RJ Harris

RJ Harris

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COVID REPORT FOR 12/14

ONE 

Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been more than 45,000,000 confirmed Covid cases. Current estimates are that at least 110 million Americans have had Covid. 

This week we will pass the milestone of 800,000 deaths with Covid in the U.S. 

 75% of people who have died of the virus in the United States — or about 600,000 of the nearly 800,000 — have been 65 or older. Americans over 65 account for 16% of the population.

72% of Americans have been vaccinated, approximately 240 million of us.

According to data from the CDC, 53.8 million Americans have received at least one booster shot.

Currently, there are 4,542 patients in Pennsylvania Hospitals with a Covid diagnosis. Last winter at the peak there were 6,600. Currently there are 540 on ventilators. Last year, at its peak, there were almost 900 on ventilators. 

TWO

Omicron is FOUR times as infectious as Delta! The case fatality rate may beFOUR timeslower than Delta! It will be the dominant strain in London this week and the dominant strain in Britain soon thereafter.

While Omicron cases in the U.S. are growing, they have been mild, and not a single death in the USA has been attributed to it yet. In a report published last week by the CDC that reviewed the first 43 cases of the variant detected in America, only onewas severe enough to require hospitalization, and that person was discharged after only two days. This supports initial reports from South African and British officials that cases of the variant were mild compared to those of the Delta variant or earlier Covid strains. Still, the data is preliminary, with a very small sample size.

A two-shot course of the Pfizer vaccine may have just 22.5% efficacy against symptomatic infection with the Omicron variant, but may prevent severe disease, according to laboratory experiments at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa. Scientists found Omicron resulted in about a 41-fold reduction in levels of neutralizing antibodies produced by people who had received two doses of the Pfizershot, compared with the wild-type strain detected in China two years ago. 

Preliminary U.K. data released on Friday showed that boosters from Pfizer improved protection against the Omicron variant to as much as 75% in the early days after the shot. 

TAKE HOME-

Any patient - even an unvaccinated one! - has less to fear from Omicron than Delta. Vaccine protection appears to be much lower against Omicron. A recent booster improves vaccine protection against Omicron. So far, there is no indication of the duration of that added protection. 

Within weeks Omicron is likely to become the dominant strain in America. This is predicted to happen in the first or second week of January. This will mean quickly rising case rates and possibly much higher hospital Covid numbers. This may be GOOD news if it remains less severe than Delta. If so, patients in our hospitals will be admitted for other problems and just have Covid as an incidental finding or as a secondary diagnosis. The challenge will be treating patients differently based on their degree of illness and not just their Covid diagnosis.  

THREE

Outdoor transmission of Covid is incredibly rare. A review of CDC data shows that less than 0.1% of Covid cases were transmitted outdoors.

There have been NO REPORTED CASES of outdoor transmission walking, jogging, or biking. Professional and College sporting events have Not become super spreader events.

TAKE HOME-

Wearing masks outdoors is unscientific behavior and is not necessary even under very crowded conditions.  

FOUR

A National Bureau of Economic Research study on the impact of the COVID-19 policy responses on excess mortality, and a RAND Corporation study reported the same results. Both studies measured the change inexcess deathsfollowing the implementation of lockdown policies in 43 countries and all 50 states. Quantified changes in the number of excess deaths after the implementation of a Lockdown policy found thatfollowing the implementation of lockdown policies, excess mortality INCREASED!

TAKE HOME-

The knee jerk reaction to Omicron will be more Lockdowns as is happening in Europe and New York.

Lockdowns were initially proposed to save lives. The prescription to compel other's behavior for their own good came from governments everywhere. The mania to suppress the virus by ending person-to-person contact has been extended for two years. This has been based onABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE. This happened in Pennsylvania and all over the world. The mania achieved nothing positive because the virus paid no attention to the lockdowns and no attention to the rules. Science is uncertain, because of that, civilized societies operate on the presumption of the freedom to choose. The people who did this were so sure of themselves that they ignored all the evidence to achieve their goals, none of which came to be achieved at all. In fact, lockdowns only served to wreck our economies and increase Covid excess mortality.


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