, 15 Mar. 2023,
  17. Wang, J., Lan, T., Wei, Y. et al. Omicron variant: a booster depending on infection histories. Sig Transduct Target Ther 8, 6 (2023).
  18. Farah, Troy. “‘Immunity Debt’ Is Not a Thing.” Salon,, 3 Dec. 2022,
  19. Schmidt, Charles. “Do Repeat COVID Infections Increase the Risk of Severe Disease or Long Covid?” Scientific American, Scientific American, 15 Feb. 2023,
  20. (2023) Bivalent Covid-19 Vaccines. N Engl J Med 388:12, 1151-1152.
  21. “Monitoring COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  22. “Why Do Vaccinated People Represent Most Covid-19 Deaths Right Now?” KFF, 30 Nov. 2022,
  23. Lewis, Tanya. “We Need to Improve Indoor Air Quality: Here’s How and Why.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 8 June 2022,
  24. Ueki H, Ujie M, Komori Y, Kato T, Imai M, Kawaoka Y. Effectiveness of HEPA Filters at Removing Infectious SARS-CoV-2 from the Air. mSphere. 2022 Aug 31;7(4):e0008622. doi: 10.1128/msphere.00086-22. Epub 2022 Aug 10. PMID: 35947419; PMCID: PMC9429918.
  25. Han, L., Zhao, S., Li, S. et al. Excess cardiovascular mortality across multiple COVID-19 waves in the United States from March 2020 to March 2022. Nat Cardiovasc Res 2, 322–333 (2023).
  26. “Covid-19: Long-Term Effects.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 28 June 2022,
  27. “Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19).” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency,
  28. Weintraub, Karen. “People Who Haven’t Had Covid Will Likely Catch XBB.1.5 – and Many Will Get Reinfected, Experts Say.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 Feb. 2023,
  29. Sumner MW, Xie J, Zemek R, et al. Comparison of Symptoms Associated With SARS-CoV-2 Variants Among Children in Canada. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(3):e232328. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.2328
  30. Delgado, Carla. “Can Rapid Covid Tests Pick up Omicron?” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 29 Nov. 2022,
  31. Adam, David. “How Long Is Covid Infectious? What Scientists Know so Far.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 26 July 2022,
  32. “What to Do If You Have COVID.” People’s CDC, 4 Feb. 2023,