Disclaimer: Covid-19 resources & updates are made on a monthly basis by Uzima Health & Wellness and may not necessairly reflect the most recent information available. For the latest on Covid-19 and vaccinations please refer to www.cdc.gov.
The Emergence of Omicron
Viruses are constantly changing, and this includes SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These genetic variations occur over time and can lead to the emergence of new variants that may have different characteristics.
The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes instructions organized into sections, called genes, to build the virus. Scientists use a process called genomic sequencing to decode the genes and learn more about the virus. Genomic sequencing allows scientists to identify SARS-CoV-2 and monitor how it changes over time into new variants, understand how these changes affect the characteristics of the virus, and use this information to better understand how it might impact health.
Currently, due to genenomic surveillance, the dominant circulating variant of COVID -19 is Omicrone. Omicrone is estimated to be causing 95% of all cases in the United States. After watching this varient’s behavior, scientist have
determined that it is more easily transmissible. Currently, the only defense against the virus making a person seriously ill are the vaccines. Finally, public health community believes that continuing to wear a mask with protect against
primary infection and reinfection.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with
these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
“Religion, Fetal Cells
and COVID-19…Oh My!"
The Pew Research Center reported that while 91% of vaccinated adults see COVID-19 vaccines as the best way to protect Americans from the spread of COVID-19, the remaining unvaccinated adult tends to be of the Protestant faith – with predominance in White Evangelicals and Black Protestants.
The associated angst for anti-COVID-19 vaccinators is due religious conviction. Use of aborted fetal cells in the development, testing and manufacturing of the vaccine is the belief. Dr. Zimmerman, a Public Health and Preventive Medicine medical provider from Pittsburgh, PA weighs in on this controversial topic in an article published June 2021. Dr. Zimmerman dispels this misconception with the fact that while fetal cell lines from past 1970s and 80s elective abortions are used to test the efficacy of mRNA vaccines, the cells are not used in the development of the vaccine nor do any of the three currently approved versions of the vaccine contain any aborted fetal cells.
While respecting each patient’s autonomy, Dr. Zimmerman offers bioethical points to aid such a patient with religious convictions in their decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, he notes that many religious and pro-life leaders have reviewed the current vaccine development processes and deemed getting vaccinated a morally acceptable act of charity. In conclusion, getting the COVID-19 vaccine (regardless of brand name) is seen as an act of altruism.
Image from August Pew Research Center Survey of more than 10,000 U.S. adults. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/20/10-facts-about-americans-and-coronavirus-vaccines/
1. Funk, Cary and Gramlich, John. (2021, September 20). 10 facts about Americans and coronavirus vaccines. www.pewresearch.org. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/20/10-facts-about-americans-and-coronavirus-vaccines/
2. Zimmerman R. K. (2021). Helping patients with ethical concerns about COVID-19 vaccines in light of fetal cell lines used in some COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine, 39(31), 4242–4244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.06.027
As of October 2021, more than 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine booster have been administered across the United States.
Although an individual who has received two full doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech is considered fully vaccinated, a booster shot is recommend to lessen possible illness, hospitalization, death, and other long term health effects against the COVID-19 Delta variant. Currently, the following populations already vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine should or may consider receiving a booster shot:
Older adults and 50-64 years old people with medical conditions should
Long-term care setting residents aged 18 years and older may
People with medical conditions aged 18-49 years may
Employees and residents at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission may
Produced, additional populations may be recommended to receive the booster shot. Booster shot symptoms remain similar to those potentially experienced during the 2-shot series. The intent of the booster vaccine was initiated to induce long-lasting protection.
So, if your personal verdict is still out and you are in one of the booster eligible populations, you should consider getting the booster at least six months after the two shot Pfizer series. However, if you are not in one of eligible populations then continue to operate under the current CDC precautions until additional guidance is provided.
Source: Our World in Data - The following charts show the number of booster doses administered. Booster doses are doses administered beyond those prescribed by the original vaccination protocol — for example, a third dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, or a second dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pregnant Women SHOULD BE Vaccinated
The recent reports of COVID-19 deaths in the state of Mississippi are alarming. This rural state with poor infrastructure is struggling with the spread of COVID-19. September has been particularly brutal as data shows that there are about thirty deaths a day from the virus alone. Sadly, some of these individuals are young mothers. These deaths add to the already burdensome problem of maternal morbidity and mortality in Black women overall. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, issued a standing order for pregnant women in Mississippi to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This directive was needed to help prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccinations in pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued a strong and clear recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19. The clinical data is clear that this respiratory virus puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications and even death.
