There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed. - Woodrow Wilson
Authority is mainly a moral power; therefore, it must first call upon the conscience, that is, upon the duty that each person has to contribute willingly to the common good. - Pope John XXIII
Something to think about: COVID -19 cases have tripled in the last months. The Delta variant now accounts for more than 83 percent of new Covid-19 cases, says Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rise in the Delta variant coincides with a large increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide in the U.S..
Just one month ago, on June 19, the Delta variant accounted for just over 30 percent of new cases. On July 3, it crossed the 50 percent threshold to become the dominant variant in the country and today accounts for 83% of all the new COVID -19 cases. Locally, it is the dominant variant in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
We are experiencing higher numbers of COVID infections and Deaths than we did last summer which should make it an interesting Fall. That being said, Philadelphia’s health officials are now recommending everyone including the fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors. This guidance is not a requirement, so it’s up to the businesses to choose to comply or not. This may be a sign of things to come if we do not get a handle on things.
Why getting vaccinated is important: Two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine had an effectiveness of 93.7% at preventing symptomatic alpha infections (U.K. variant of COVID -19), and 88% for the Delta (India) variant. The effectiveness of the vaccines plummet if a patient has only received one dose of either vaccine. The study found both to be just more than 48% effective against alpha (U.K. variant) and only about 30% effective against Delta (India variant) after one dose.
What are the percentages? An Associated Press analysis of available government data from the CDC shows that as of May 2021 “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.
And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.
Earlier this month, Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the Biden administration on COVID-19, suggested that 98% to 99% of the Americans being hospitalized and dying of the coronavirus are unvaccinated individuals.
Meaning of Words: While conversational use of words might not require precise definitions in our high tech world, knowing the difference is important to help you better understand public health news and appropriate public health responses.
Current terms that are being used with the current pandemic.
An EPIDEMIC is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region.
A PANDEMIC is an epidemic that’s spread over multiple countries or continents.
An ENDEMIC is something that belongs to a particular people or country.
An OUTBREAK is a greater-than-anticipated increase in the number of endemic cases. It can also be a single case in a new area. If it’s not quickly controlled, an outbreak can become an epidemic.
What’s the difference between epidemic and endemic? An epidemic is where actively new spreading cases of the disease substantially exceed what is expected. More broadly, it’s used to describe any problem that’s out of control, such as “the opioid epidemic.”
Endemics, on the other hand, are a constant presence in a specific location. Malaria is endemic to parts of Africa. Ice is endemic to Antarctica.
Going one step farther, an endemic can lead to an outbreak, and an outbreak can happen anywhere.
How has COVID affected our Life Span: The AP reports that US life expectancy “fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years.” The drop reported by the CDC “is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline.”
The Washington Post reports the data “shows that life expectancy at birth – a generally reliable measure of the nation’s health – for the total population declined from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020.” Lead author Elizabeth Arias, “a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, said mortality tends to be fairly stable from year to year, which is why 2020 was ‘very unusual.’”
Vaccines for Children under 12: Pfizer and Moderna have been testing their COVID-19 vaccines on children younger than 12 since March, and data should be available in September. The first data set will be on children ages 6 to 11. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring 4 months to 6 months of safety data post-vaccine for children younger than 12, as opposed to the 2 months required for those ages 12 and older. Once the data is available, the vaccine manufacturers can apply for an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Public health officials suggest that the earliest this process will be complete is early to midwinter. Data for children ages 2 years to 6 years may not be ready until late fall, pushing back the potential availability date for this age group.
Immune System response of Vaccinated Individuals: In a new study from Tel Aviv University, researchers found people who’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have a much stronger immune system response against the new coronavirus than those who’ve previously been infected.
They found vaccinated individuals had the highest antibody levels, nearly three times higher than that of convalescent individuals recovering from symptomatic COVID-19.
They also found while 99.4% of vaccinated people tested positive for COVID-fighting antibodies in blood samples just six days after their second dose of vaccine. Less than 76% of people recovering from a COVID-19 infection were positive for COVID-fighting antibodies.
They also found that men and women have different antibody levels after either vaccination or infection.
Immunocompromised May Need a Booster Shot: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday warned people who are immunocompromised that the Covid-19 vaccine may not have been effective for them and encouraged them to take precautions as if they were not vaccinated. Immunocompromised people may require a third dose or booster shot.
"People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others staying they don't live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider," according to the CDC's website
Until Next Time. Stay Safe, Stay well and If not Vaccinated give some serious thought to getting vaccinated based on the science and not social media.
James A. Vito, D.M.D.