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COVID-19 is a disease whose name derives from ā€œcoronavirus disease 2019.ā€ It is caused by an infection from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 is often referred to more simply as COVID.

COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system. It has a 0.66% fatality rate, with those at an increased age, with a high body mass index, or with a history of lung or heart diseases being at a higher risk. In 80% of cases, it produces only mild symptoms.

However, in severe cases, it can cause critical illness, potentially leading to respiratory failure, septic shock, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

A longer-term, but less understood, condition is called ā€œlong COVID,ā€ which can result in post-infection conditions, including fatigue, heart problems, neurological concerns, and digestive issues.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is highly infectious, which led to a pandemic that was officially declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. While the end of the pandemic was not officially announced by the WHO, many leading experts pinpointed its conclusion as occurring in the late spring or early summer of 2022.

COVID-19 had a profound impact on clinical laboratories, with a huge demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing occurring throughout the world, stimulated by government subsidies.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lockdowns, masking, social distancing, and several other infection prevention measures to attempt to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2. It also disrupted social, business, and educational activities throughout the world.

Several vaccines were developed in late 2020 and early 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While initially effective, such vaccination shows waning effectiveness over time, requiring booster shots. The vaccines were developed quicklyā€”in less than a yearā€”and are notable for being the first time that mRNA vaccine technology was ever authorized and approved for general use by healthcare regulators.

While the term ā€œCOVID-19ā€ technically refers to the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the term is often misused to describe the virus. ā€œCOVID-19 testingā€, for example, was often used to describe what would correctly have been referred to as SARS-CoV-2 testing, as the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 infection does not always cause COVID-19. ā€œAsymptomatic COVID-19ā€ is another misuse of the term, as COVID-19 is a disease that will produce some form of symptoms.

The nuances of the difference between SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 have generally been lost on the public, the media, and government officials, resulting in the two terms being used interchangeably.

Whistleblowers Disclose Issues in Californiaā€™s COVID Lab

SUMMARY: Whistleblowers at the State of Californiaā€™s brand-new COVID-19 Valencia Branch Laboratory are telling reporters about staff sleeping on the job, unlicensed staff handling specimens, and other significant issues. Given the reports of several news outlets, one relevant ques…

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Whatā€™s Ahead for Labs? Itā€™ll Be Quite Different

CEO SUMMARY: In many ways, the nationā€™s clinical laboratoriesĀ performed magnificently in response to the SARS-CoV-2Ā outbreak last winter. But that magnificent performance has takenĀ its toll on the infrastructure and personnel within these labs. TheĀ Dark Report…

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SARS-CoV-2 Variant Sequencing Creates New Opportunities for Labs

This is an excerpt of a 2,964-word article in the February 8, 2021 issue of Ā THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group. CEO SUMMARY: Variants of the COVID-19 virus are appearing across the world. Recent data show the same variants wil…

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Variant Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 Creates Opportunities for Labs

CEO SUMMARY: Variants of the COVID-19 virus are appearing across the world. Recent data show the same variants will infect peopleĀ in several different countries. Here in the United States, interestĀ is growing in having clinical laboratories sequence specimens fromĀ patients who test pos…

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Top 10 2020 Lab Stories Are about More than Just COVID-19

This is an excerpt of a 3,689-word article in the December 28, 2020 issue of Ā THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group. CEO SUMMARY: There are several surprises in The Dark R…

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Medicare COVID Test Coding May Become a ā€˜Logistical Nightmareā€™

STARTING JAN. 1, 2021, clinical laboratories performing COVID-19 tests using high-throughput systems for Medicare patients must comply with a complex new coding rule when submitting claims for these tests.Ā  The federal Centers for Med…

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CMS Publishes Proposed 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

MEDICARE’S PROPOSED PHYSICIAN FEE SCHEDULE (PFS) rule wasĀ announced on Aug. 4, 2020. TheĀ rule had one positive development forĀ clinical laboratories and hospital laboratoryĀ outreach programs and a negativeĀ development for anatomic pathologists. Clinical laboratories and hospital outreachĀ lab…

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