October Coronavirus # 2 Column
A- Many Gorillas have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 after employees at the Atlanta Zoo found them coughing with nasal discharge and loss of appetite. More than a dozen of gorillas was found suffering from early signs of the infection. The veterinary team is treating the animal in the hope they will not develop complications with monoclonal antibodies. The use of Zoetis vaccine has been authorized to help in their recovery. Tigers, Leopards, Lions as well as orangutans and pandas will receive the vaccine. It is believed that the animal will experience a full recovery. It is believed that the animals may have been infected by an zoo employee. It is not believed that the infected animals will be a threat for other employees either.
B- The FDA is coming under pressure to speed up the development of a pediatric vaccine following the effect of the Delta variant. Children under 12 makes a large part of the population. Vaccines are being studied for this age group in clinical trials. The Pfizer/BioNTech has been authorized by the government to produce a vaccine for children 12-15. The Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson are authorized to work on one for age 18 and up.
C- In the state of Mississippi, the Delta variant is still claiming victims among pregnant women and children. Some of the babies ate born prematurely and eight pregnant women have died prematurely of COVID-19 complications last month. The women were unvaccinated and some of the babies were born premature and are still alive. The vaccine remains successful in these categories. The CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have approved the vaccine for pregnant women. We observed the 5th child under 1 year old to die with complications related to COVID-19. SO far 18 children have been hospitalized in the state of Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center on the pediatric floor. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 75,000 cases have been reported in children younger than 17. Only 38% of the population is fully vaccinated while at least 53.4 have been vaccinated elsewhere in the USA. Only 24% of the population of residents aged 12-15 have been vaccinated.
D- In Los Angeles, the school district is expected to pass a Vaccine mandate requiring all students over the age of 12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attend classes. By the end of October, it will be decided. Medical exclusions will be permitted. The student must come with an adult to be vaccinated, s a written consent may be obtained. All other employees in the school will have to go regular testing and will be also required to be vaccinated. It looks like more than 58% of the students in LA have already received their shots prepared by Pfizer. The New-York school system may follow soon.
E- Emergency room emergency visits and hospitalizations has increased in children below the age of 17. Although it was falsely reported in the NY Times those hundreds of thousands (900,000) children were hospitalized. The numbers were corrected to 63,000 children. Vaccinations were found to be a factor again… being 3 times higher in states where the vaccination rate is the lower but also a higher hospitalization rate reaching as well 3.4 time compared to states with s higher vaccinations rate. It was reported that the number of hospitalizations for unvaccinated adolescents was 10 times the number for vaccinated adolescents during that time. The Delta variant was sending more children and teenagers to the ER. The number of children may have increased but there is no increase in the disease severity itself. It becomes clear that the level of vaccination in the community, protects our children.
F- To date, there have been near 225 million cases of COVID-19 in the world and more than 4.7 million deaths. In the United States, there are more than 40.95 million cases of COVID-19 and 660,000 deaths.
G- A new HEPA filter is on the market to clean th Coronavirus particles in the air. It was reported in the Nature Journal that it may help reduce the risk of hospital acquired SARS-CoV-2.
H- Merck is working on an antiviral COVID-19 pill “molnupiravir” as a new treatment. It is expected that authorization from the FDA will be given soon. The capsule is made by MERCK and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and will be treating moderate COVID-19 cases. Preliminary data has shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization by 50% as compared to 14% by another placebo.
I- Higher rate of vaccination in the USA: Puerto Rico with 64% of its population vaccinated. Vermont and Massachusetts with 79%, Hawaii and Connecticut 78%. Smaller populations in Puerto Rico and Vermont brings those numbers.
J- In trying to bring the pandemic under control, almost one on seven Americas older than 65 have already received a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it possible to bring this pandemic under control prior to the winter coming? The FDA recommended this booster shot for people at risks. 10.7 million Americans have received the dose. Recently Colin Powell retired five-star general died of COVID complications in spite of being fully vaccinated and scheduled to receive the booster. He was also suffering from Multiple Myeloma a cancer known to depress the immune system.
Maxime Coles MD