We are entering the Fourth Covid Wave in the US. While experts hope that this wave won’t be as deadly, there are some real dangers because of the now dominant B.1.1.7 strain. The B.1.1.7 strain was originally discovered in the U.K. and unfortunately, it is more contagious and more deadly than the original strain.,
While deaths are currently dropping, cases and hospitalizations are increasing. Increased hospitalizations usually preclude an increase in deaths. I expect the death rate to plateau in the coming weeks and start to increase.
Some good news is that 20% of the US have been fully vaccinated and 35% have had at least one dose. All three vaccines help protect against the B.1.1.7 strain as well as other variants, however, in general, they are not as effective.
For example, state officials for Michigan, which is at the center of the latest surge, reported that 246 people that were considered fully vaccinated came down with Covid, with at least 11 people hospitalized and three deaths. The three that passed were older and had other health issues. Also, for some people, the full effect of the vaccine isn’t seen until 3 weeks have passed, unlike the majority of people who reach maximum immunity at 2 weeks. While being vaccinated significantly improves one’s outcome for Covid-19, it does not prevent infection in everyone. Precautions are still necessary.
Pfizer, in its trial, offered immunity 7 days after the second dose. Moderna was 14 days. Johnson and Johnson was longer at 28 days (but only needs one dose).
At our office, we have all had our second dose. We all had a reaction to both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. Just a reminder to plan on taking it easy after the second dose. For those who don’t have an obvious reaction to the second dose, you may want to wait a week or two after the official full immunity time frame. This is to allow the antibodies to build before increasing your activities.
Another worrying trend is that the new variants are affecting children and young people more severely. The combination of a more virulent and dangerous strain is going to make it harder to keep schools open. We are months away from having a vaccine for young children. Pfizer just asked for emergency authorization for its vaccine for 12-15-year-olds. Authorization for the adults happened 4-5 weeks after the initial request. As for younger children, there is a chance that vaccines could be authorized sometime in the fall.
Because of this, I am recommending that we keep up our guard. Continue to wear masks in public. Socialize only with your Covid bubble or other people that are fully vaccinated. When going to restaurants, continue to choose the patio over indoor dining. Restrict travel, but take extra precautions if you do. Purchase air purifiers for home gatherings. Wash hands and keep our distance from others. Keep taking your vitamin D and consider taking Illicium and maybe a little zinc. For those choosing not to get vaccinated, I’m recommending that you take extra precautions.
If we are unable to contain the virus in the next few months, we will have to deal with the P1 variant which was originally found in Japan and Brazil. Like the B.1.1.7 variant, the P1 variant is resistant to our current vaccines, spreads easier, and is more deadly. Unfortunately, it is also reinfecting people that have already recovered from Covid.
A PDF of this article can be found here.