February 14th, 2022
I want to ask for a big favor. If you listen to the podcast, please rate it at apple podcasts.
As this Omicron wave comes back to Earth, I am going to shift gears and spend a little more time looking at secondary problems of the Pandemic and now Endemic disease of SARS2 Covid19.
This week in specific we are going to look a little closer at long Covid.
Many countries around the world are removing all covid restrictions in favor of an endemic status. Many US states, including northern states that would not be expected to, have removed or will remove their mask mandates in favor of more social freedoms. This is likely either a capitulation to Omicron's infectiousness being unstoppable or political realities that the US citizenry no longer wish to follow these rules anymore.
The data is showing us that we are in a much better place from a death and risk perspective despite massive case volume! Because we have so much viral volume and enough at risk/unvaccinated individuals in America, death numbers are higher, but not proportionally to massive case volume.
The big problem remains that we as a country are much sicker at baseline and less vaccinated leaving us at much greater risk for negative outcomes. The data comparing the US to Europe shows a stark difference in death risk.
The world around masking, testing and quarantining needs to leave the alpha/beta/delta protocol world and enter endemic omicron.
The actions of the federal government shipping out N95 masks now after 2 years of the pandemic is akin to masking while you walk into a restaurant but remaining unmasked while seated. More political theater.
No change here: All vaccines are no longer working well to prevent transmission of SARS2 variant Omicron. The good news remains that the vaccines ABSOLUTELY prevent bad outcomes which should be the message to all. Please get vaccinated if you have no prior Covid immunity and/or have natural disease but also have major risk factors. Omicron is 91% less risky then Delta. However, 9% comparative residual risk in over a 100 million unvaccinated is still a large number of seriously sick people that could be hospitalized with a subset possibly dying.
North Carolina has turned the corner on this huge wave as is the rest of the country.
The 7 day moving average of cases for the US in recent weeks has plummeted from the highs of greater than 800,000 to less than 200,000 owing to Omicron's incredible activity and burn rate. Quick up and quick down.
If you have had 2 doses of an mRNA vaccine or had previous natural infection, you have a very very small risk of a significant hospitalization and therefore death from the Delta or Omicron variant based on statistics overall, however, you are likely to get some illness from Omicron now as it has escaped the two dose series protection and boosters as well.
If my risk of death is 0.000033 once vaccinated with a two dose series or survived natural infection coupled to the fact that the vaccines no longer effectively prevent against transmission, what are we talking about then??? What is the big deal now? Are we not at a really good place in the pandemic? Interesting questions to ponder.
As it stands today, the United States has had 77 million known cases and almost 910,000 deaths. The case numbers probably underestimate true case volume by 3-4x as home kit positives are not being reported.
If you did not read the newsletter about an Integrative approach to health in the COVID era, read this link and this link.
As with the first newsletter on this topic, keep solace with the fact that there is a 99+% chance of survival for all of us regardless of vaccination. However,
mathematically, you now have a 99.9998% chance of survival once vaccinated and the vaccine safety for the mRNA vaccines continues to look good.
Why take on that extra risk?
Do you think that children should wear masks in school now based on Omicron's data stream?
22 % say Yes
Should mental health be a top priority for the state and local governments?
93 % say Yes
I fall in line with a no and yes response. I think that children are not the risk pool, most masks are minimally useful unless they are a well fitted N95(which most kids won't wear without significant stress) and children need normal experiences now to thrive mentally. Mental health is my top priority next to nutritional health for kids. Hence, my no to mask wearing. Teachers and at risk individuals should be the ones wearing a well fitted N95 mask from now on. As someone who has been wearing masks at work for a long time, the burden is real, but it is what we do for safety. As an adult, this makes sense to me. Children are not the issue so they should not bear the burden.