The 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel virus, originated in Wuhan, China before rapidly spreading around the world.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease, with a high rate of transmissibility. Symptoms of infection include fever, joint and muscle aches, respiratory distress, loss of the sense of taste, cognitive fog, fatigue, sore throat, and more. Senior citizens are most at risk of dying from the disease, though secondary pre-existing conditions like obesity can make some patients more susceptible to danger. In severe cases, patients undergo respiratory distress and require intubation on ventilators. 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, governments have initiated several policies to prevent spread. Many countries have severely restricted flights or entry into their state, with some like Israel adopting color systems to rank the risk posed by each destination. Contact tracing has become the norm, with citizens being obligated to quarantine after they have come into contact with an infected person. Social distancing and mask mandates have also become popular in many countries to prevent spread of infection. Early in the pandemic, lockdowns were used to prevent interaction between the public, in a severe attempt to halt transmission. Perhaps most controversial were the introduction of coronavirus passports, which would allow vaccinated citizens to move freely with a new form of ID. Critics assert that coronavirus passports represent an extreme violation of liberties.

There is an ongoing debate as to the origin of the coronavirus. Initially, it was accepted that the coronavirus originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, within bats sold as food. However, it has been suggested that the virus may have originated from a virus research lab in Wuhan.

Several pharmaceutical companies have developed innovative mRNA vaccines to counter the coronavirus. Pfizer, Biontech, Astrazeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm and others have produced vaccines, however there is ongoing debate about their efficacy against new strains of the virus. Other pharmaceutical companies have developed treatments and drugs to alleviate and combat coronavirus symptoms.

The coronavirus is prone to mutations, and has already produced several well known variants, including the Delta and Lambda strains. The pandemic and virus may also colloquially be known as corona and COVID.

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US FDA clears Pfizer's COVID booster shot for young children

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  Pregnant woman (illustrative)

93% of pregnant women hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated

A study looked at women hospitalized with the virus in 2021, and found that most were unvaccinated. The median age of symptomatic pregnant women was 28.

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Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in thi

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The estimated vaccine effectiveness of the third dose against PCR-confirmed infection stood at 85.6% compared to the two doses, Sheba researchers found.

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The decision to end COVID-19 testing at the airport was made in light of the decreased spread of infection and decreased morbidity.

Can China preserve both its economy and its zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy?

The costs of prioritizing the pandemic over all else are creating a dilemma for President Xi Jinping as he prepares to assume a third term later this year.

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