CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/23/2021

FROM JAMA: WINTER PROSPECTS:

Looking Ahead: Winter’s Twindemic

”…Despite vaccines and advances in therapeutics, the US is entering what is potentially the most dangerous phase of the pandemic to date. The coming weeks may bring a triple respiratory virus threat: Delta, Omicron, and seasonal influenza. In addition to COVID-19, and unlike last year when influenza activity was uncharacteristically low, this winter could bring a significant influenza season. Outbreaks of influenza A(H3N2) have already been reported on several college campuses. Thus far national numbers of influenza cases are still low, although CDC surveillance indicates more than 2000 respiratory samples have already tested positive for influenza, more than the entire 2020-2021 season.

”To mitigate the effects, especially strain on health care resources, robust efforts are needed to increase vaccination against both influenza and COVID-19, including booster doses. For unvaccinated individuals, the winter months will likely be a time of increased risk for severe illness and death. For vaccinated persons and especially for those who have been boosted, infections are more likely to be mild and not require medical attention.”

FROM THE NYT TODAY:

Good morning. Ready to give up on Covid? Spare a moment to think about older people.

”…Covid in recent months has continued to present a meaningful amount of risk to older people, despite vaccination. It’s too soon to know whether Omicron will change the situation, but the safest assumption — absent more data — is that Covid will remain dangerous for the elderly….The risks here for older people are frightening: A rate of 0.45 percent, for instance, translates into roughly a 1 in 220 chance of death for a vaccinated 75-year-old woman who contracts Covid. If the risks remain near these levels with Omicron, they could lead to tens of thousands of U.S. deaths, and many more hospitalizations.

F.D.A. Clears Pfizer’s Covid Pill for High-Risk Patients 12 and Older

”…The drug, developed by Pfizer and known as Paxlovid, is authorized for Covid patients age 12 and over who are vulnerable to becoming severely ill because they are older or have medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes. Tens of millions of Americans — including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people — will be eligible if they get infected with the virus. The treatment could be available within a few days….Pfizer’s laboratory studies indicate that its pills are likely to work against the Omicron variant, which has rapidly become the dominant form of new cases in the United States.

South Africa’s huge omicron wave appears to be subsiding just as quickly as it grew

(J. Harris: A quick and encouraging read)

Real-world data from U.K. suggests omicron is less likely than delta to send people to the hospital

LONDON — ”Researchers looking at real-world coronavirus cases in Britain reported Wednesday that the omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be less severe than the once-dominant delta strain….Early evidence from Scotland and England suggests that omicron is sending fewer people to the hospital…That surveillance tracks well with the latest observations from South Africa, where public health officials have reported that the omicron variant is tending to result in milder illness. Scientists had not been sure whether that finding would hold elsewhere….“This is a qualified good-news story,” said Jim McMenamin, national covid-19 incident director at Public Health Scotland and one of the co-authors of the Scottish study….Experts remain worried that a sudden, massive surge of a highly infectious but less virulent omicron variant could still flood hospitals with very sick patients….New daily coronavirus cases recorded in Britain exceeded 100,000 on Tuesday for the first time in the pandemic. But the United Kingdom is also furiously giving people their third dose or booster jab — administering almost a million shots on Tuesday.”

F.D.A. clears Pfizer’s Covid pills for high-risk patients 12 and older.

Omicron Update: Dec 22

(J. Harris: For readers who enjoy the numerical and statistical approaches to problem-solving, this publication will prove useful. It 

was sent to me by Chris Martin, who coordinates health, safety, and a lot of other things at TSTC. If you enjoy it, you can easily

subscribe to it. This issue contains possible explanations for the Omicron course in S. Africa. It also analyzes some pertinent stats from 

The University of Texas in regards to the possible clinical courses of the US Oxicron infestation.)

FROM BECKER:

1. US may trim isolation period for asymptomatic healthcare workers, Fauci says

”…In an effort to prevent further strain on the healthcare system, U.S. health officials may soon trim the 10-day isolation period recommended by the CDC for asymptomatic healthcare workers with COVID-19….Although Dr. Fauci didn’t specify by how many days the isolation period might be reduced in his comments to MSNBC, some health experts have suggested a five-day isolation period for breakthrough cases….”One thing we could do today [is to tell patients to] use those home tests when [they] have a breakthrough…[then] When you’re negative and you feel good, go back to your life.”

2. States ranked by booster rates: Dec. 22

Can you guess where Texas is? 

At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits: Where to Buy and What You Should Know

LASTLY:

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