January 2022 COVID-19 Column
A- Many women have experienced abnormal bleeding following their vaccines shots and many showed restrictions in receiving the booster dose. Some even feared infertility. Researchers are trying to find an explanation.
B- There is a need to take the Omicron surge seriously although the vaccines appear to provide strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness. Most studies have added to evidences that the Omicron strain is more contagious than any other strains of the past. It was proven in South Africa that when this strain enters a community, the cases increase in a vertical line and rapidly. In Great Britain, new cases hit records numbers and, in the USA, it started to spread in all the corners. One reason why it seems to spread so fast is because it attacks the vaccinated population in a mild form but Omicron remain uncertain but one thing is sure that it spreads rapidly making it impossible to contain. Be sure to get your vaccines and the boosters. There may be good news when the Omicron variant is found also so infectious. In South Africa, the variant is almost exclusively found and by this way may completely eliminate the Delta variant. More it may be very contagious but it is not bringing to the hospital patients for admission. This may be a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel because soon, most Delta cases will disappear from the surface of the earth. This may announce the end of the pandemic??? Major forthcoming cases are expected for the end of the year after Thanksgiving and Christmas travelling. No Omicron related death have been reported. Omicron is now widespread in more than 80 countries and soon will reach the world. New York and New Jersey are detecting the more cases.
C- Unvaccinated adults are at greater risks than they were two weeks ago and 15% of American adults remain unvaccinated. More in the world of the unvaccinated are children although serious COVID-19 among them remains rare. The unvaccinated adults will be a target for the Omicron virus which will lead in spikes in Covid hospitalizations and deaths. We hope that the unvaccinated adults will find an urgency in getting vaccinated.
D- There are encouraging reports on Omicron that it does not appear to cause more severe disease compared to the Delta strain or other previously seen. It even seems that it replicates itself less efficiently than other strains as reported by a Hong Kong team which may make it less likely to cause acute symptoms. It simply seems that Omicron appears to be less severe. If the data continue to be true, it only means that the new Omicron variant presents only a small risk of serious disease to most of vaccinated people. Elderly vaccinated people with other co-morbidities and undergoing cancer treatment or who have received organ transplants remain at risk. We need to get ready anyway for the Omicron surge and still take it seriously.
E- Get your booster shots. Anybody older than 16 who has already received their second dose of vaccine at least 6 months ago should be a candidate. As seen, the booster appears to make a difference. This will reduce your chances in getting COVID-19.
F- The Marine Corps has dismissed 103 active- duty service members who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They are all going to receive honorable discharges papers and retained their post-military benefits. 1007 exemptions were approved and 3144 requests for religious beliefs are pending. Army and Navy have 98% of their service members vaccinated while the Navy has 97.5% and the Marine Corps 95%. The same request are seen in the Army active duty soldiers and 6200 are expecting temporary exemptions for religious reasons. For other refusing to take the vaccine Involuntary separation proceedings will follow. For the National Guards and the Reserve, many governors are looking for exemptions for their troops especially the Governor from Texas who stated that he would not impose a vaccine mandate on the National Guards. Five other governors in Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, Alaska and Wyoming will follow certainly in defusing the imposed mandate. A deadline for vaccination in the National Guards is June 30, 2022.
G- The CDC changed their policy on COVID-19 and now students who have been exposed to the coronavirus are no longer obligated to stay home and can attend school as long they continue to test negative. This is the new “test to-stay” protocol to reduce the number of kids expected to stay home. The test to stay was evaluated and found to be a good strategy to implement regular testing rather than quarantine. If the contacts remain negative at least twice in the 7 days period, they can continue in-person-learning but if they remain positive, the require isolation.
H- Recently, in the world of sports, the NFL changed also their policy because of the increase in number of players tested positive for coviD-19. Mandatory mask-wearing in all-team facilities is back in force as well as social distancing, in place like cafeteria and even a limit in the numbers of people present. Daily testing is still on but the team will facilitate the vaccination program for the one who remain positive. Booster shots will be also encouraged. Playoffs are scheduled to begin soon in a month and COVID is really hitting the league.
I- The Chicago Bulls has to postpone 2 games because of COVID-19 after it was discovered that 10 of their players and other members of the organization tested positive for the virus. These games are the first NBA games postponed this season. The game against The Detroit Pistons will be re-scheduled. Other members in the league have entered health and safety protocols. More than 51are accounted. There are an increase number of cases around the league. 87% of cases have been vaccinated.
J- The Supreme Court announced that the State of New York can continue to enforce the COVID-19 mandate for healthcare workers and does not have to offer any exemptions. Healthcare’s workers have been arguing that the states infringe on their rights but the court turned them down (Judges Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alto). Thousand of healthcare workers have lost their jobs for not getting vaccinated. Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in the state of New York fired 1400 employees for not complying to the rules. The same already has happened in Maine.
K- Fake vaccines cards seized at the US – Canada border. More than 300 false cards as well as COVID-19 tests. It was a women apprehended with her sister passport and trying to enter in the USA.
L- Dr Anthony Fauci is now trying to definite vaccination against COVID-19 as a mandatory 3 doses including the booster dose. The FDA authorizes Antibody drugs for people with compromised immune systems. People fighting cancer or people who have received an organ transplant and have received immunosuppressing drugs like in rheumatoid arthritis. 2-3% of people in the USA have a condition require them to take drugs like Evusheld. It is not a substitute for the vaccination. Vaccines are proven to be the best defense against COVID-19. People on the drug EVUSHELD had a 77% lower risk of infection. Evusheld is designed to keep adults and children older than 12 with compromised immune systems from catching the virus. This drug is manufactured by Astra-Zeneca and is intended to help people who received organ transplants or have cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. It can also benefit people who suffer from allergic reactions to the vaccines.
M- 71.4 % of the population has already received one shot of the vaccines while 60.4 % are fully vaccinated and 24.4 % have received a booster shot. But 99.9 % of the seniors have gotten at least one dose and 86.9 % have been fully vaccinated and 48.6 % have gotten a booster.
N- Worldwide there are more than 274 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 5.35 million deaths while in the United States there are more than 50.62 million cases and more than 805.300 deaths as reported by John Hopkins University. They lead the world in number of cases.
O- Radio City Rockettes cancelled the four performances scheduled as a “Christmas Spectacular” because of the spread of the virus, Omicron strain. Several other shows have also closed including Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, Mr. Doubtfire etc
Maxime J-M Coles MD
Boca Raton FL