‘Most have raised their hands’: US? has she forgotten about covid? | united states news

Despite signs that the latest surge in Covid-19 is slowing, an average of 400 deaths are still being reported daily in the US.

Various mask and social distancing mandates across the country are becoming anything but strictly enforced.

But as Americans and many of their elected officials go about their daily lives, many health professionals still on the front lines of the pandemic and severely affected Covid-19 patients are wondering if the rest of we are moving too fast from the worst days of the pandemic.

Have we simply forgotten about Covid-19?

Data obtained earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the rate of new infections has been declining, with the country reporting an average of 107,000 new cases per day. This marks a 12% decrease compared to infection rates two weeks ago.

Despite hospital admission rates rising in the US this summer as a result of highly infectious variants, the number of patients currently hospitalized with Covid-19 has stagnated at 43,000 patients, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

By contrast, more than 160,000 virus-positive patients were hospitalized during last winter’s surge. Still, the daily average of 400 deaths across the country since the spring remains a troubling figure for health care officials.

Arghavan Salles, a clinical associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, expressed frustration with the way officials and the public seem to be getting over Covid-19, which continues to put health care workers under great strain. Pressure. “She feels like a personal affront, like all of our sacrifices mean absolutely nothing because in the end, nobody cares,” said Salles, who worked in ICUs during the height of the pandemic.

Most of the recent infections stem from BA.4 and BA.5, sub-variants of Omicron whose original strain first emerged more than eight months ago. According to the CDC, the two variants appear represent more than 80% of US cases.

As the virus continues to mutate, rebound and breakthrough infections are becoming more common, especially with the BA.5 variant. New data published in June by Harvard Medical School researchers reveals that BA.4 and BA.5 appear to evade antibody responses from people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted and those who have previously contracted Covid-19. .

“We observed three-fold reductions in infection- and vaccination-induced neutralizing antibody titers against BA.4 and BA.5 compared to BA1 and BA2, which are already substantially lower than the original Covid-19 variants,” said the researchers. researchers. said in a sentence. BA.4 and BA.5 have been the fastest spreading variants since the pandemic began.

More recently, reports have surfaced of another Omicron sub-variant, BA.4.6, which is the seventh major Omicron sub-variant since it first appeared in Africa last November. According to health experts, BA.4.6 has a certain mutation that gives it a greater ability to avoid antibodies.

BA.4.6 currently has 10% growth advantage of BA.5 and experts predict that the advantage will only grow.

reverse controls

As the pandemic progresses and vaccines are rolled out, numerous restrictions they are relieving. States have been removing strict capacity limits and large-scale mask orders, while many others no longer require proof of vaccination to travel or enter dining rooms.

Last week, the CDC issued new guidelines that relaxed its recommendations on social distancing and quarantine. People who were exposed to Covid-19 no longer have to self-quarantine unless they develop symptoms or test positive.

Unvaccinated people who have been exposed should be tested on the fifth day of exposure and wear a “high-quality mask.” Additionally, the CDC no longer recommends testing asymptomatic people who have no known exposure to the virus.

“This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but it also helps us get to a point where Covid-19 is no longer severely disrupting our daily lives,” CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said in a statement. statement.

People put self-administered PCR tests into a plastic container in Los Angeles.
People put self-administered PCR tests into a plastic container in Los Angeles. Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA

Salles disagrees.

“The new guidance suggesting that people who have been exposed do not need to quarantine, but instead wear a mask, is likely to accelerate the spread of the disease, especially since they don’t even say what type of mask. What is, in your opinion, a ‘high quality mask’? And, given the lack of mask mandates and the overall low rates of people wearing masks, it seems unlikely that people will comply with this anyway,” he said.

“Their guidance suggests that those who have tested positive only need to self-isolate for five days, but should avoid being around those who are ‘likely to become seriously ill with Covid-19’… [indicates] They only care about isolation if the person likely to be infected is at high risk,” he said.

Not many people are aware of other people’s health problems, medications, or immune systems. As a result, Salles said that “this guidance will put more people, and especially those with disabilities and those who are immunocompromised, at greater risk of getting sick.”

Not enough driven people

Currently, only 67% of the US population is considered fully vaccinated. Furthermore, only 32% of the population have received a booster dose. Health care officials have repeatedly emphasized the effectiveness of vaccines in mitigating Covid-19. However, vaccine hesitancy as a result of misinformation, caution, and other factors continue to hold many back.

Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned people that if they aren’t up to date on their vaccinations or booster shots, they’re in for a rough fall and winter.

“If they don’t get vaccinated or they don’t get boosted, they’re going to get in trouble,” Fauci. said, He added that the country’s vaccination and booster rates are “quite discouraging.” According to Fauci, booster shots targeting newer variants like BA.5 will likely be available as soon as next month. “If you’re not worried about your personal risk, do it about your community responsibility,” he said.

In May, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, foretold that the US may see a big surge in the winter with 100 million new infections and a significant number of deaths and hospitalizations.

“In fact, we are still in the midst of the pandemic with intense transmission globally with close to a million cases daily and sadly more than 14,000 people dying every week,” said the World Health Organization spokeswoman, Margaret Harris. “With such high levels of transmission, it is not surprising that the Sars-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve.”

Health workers under pressure

With the pandemic slowly fading from public consciousness, healthcare workers continue to face a daily battle, battling not only the virus but also significant staffing shortages in the field and a large number of mental health problems.

Many hospitals in the US face a severe shortage of nursing staff. In New York, the nursing shortage is at an “all-time high,” according to Matthew Allen, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City who speak to the New York Times.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, a nurse at the city’s Montefiore Medical Center who has spent 40 years in emergency rooms, told Spectrum News that she used to see six patients at a time. She now sometimes serves 20. “It’s impossible to cover people during breaks. You do the best you can,” she said. said.

A health worker comforts a Covid patient in Houston, Texas.
A health worker comforts a Covid patient in Houston, Texas. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

According to a recent poll According to the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, 13.6% of nursing positions in Massachusetts acute care hospitals are unfilled. There are more than 5,000 nursing positions to be filled statewide.

In April 2020, one of the best emergency rooms medical in New York City committed suicide after working on the devastating front of Covid-19. “She tried to do her job and killed her,” Dr. Philip Breen said of her daughter, Dr. Lorna Breen, who was medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.

“Our frontline workers have yet to see a post-Covid world, and that experience is one we will feel for years to come,” said Dr. Nicole Christian-Brathwaite, a psychiatrist at Array Behavior Care.

covid long

In addition to healthcare workers, many people are still severely affected by the pandemic, experiencing post-COVID-19 conditions or prolonged Covid. Symptoms include prolonged brain fog, fatigue, chest pains, hallucinations, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. Research is increasingly showing that hundreds of millions of people are likely to be suffering from Covid-19 for a long time around the world.

“Any time a person gets infected, they are at risk of developing prolonged Covid,” Salles said. “I can’t think of any other disease that has negative long-term consequences like this that people willingly expose themselves to.

“Even out of sheer self-interest, people should want to avoid prolonged Covid. Yet people are exposed to Covid every day by going into poorly ventilated indoor spaces without masks,” Salles told The Guardian.

“I don’t see how we as a society ‘move on’ from a pandemic that is still ongoing. It seems that most people, including the government, have raised their hands as if there is nothing we can do. We have lost over a million people to this pandemic, and instead of facing that truth and doing whatever it takes to prevent further loss, people are choosing to act as if it never happened,” he said.

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