CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 07/28/2021
NYT TRACKER FOR 28 JULY
1. US HOSPITALIZATIONS The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations is beginning to rise in most US states, following increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant. Nationally, hospitalization rates remain low overall, nowhere near the previous pandemic peaks. But the increases in hospitalizations are high and rising in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates, including Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, and Missouri. Some Florida hospitals are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic, and the pace of this surge is accelerating rapidly. One hospital in Missouri said its increase in patients occurred nearly 5 times as fast as last fall’s surge. An estimated 97% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Patients also are skewing younger, with 69% under the age of 65, according to CDC data as of July 17. Some hospitals are scrambling to find space for intensive care patients, trying to address personnel shortages, and attempting to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment such as ventilators.
2. According to new projections released last week by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub—a consortium of researchers working with the US CDC to track the pandemic—the current US surge will continue throughout the summer and into the fall. In the most likely of 4 scenarios, there would be around 60,000 new cases and about 850 deaths per day, with 70% of eligible Americans vaccinated. Currently, the US is averaging around 42,000 new cases per day and about 250 deaths per day. Nationwide, 57.5% of eligible people are fully vaccinated. The researchers encouraged state and local leaders to take note of the projections, urging them to reimplement mask mandates and physical distancing requirements that could help lessen the surge’s impact.
In Harris County (HOUSTON), the number of active coronavirus cases has nearly tripled — from 3,076 to 8,431 — since the beginning of July, as the hypercontagious delta variant spreads rapidly among young, and primarily unvaccinated, Texans.
“Our vulnerability isn’t small, even among those eligible for vaccines. About 34 percent of Americans over the age of 12 and about 44 percent of the entire U.S. population haven’t been vaccinated at all. Some of those may have had Covid, so they have some level of protection, but that is not as good as being fully vaccinated, especially against Delta…Already, we are seeing rises in hospitalizations and deaths, almost entirely among the unvaccinated, and the Delta surge has just begun. Based on what we’ve seen elsewhere, we can expect it to rapidly accelerate and wash over the country fairly quickly…A staggering 40 percent of workers at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities remain unvaccinated. This is terrible, considering that the elderly, even if vaccinated, would be expected to have more breakthrough infections…Almost 90 percent of Americans 65 or older have received a vaccine…Meanwhile, schools will open in the coming weeks, and yet so much remains unclear and confusing about protecting younger children until they can get vaccinated. Even if they seem to be largely spared from severe outcomes of Covid-19, they are not invulnerable. Plus, they can bring the infection home…A sensible school policy would be to mandate masks for all elementary school children, at least until a vaccine becomes available to them, and tie it to local infection and vaccination rates for those 12 and over. Parents who can vaccinate their kids are less at the mercy of everyone else’s choices, making mandates less crucial…”
“…According to the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Health, there are six times as many Gamma variant as Delta…The Gamma variant was first identified in Brazil, and it has been shown in numerous studies — just like the other variants — to be less susceptible to either natural or vaccine-induced immunity…does this change anything for me? Not really. COVID still is a terrible disease that can kill you. The vaccines we have are incredibly safe and incredibly effective, even against the variants, and the benefits of getting vaccinated far, far outweigh any possible risks from them. The overwhelming majority of the people [being seen]… in the ICU with COVID are unvaccinated. And now, with COVID vaccines widely and freely available, any and every death from COVID is even more senseless than before. Bottom line: we will never be free — truly free — from this virus unless a great majority of us are fully vaccinated.…;]
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