Covid Advice #18 (12/23/2021):
- from Dr. Dennis Fong -
I hadn't planned on writing this now because this November and early December Covid was being significantly better than last year, plus everyone is already sick and tired of hearing about Covid, but the sudden takover by Omicron in the last week has changed things. A couple of things:
- Omicron is a lot more contagious than Delta; that is why it has elbowed Delta aside so quickly to already make up 73% of U.S. cases last week - the first U.S. case was only discovered Dec. 1.
- U.S. and California cases have climbed significantly during the past week.
- It seems to affect the young much more than Delta or the original Covid did.
- Hopefully it causes less severe disease, but a just released British study says it causes the same amount of death and hospitalization as Delta.
- It can break through vaccines a lot more than even Delta. A recent study says Pfizer is only 33% effective against Omicron. Remmember that the booster only brings one's immunity, which had waned after 6 months, back up to where it was when first vaccinated; the booster does not make the vaccine stronger than it was originally. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker both had booster shots but both still got infected.
Again, I would advise against getting Covid because even if one gets asymptomatic or mild Covid, as vaccinated people are more prone to do, there is a real chance of long Covid. Also, nobody knows yet what other long term complications there might be since this virus can get into almost every part of the body; we might not know fully for a few years.
What to do? As I have said before, 4 things to do besides the vaccine:
- Wear your mask.
- Social distance.
- Clean your hands.
- Disinfect or quarantine objects that come into your house and that other people have handled, especially cold foods. While Covid dies in 2-6 days at room temperature, it lives for 1 month in the fridge and coronaviruses live for 5 years in the freezer.
- Outdoors is much safer than indoors.
- Everyone being vaccinated is good.
- Getting tested just before the gathering is good.
When your get-together has to be indoors, I suggest:
- Open the windows so there's lots of fresh air circulating
- Have HEPA air purifiers on in the room
- When not eating and drinking, either put on the masks or maintain social distance or both
- When eating and the masks are off, group each family or co-inhabiting group together and if possible, put each family or co-inhabiting group at its own table
- Turn the air from the ceiling on full and have it blow down onto your lap so it will keep the breath of people next to you away from you.
- Wear an N95 or KN95 if possible, a medical mask if not.
- When it comes to meal time, I suggest asking the person next to you to eat first then put his mask on when you take yours off to eat.
If you do get Covid, let me know right away as you might qualify for the intravenous monoclonal antibody (immunocompromised, >65, chronic medical conditions, or health care personnel).
Here's the Johns Hopkins website where you can track Covid daily: Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard.
Wish you happiness! Stay healthy and stay safe!
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