April COVID-19 Column.
A- A new strain combination between the Delta and the Omicron is seen around the world; Presently, ¼ of the New COVID-19 cases are Omicron BA.2 Subvariant according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The BA.2 is dominating the number of infections in many nations, especially in Europe. Many COVID restrictions have been lifted. In anyway COVID-19 cases are now declining.
B- China just reported that its COVID-19 cases has suddenly increased to 1800, which mean that cases have more than tripled.
C- Omicron increased the COVID hospitalization rate among children younger than four (4). Infants under the age of 6 months had the highest rate of hospitalization. Vaccination of the caregivers, the pregnant women and other family members has played an important role in the prevention of COVID-19. Infants less than 6 months have always been hospitalized at a higher rate than other children below four (4) during the pandemic.
D- We are watching the latest COVID-19 spike in Europe and we should be expecting to see soon a new strain in the United States: BA2 subvariant Omicron. This variant is already seen in Italy, UK, Germany and will become inevitable soon among us. In the Northeast and the West of the USA, some cases have been identified.
E- mRNA vaccines? Known as mRNA shots are different from traditional vaccines. After the last two years, indeed COVID-19 has defined our lives, and we need to get ready for this new strain. Vaccines, Booster shots and COVID-19 treatments have helped. With this new stain coming, we will have to wait if more hospitalizations are observed. With almost 65% of the population vaccinated, we are certainly in a better position than at the beginning of the pandemic. This virus is deceptive and we need to remain on our guards.
F- In the world recently, in China workers have been quarantined in hospital they were building ang Hong Kong is running low on coffins because of the new COVID-19 wave.
G- South Africa has a better developed health systems in Africa and surely it is believed that the number of people who died from COVID-19 were best recorded. In Zambia, during all the pandemic, only COVID-19 deaths were recorded on a population of 18 million. The morgue was inspected and 87% of dead bodies were found infected with COVID. Between one million to two million may have been able to be recorded in this African Model of nation, probably infected similarly to South Africa. They have not seen massive burial in Zambia. Surveillance is weak in any African Country other than South Africa. The same will be for other country in Africa. Gambians, Ethiopians should have the same rate than South Africans but the death rate seems to not being well reported.
H- Indigenous patients who have suffered from COVID-19 seem to have the highest rate of death. American Indians and Alaska Native population who suffered from COVID-19 have experienced higher death rate than Black or White population. This was published in the JAMA Network Open. They were found to have 1.6 time more often contacted the disease with fewer complications and were 3.3 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.2 more likely to die from COVID-19 than their non-Hispanic White population.
Pfizer Vaccine was found to be potentially linked to hearing loss. The WHO is investigating some cases associated to COVID-18 vaccinations. Of the 11 billion of doses given, 164 cases were reported. 367 had tinnitus as well with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
By Maxime Coles MD