There’s no place like Zoom for the holidays
As COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death rates drop, we remember we’ve been here before. Too many Americans are not vaccinated and too many questions about SARS-CoV-2 remain unanswered.
Every silver lining has its cloud, unfortunately. So, as infection, hospitalization and death rates have plummeted in recent weeks, and medical experts express cautious optimism that the worst may be over, there is still a lot to be said for. we don’t know about COVID-19. And to use the expression stuck in the air by Game Of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”
Last year’s holiday season sparked a huge wave of COVID-19, which was predicted by many medical experts, but which many people nonetheless ignored. This year, however, we have the vaccines, which will prevent another wave, right? Well, maybe. Unfortunately, about 70 million Americans who can get vaccinated have yet to do so. The clouds around which are draped silver linings hover particularly over 15 states in which less than 50% of the inhabitants remain unvaccinated: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
So even though Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS Confront the nation yesterday that we may have finally passed the milestone of this 20 month pandemic that the Delta variant has given new life to and which has turned the world upside down, Americans and the healthcare system cannot let their guard down just yet.
Still, there is cause for hope.
Since the end of August, infections and hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 have decreased by about 30%. The United States had an average of 110,232 daily cases as of September 27, compared to 159,515 as of August 27. According to the CDC. COVID-19-related hospitalizations fell from 12,330 to 8,507 over the same period, a decrease of 31%.
Another trendy phrase is “I’ll be home for Christmas,” made famous by Bing Crosby. Fauci was asked yesterday about Confront the nation if that were to be the case this year, to which he replied, “It’s just too early to tell. We just have to [be] focus on keeping those numbers down and not trying to move forward weeks or months saying what we’re going to do at some point.
Fauci’s comments came just 2 days after the CDC updated guidelines on how Americans should approach the holiday season. The agency suggests that individuals should not travel unless they are fully immunized and reminded Americans that “attending gatherings to celebrate events and holidays increases your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.” The safest way to celebrate is virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet away from others. “
Another reminder of the scale of the toll COVID-19 has taken on Americans arrived yesterday, after Reuters crunched data and announced that more than 700,000 Americans have died from COVID-19; 703,672 to be exact. In addition, August was the deadliest month for pregnant women, according to the CDC, which last week issued an urgent health notice to health care providers, encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated. Only 31% of pregnant women have been fully immunized.
A question hanging over the data provided by the CDC and all other agencies and organizations tracking COVID-19 has been raised by the Washington post yesterday: how reliable can this data be? The title on the Washington postitem pulls no punches: “Messy and incomplete US data is hampering pandemic response.”
The journal reports that “critically important data on vaccinations, infections, hospitalizations and deaths are scattered among local health services, often outdated, difficult to aggregate nationally – and just not up to the task. of combating a highly transmissible and stealthy virus. pathogen. “
The article then quotes Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who readers are told worked for 2 decades for the CDC.
“We are flying blind,” Mokdad told the newspaper. “With all our money, with all our know-how, we dropped the ball. … We don’t have the data. We don’t have the right monitoring system to keep us informed.
In fact, we still don’t know exactly where SARS-CoV-2 comes from. The theory that a lab leak in Wuhan, China was dismissed out of hand for months, but has recently gained new credibility – or at least the belief that it deserves another examination – after the Chinese government hampered the efforts of an investigative team sent by the World Health Organization to examine this possibility.
WHO would have wants to reopen the investigation into the possible laboratory leak. This is a controversial question, as some have accused the Wuhan laboratory leak theory more of an anti-Asian bias than a scientific investigation. Science magazine last week hosted a roundtable with scientists from both sides of the issue.
In its summary of the story, Axios offers this morning this net profit: “With time running out to gather more evidence – and the Chinese government is blocking further efforts – the chances of finding a definitive answer are diminishing. “