ACOG and SMFM Recommend COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Individuals
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. The organizations’ recommendations in support of vaccination during pregnancy reflect evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the last several months, as well as the current low vaccination rates and concerning increase in cases. Data have shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications and even death; yet only about 22% of pregnant individuals have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
THE BLAME GAME
Lt. Gov of Texas Blames Unvaccinated Black Folks for the Surge in Texas
In a very convoluted effort to correlate the increase in COVID-19 cases in southern states to the democrats, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick erroneously stated that the surge was due to unvaccinated people who are democrats and mostly African Americans. If you replay the clip over and over, the same picture emerges of a White republican male using his position to implant racist ideology into the conversation. Fortunately, the data is clear that his statement was false. The data from the Texas Department of Health is very clear on the problem. Texas still needs more people to get vaccinated.
The Texas Tribune analyzed the demographic and geographic trends of Texans who have not gotten their shot yet. Here are some of the main findings:
In Texas’ largest counties — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis — neighborhoods with the highest proportions of Black and Hispanic populations are some of the least vaccinated areas.
Neighborhoods with median incomes below the county’s median income also hold vaccination rates lower than that of the county’s.
Rural counties have consistently lagged behind the state’s fully vaccinated rate.
While the Texas Department of Health is showing that the lowest overall numbers for vaccinations is lowest in the Black population, the rate for those who have the virus and hence able to spread the virus is highest among the white population at 32.1 % and Hispanics at 37%.
Instead of playing the blame game and continuing to politicize this public health crisis, we need to take ownership in our communities and work with getting out the important message of getting the vaccine and wearing a mask to stop the spread.
Covid-19 VACCINATION UPDATE (AUG 2021)
Covid-19 vaccination update
According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conversations with family and friends have played a major role in persuading people to get vaccinated. Family members who have gotten the vaccine and demonstrated that the side effects of the vaccine were mild to non-existent have been the most powerful counter message to the myths surrounding the vaccine. Over two thirds of the Kaiser Foundation study sample answered they have tried to persuade their family and friends to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Source: Kaiser Foundation Study
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SAR S-CoV2)
Photo Source: Weill Cornell Medicine
The Delta strain is one mutation of the COVID-19 virus that is now the dominant strain in the United States. It is more contagious in unvaccinated persons and appears to be more likely to lead to hospitalizations or death especially for younger people under the age of 50 yrs old who are unvaccinated.
Loss of smell or taste
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fever, chills, flu like symptoms
Mode of Transmission
Respiratory droplets spread by speaking and coughing
Pfizer is 88% effective
Moderna is 96% effective
Johnson and Johnson is not reporting a percentage, but appears to be less effective
The effect of Booster shots for persons who have received the vaccine are currently under intense review
Covid-19 & the HOUSING CRISIS
COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Ends July 29
The housing crisis we are now facing is rooted in housing policies that began in the early 1980’s. The cost of housing has significantly risen in many large cities. In the United States, many households with low incomes or lacking higher education have had to relocate and find
places with inferior construction and design. What public health officials have known even before the passing of the Federal Housing Act of 1949 is that the quality of housing has a great influence on the physical and mental health of individuals and families that make up
The eviction moratorium that is currently in place to help struggling renters will be lifted by July 31, 2021 and can set off another public health crisis. Many Black communities and low-income, less educated person will be now forced to pay rent or be evicted. The stress of this during the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the health of millions of women, children and men. Find out what your state is doing about the lift of the moratorium here.
The Census Bureau estimates that seven million American households are behind on their rent. The survey demonstrates that almost four million children could be made homeless because of this rent problem. Mostly Black and Latino households are currently struggling and behind in rent.
The CDC continues to recommend avoiding large events and gatherings. Currently, CDC does not provide numbers to define small and large events.
Large gatherings bring together many people from multiple households in a private or public space. Large gatherings are often planned events with a large number of guests and invitations. They sometimes involve lodging, event staff, security, tickets, and long-distance travel. CDC’s large events guidance might apply to events such as conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, concerts, or large weddings and parties.
Small gatherings are informal in nature and may occur with family and friends you regularly socialize with, often at someone’s residence. They typically do not involve long distance travel. Small gathering guidance might be more appropriate for social gatherings that are more intimate with close friends and family, such as small holiday parties, family dinners, and small special celebrations.
CDC offers the following guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Event planners should work with state and local health officials to implement this guidance, adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. This guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply.
Risk Factors to Consider
Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of attendees getting and spreading COVID-19 at large events. In combination, the following factors will create higher or lower amounts of risk:
Number of COVID-19 cases in your community—High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the event location or the locations the attendees are coming from increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Relevant data can often be found on the local health department website or on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker County View.
Exposure during travel—Airports, airplanes, bus stations, buses, train stations, trains, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places where physical distancing may be challenging and ventilation may be poor.
