Consulo Indicium - 7/12/21

Information for your Consideration…

First And Foremost – According to the CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, MD, in the month of May 99% - yes, that’s Ninety Nine Percent – of new COVID infections resulting in hospitalizations or deaths occurred solely in unvaccinated people and that as a result of analysis on a “…state by state and county by county [basis], it is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable. This is all true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible delta variant.” The message is clear: EVERYONE SHOULD GET VACINATED UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED FOR MEDICAL REASONS. The USA is currently at just over 50% of the population vaccinated – which means “herd immunity” is not present. Upwards of 80+% is required. So, if you believe in science tell everyone you know who is not vaccinated to get vaccinated!

Then, The Good News – According to a new study published in Nature, it appears the two major COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) most likely provide the “vast majority” of recipients with long-term immunity. The researchers tested the lymph nodes of 14 recruits at five different sites following the first dose and after 15 weeks they again reviewed the nodes and found “the number of memory cells that recognized the coronavirus had not declined”. For those of us who have followed CDC recommendations – it would appear that we are protected for a longer term than originally planned. However, at the same time, we need to be cautious. These results are preliminary and could no doubt change as the pandemic continues to evolve and, evolve it is… 

Now The Bad News – Not only is the Delta variant more transmissible but it also has spread to virtually all corners of the US. As a result, we are facing an unprecedented resurgence in Covid-19 cases over the next couple of weeks. In fact, Rochelle Walensky, MD recently noted during a press conference that the variant is likely to become the dominant coronavirus strain across the USA over the coming weeks. In addition, it is anticipated that rather than a focus on the elderly and infirm, the younger population is likely to be a greater risk. With roughly half of the US remaining unvaccinated – the path ahead is not yet smooth.

What’s important – from my perspective – however, is that we need to get as many folks vaccinated as possible. In fact, I’m all for MANDATORY VACCINATIONS. We did it during earlier eras. I was not able to go to school without my polio, measles and mumps vaccinations. Why do we think that Covid-19 is any different than earlier generations where we learned that mass vaccinations work and prevent the spread of disease? The long-term personal health, the long-term public health, the long-term economic health of the nation and even the world – depends on coming together and using sensible public health strategies like mass vaccinations!!  

new cases

Second, we’ve got to start listening to science!!  The data listed in the chart to the left confirms my point. The lower the higher the vaccination rate, the less likely the number of cases in the population. The result is that the lower vaccinated areas of the country – in particular – are “at risk”.

Furthermore, the lack of vaccinations contributes to the overall continuation of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we are allowing the mythologies that spread across the internet to prevail over the science which has been ignored or even sequestered in too many quarters. My perspective is that a mass education campaign to counter the misinformation is in order – Now!

Third, we need to remember that viruses continuously evolve. They are not static with some evolving more quickly than others. In the case of the Covid-19 virus, it’s clear that more rapid genetic shift is the norm. Therefore, the imperative for meeting the challenge of mass vaccination becomes even more important otherwise the spread will only worsen because after the Delta variant, and now the Lambda variant, proceeding to the the Mu (“my”), the Nu, the Omicron, then the Pie variant or whatever the next Greek letter variant is named. We will eventually get to the Omega variant (the last letter in the Greek alphabet) but the variants will continue. Going from Alpha to Omega is not a good trend. Surely, we can do better? According to the CDC, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any potential problems associated with the jabs. While there is some risk of heart inflammation and associated problems, they are far less than the problems associated with going at risk in the general environment. In fact, the CDC also announced that there were “no deaths” associated with those who had been vaccinated in the last 30 days. Let’s get all of our friends, neighbors and – yes, our relatives – to take the jab! 

And, Another Coffee Moment – I’m an admitted “coffeeholic” with a consumption pattern of between 6 – 10 cups per day. It doesn’t give me the jitters. I fall asleep easily (in a “pico-second” according to my wife) and don’t get the reported headaches from too much consumption. So, I follow the coffee literature rather closely just to be sure! A new study is out from the U.K. noting that with 11 years of data for some nearly 500,000 people where 3/5 were coffee drinkers – those who consumed coffee had a 20% lower risk of developing chronic liver disease. Makes sense to me. Heavy coffee drinkers often go to AA meetings and such so if they stay “on the wagon” – less liver disease would no doubt result. However, I’m not sure that this part was considered in the study. The researchers noted that “The benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease.” I think they should go back and ask the critical alcohol consumption question first before making that assertion. 

For The Zoomaholic In Your Life – As the pandemic slows in certain areas, the debate has arisen on how to re-enter the work place. Naturally, Zoom does not want us to forget how much we love sitting in front of our computers listening to dialogues from all of our colleagues over the Zoom network so…they created a Design Guide for Re-entry To Hybrid Work. If nothing else, it might help those urges to quit throwing virtual tomatoes at the screen in those certain moments or, more importantly, how to prevent the eye roll – a critical skill in the new world of virtual work.

The Shifting Nature Of Population Health – Several months ago, I got into a fascinating conversation with a veterinarian who works for the US Department of Agriculture. He works all over the Western USA on evolving outbreaks. I was intrigued because his work at the moment when we talked was about the migration of ticks that traditionally are confined to areas in Southern Mexico and Central America but who were moving north. In fact, at the time of our conversation, these invasive ticks have gotten as far north as Colorado. Hmmm. I thought it was “interesting”.

Now, there are an increasing number of articles about a whole variety of diseases that we simply do not see in the northern latitudes which are invading at an increasingly rapid pace. Whether it’s “flesh-eating parasites” (= Leishmaniaisis) – a traditionally tropical disease which has gotten as north as North Dakota, my home state – or some other invasive disease, the nature of population health is shifting. The message? Global climate change is now a health care issue! We in the health care professions are moving from the backwoods of climate change to the leading edge of alterations in our environment. Are we willing to pick up the challenge? We should…

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