U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Employee Resources
  2. My Health
  3. Health and Safety
  4. Respiratory Virus Workforce Information

Respiratory Virus Workforce Information

Respiratory Virus Workforce Information

The Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration ended on May 11, 2023. DHS will continue all efforts to protect the safety and health of the workforce so you can continue our mission to protect the nation. While the PHE has ended, people and animals are still getting sick from COVID-19, and the virus remains a leading cause of death in people within the United States.

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. In addition to the virus that causes COVID-19, there are many other types of respiratory viruses, including flu (influenza) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Each year, respiratory viruses are responsible for millions of illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. The good news is there are actions you can take to help protect yourself and others from health risks caused by respiratory viruses.

COVID-19 remains an important public health threat, but it is no longer the emergency that it once was. The health impacts of COVID-19 increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, including influenza and RSV. Respiratory viruses are certainly not all the same. Some, like SARS-CoV-2, spread more through respiratory particles in the air, while others, like RSV and adenovirus, are thought to spread via surface transmission. Early in the pandemic COVID-19 was nearly the only respiratory virus causing illness, however, now it is one of many, including influenza, RSV, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, enteroviruses, human metapneumovirus, parainfluenza virus, and other common human coronaviruses. 

CDC recommends that all people use core prevention strategies. These are important steps you can take to protect yourself and others:

  • COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States can reduce your chances of getting infected to some degree, but its main strength is preventing severe illness and death. More and more evidence suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine can also lower your chances of developing Long COVID or post-COVID conditions. As with other vaccine-preventable diseases, you are best protected from respiratory viruses when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations. For most people that means getting a current flu and COVID-19 vaccine.

As of now, there are no recommended COVID-19 vaccinations for animals.

Find resources to keep you and your family safe from COVID-19. These resources include:


Everyday preventive measures that reduce the spread of germs also help reduce the risk of respiratory infections like COVID-19, flu, and RSV:

  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from respiratory infections.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their belongings.
  • Avoid direct contact and handling of domesticated (companion), farm, and wild animals.
  • If you have symptoms of respiratory infection, stay home and practice cough etiquette. Cover your coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, or cough and sneeze into your elbow. If you are unsure about the health condition or risk status of those around you, the most protective option is choosing to use additional prevention strategies, like masking, physical distancing, and testing.

If you have specific questions regarding your personal health conditions and which vaccines are right for you, speak with your personal healthcare provider for more guidance.

Last Updated: 03/25/2024
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content