Setting of the event—Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events.
Length of the event—Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter events. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of becoming infected and requires quarantine.
Number and crowding of people at the event – Events with more people increase the likelihood of being exposed. The size of the event should be determined based on whether attendees from different households can stay at least 6 feet (2 arm lengths) Physical distancing at events can reduce transmission risk—for example, blocking off seats or modifying room layouts.
Behavior of attendees during an event— Events where people engage in behaviors such as interacting with others from outside their own household, singing, shouting, not maintaining physical distancing, or not wearing masks consistently and correctly, can increase risk.
COVID-19 AND PREGNANCy
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologist (ACOG) issued guidelines about pregnancy and COVID vaccine. Currently, ACOG recommends vaccination in all pregnant women and women expecting to become pregnant. They also do not recommend a pregnancy test prior to getting any one of the three vaccines currently offered.
ACOG summary also includes the finding that vaccines do not cause infertility and this is an unfounded claim.
See the following from the ACOG website:
COVID-19 Infection Risk in Pregnancy
Available data suggest that symptomatic pregnant patients with COVID-19 are at increased risk of more severe illness compared with nonpregnant peers (Ellington MMWR 2020, Collin 2020, Delahoy MMWR 2020, Panagiotakopoulos MMWR 2020 , Zambrano MMWR 2020). Although the absolute risk for severe COVID-19 is low, these data indicate an increased risk of ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation and ventilatory support (ECMO), and death reported in pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infection, when compared with symptomatic non-pregnant women (Zambrano MMWR 2020). Pregnant patients with comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes may be at an even higher risk of severe illness consistent with the general population with similar comorbidities (Ellington MMWR 2020, Panagiotakopoulos MMWR 2020 , Knight 2020, Zambrano MMWR 2020). Given the growing evidence, CDC has included pregnancy as a factor that leads to increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness (CDC). Similar to the general population, Black and Hispanic individuals who are pregnant have disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infection and death (Ellington MMWR 2020, Moore MMWR 2020, Zambrano MMWR 2020). Further, risk (Zambrano MMWR 2020) of ICU admission was higher for pregnant Asian and Native
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander individuals. These disparities are due to a range of social and structural factors including disparities in socioeconomic status, access to care, rates of chronic conditions, occupational exposure, systemic racism, and historic and continued
inequities in the health care system.
updates in treatment
With all the focus on the COVID-19 vaccine, it is time to review the updates in treatment. We trust that all our hospitals are using evidence-based protocols to determine which patients will benefit the most from the various treatment options out there.
What therapies might help people with severe COVID-19 before hospitalization?
In November 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the emergency use of two monoclonal antibody treatments. One is called Bamlanivimab, and the other is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. These treatments are for non-hospitalized adults and children over twelve with moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or being hospitalized. These drugs are given intravenously by an IV soon after
What medications can doctors use for people hospitalized with COVID-19?
Dexamethasone and other corticosteroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone) are potent anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs are readily available and inexpensive. They are widely used for patients with asthma, sarcoidosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients who required supplemental oxygen or ventilators and who received dexamethasone were less likely to die within 28 days than those who received standard care. This recommendation was based on a clinical trial from the NIH.
In October 2020, the FDA approved the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. The drug may be used to treat adults and children ages 12 and older, weighing at least 88 pounds, and who has been hospitalized for COVID-19. Clinical trials suggest that in these patients, remdesivir may modestly speed up recovery time.
Baricitinib in combination with remdesivir
In November 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to use baricitinib in combination with remdesivir in hospitalized adults and children 2 years and older who require respiratory support.
Ultimately, it takes patients presenting to the health care center in a timely manner so that treatments can reverse the symptoms of the virus. It also takes physicians being aware of the treatment protocols and being aggressive with patients who are too weak to advocate for themselves.
To learn more on the Harvard University Coronavirus Resource Center website, click here.
The Public’s Eagerness to Get a Vaccine is Rising Across Racial and Ethnic Groups
The share of U.S. adults who want to get the vaccine as soon as possible has increased since December among Black, Hispanic, and White adults alike, and the share who say they want to “wait and see” how it works for other people has declined among Black and White adults. However, Black adults (43%) and Hispanic adults (37%) remain significantly more likely than White adults (26%) to say they want to “wait and see,” while White adults (53%) are more likely to say they have already been vaccinated or want the vaccine “as soon as possible” compared Black or Hispanic adults (35% and 42%, respectively).
The American Heart Association is working with researchers, medical experts, hospitals, community leaders, businesses and ...
January 2021 When President Donald Trump paid a visit to the National Institutes of Health ...
(Source: U.S. News)
(Source: NBC News)
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