As the holidays are soon to arrive, our Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Glenn Hamilton has compiled a few important pieces of COVID-19 information from the CDC. Their website is listed below if you would like to expand your reading. We wish you all a safe holiday season!
1. In the US, the first wave never ended, but a second wave is considered to have begun in places that recovered. This is due to the change in weather, a change in the virus, and continued politicization of basic truths in preventing the spread of virus.
2. A few months back, a mutated more infective, but slightly less virulent virus was found to dominate the cases in Houston, TX. This variant has continued to be the predominant cause of new cases.
3. Texas has more cases than any state, but North Dakota has more cases per capita. It is wise to track your local county case load. Weather.com offers easy access to these numbers, scroll down from the home page. County Health Departments are another source. The recent changes are dramatic.
In my home county of Montgomery, four to six weeks ago we reached a low of 35 cases a day. Yesterday and for the last week, there were over 300 new cases daily! My family feels we’re in an ever-shrinking circle of safety. Very stressful, and yet as the British say, we ‘stay calm and carry on.’ I’ve found limiting my news intake to a minimum has been quite helpful…too much repetition…but that’s just me.
4. We reached 100,000 deaths in the US in June. 200,000 by September, and we’ll exceed 250,000 by the end of 2020. All these numbers are under-estimated. For example, there are at least 65,000 recorded deaths from other causes due to fear of seeking healthcare. These are stunning numbers. We can’t become immune to these losses.
5. Immunization remains a bright light. The vaccine landscape is very complex with multiple approaches and claims of ‘success.’ Take your time on this one until it’s clear the benefits outweigh the risks.
6. I once wrote about ‘Herd Immunity.’ That is reaching enough exposed people to reduce transmission. The problem is simply too many people must get sick or die to get there. And it’s clear, one infection doesn’t guarantee a subsequent one won’t occur.
7. Treatments remain experimental and you don’t want to be ‘that sick’ for some of these therapies to be applied. Protection and prevention remain the mainstay.
8. Masks do not decrease SpO2 in seniors or individuals with respiratory diseases. Appropriately worn masks do one thing. They limit exposure to the virus for you and others.
9. Lastly, reach out and appreciate your first responders and healthcare personnel…all of them. Taking risks every day, day after day in the face of filling beds and dwindling supplies can be emotionally difficult. Especially during this pandemic, a small kindness and ‘thank you for your service’ is more than appropriate. They are on the frontline of a brutal battle. Our actions on the Home Front will impact the outcome greatly.