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COVID Numbers Surge

SD County Recommends Facial Coverings Indoors


Last updated 9/16/2021 at 9:38am

Here we go again...

The numbers are surging and new cases of the coronavirus and its variant are at a level not seen since January of this year. The average daily level of cases has reached to at least 148,000.However, even as many hospitals are under strain and the reporting shortages of intensive care unit beds, overall deaths are lower; the daily average of deaths at the end of January was 3,100 and about 1,100 as of Aug. 25. More than 100,000 people are hospitalized with the virus in the country.

As of Aug. 25, San Diego County has reported 1,327 new cases, with the case rate per 100,000 residents was 35.2 overall, 9.3 for fully vaccinated people and 66.9 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.

As many continue this battle against the coronavirus and its unwelcomed counterpart, the delta variant, everything may soon seem quite familiar. For the most part.

With the rise in cases again, San Diego County and the Human Services Agency announced its recommendation of wearing face coverings, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor and public settings on Aug. 26.

“The way to limit our community from dying is really by mandating a mask or by making sure everybody is vaccinated,” said Dr. Will Tseng, the former president of the San Diego County Medical Society.

The updated mask guidance follows the push from the Medical Society and the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties requesting mask mandates to return indoors regardless of vaccination status. The same group is also calling for COVID-19 vaccination requirements for indoor dining, bars, gyms, and entertainment venues or requiring masks.

The U.S. is projected to see nearly 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths between now and Dec. 1, according to the nation’s most closely watched forecasting model. But health experts say that toll could be cut in half if nearly everyone wore a mask in public spaces.

As these mandates begin to be implemented around the country, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said schools that are struggling with large-scale outbreaks generally aren’t “following federal mask and vaccine guidelines.” Walensky called on schools to adopt a multilayered approach that also includes social distancing, enhanced ventilation and COVID testing to prevent outbreaks.

“I want to strongly appeal to those districts who have not implemented prevention strategies and encourage them to do the right thing to protect the children under their care,” Walensky said. “In our outbreak investigations, large-scale quarantines or large number of cases are generally occurring in schools because schools are not following our guidance.”

Mask mandates were sure to come with the surge in new cases. In terms of mandates, it looks as though more vaccinate mandates are on the way, after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to the approval of Pfizer, the vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) were under an Emergency Use Authorization.

FDA scientists evaluated “hundreds of thousands of pages” of vaccine data from 40,000 trial participants, according to the U.S. agency. The vaccine was found to be 91% effective in preventing COVID – slightly lower than the 95% efficacy rate trial data showed when the shot was authorized late last year and before the delta variant took hold in the U.S.

Pfizer’s vaccine met the agency’s “high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated.”

Despite the FDA approval of the vaccine, many folks continue to be reluctant over receiving the shot, and there is still push back to requiring the shot to enter certain places or to even keep their job. At this time, it is unclear if or how many businesses currently require the vaccine.

With the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, they are now looking to get the approval of a booster dose. The FDA said transplant recipients or others with weakened immune systems can get an extra dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Later, U.S. health officials announced plans to give COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to add to their protection, amid the rise of the delta variant.

Pfizer’s vaccine received full FDA approval for those ages 16 and older. It had been given to that age group under an emergency use authorization, which is still the case for those ages 12 to 15.

The U.S. booster plan calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. President Joe Biden said on Aug. 27 that regulators are looking to administer the booster shot five months after their full vaccination, moving up the timeline. Also J&J said people who received a booster for its single-shot vaccine saw a big jump in virus-fighting antibodies. The drugmaker plans to talk to regulators about its booster. Moderna is expected to do the same, and said that it had completed its application to the FDA for full approval of its two-dose vaccine.

In addition to the crazy times our world is facing, people are found to be taking veterinary drugs to “treat or prevent” COVID-19, and the FDA is urging folks to stop.

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA tweeted from its official account, alongside a consumer update detailing why the drug can be unsafe for humans, especially if taken when you’re not supposed to.

According to the CDC, Ivermectin, which is not an anti-viral drug, is commonly prescribed orally in humans to treat ailments like head lice, parasitic worms and rosacea. It is also prescribed as injections and creams for use in cattle. While the National Institutes of Health has conducted observation studies for its effectiveness in preventing and treating COVID-19, there is insufficient data to determine whether the drug can actually fight the virus. As a result, the CDC says sales of the drug have skyrocketed. Cattle feed stores across the country have reported selling out of the drug.

However, because the drug is not approved for use in treating COVID-19, those taking the drugs are determining their own dosage. Patients who overdose with ivermectin can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and even death, according to the FDA.

The FDA and CDC both maintain that the best protection against COVID-19 is vaccination.

This is a crazy time that we are living in and changes continue to occur. We can only hope that our world can heal, and we can all go back to a somewhat normal life.

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