What is new with COVID-19 Pandemic?

At our surprise the FDA authorized a non-prescription at-home COVID-19 test kit, earlier this week allowing users to “swab” themselves and collect the specimen to direct it to a lab for processing. The” Test home collecting kit”, a product of LabCorp can be purchased on line or over the counter. Previous kits have been available through prescription. We are expecting the FDA or the laboratory to provide data on the kit. and its accuracy.

There are many home collection kits already available on prescription with guidance to collect specimen with an online questionnaire to answer but now this step has been eliminated. Anyone older than 18 years old can purchase a kid and register it to the labCorp’s website. Specimen are taken using a nasal swab and delivered to the facility for testing. If the test is negative, the results are reported by mail but if the test is positive or invalid the company healthcare provider will communicate the results on the phone. This test allows one to determine their COVID-19 status in order to initiate a quarantine or help a physician to take the decision. This is a new way to minimize contact with an infected person and avoid the spread of the virus. The kit is free under most healthcare policies and if not, these insurances companies can take an eligibility survey to be qualified for the federal to cover the cost. Such kit is valued at around 120 dollars.

The weekend of Thanksgiving has seen an increase in cases all over the country while already most of the states were showing a surge of cases. The month of November 2020 may have become the deadlier month since the beginning of the pandemic. The recent weeks have seen an average of 200,000 new cases of COVID-18 and among them 104,000 were hospitalized although between 2500 and 3000 people have died daily recently A state like Alabama has seen around 14,000 news cases a week. Florida spiked to 65,000 new cases and even Georgia has seen its number raise to 30,000 a week. One will be quick to conclude that cases coincide with a surge for the post-Thanksgiving activities. The hospital admission rates have increased to a point that many states authorities have already opened up field hospitals while governors are even imposing a straight mask mandate.

Yesterday (12-11-2020), the FDA has approved the emergent use of the new vaccine and soon the distribution and the actual vaccination are expected to reach the more exposed and the more at risk followed by others. Indeed, the new vaccine will prevent us from getting sick while a partial immunity is expected once 80% of the population has seen the benefit. Anyone older than 16 is a candidate to receive a dose. The wearing of masks and social distancing will continue in the meantime because the vaccinated person still can be a spreader of the virus. We may expect the end of this pandemic in the next 8 months. Worldly, on 69 million of infected cases, 1.5 million have died while 45 million people have recovered. In the USA, around 15 million were infected and 290,000. lost their life. In Haiti, 9354 infected cases were discovered and 233 persons lost their life. This pandemic reign will not last forever. The new vaccine will prevail.

Maxime Coles MD.


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