Connect with us

Pandemic

US coronavirus: Covid-19 surge is ‘unprecedented’

Published

on

“We are seeing an increase in patient numbers again that is unprecedented in this pandemic,” said Dr. James Phillips, chief physician of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital.

“What happens to the rest of the country could be very serious. And you have to be prepared.”

“Our health system is in a very different place than it was in previous breakthroughs,” said Dr. Esther Choo, professor of emergency medicine.

“This strain is so contagious that I think we all know many, many colleagues who are currently infected or have symptoms and are in quarantine,” said Choo, associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University.

“We’ve lost at least 20% of our healthcare workforce – probably more.”

Don’t get a false sense of security with Omicron

Early studies suggest that the Omicron variant could cause less severe illness than the Delta variant, which still accounts for a significant proportion of Covid-19 cases in the United States.

However, with Omicron being much more contagious, the raw number of Covid-19 hospital admissions could worsen, said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“With so many, many cases, there is still a risk that Omicron’s hospital admissions will be lower than Delta, even if the hospitalization rate could put a strain on the healthcare system.” said Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

And Omicron might be more problematic for young children, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration.

“It now appears, based on a lot of experimental evidence that we have only received in the last two weeks, that this is a milder form of the coronavirus,” Gottlieb told CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“It appears to be more of an upper respiratory disease than a lower respiratory disease. That’s good for most Americans. The one group that this may be a problem for are very young children – toddlers – who have problems with upper respiratory infections. “Said Gottlieb, a current board member at Pfizer.

“This new strain, in turn, may have an upper-respiratory preference, which could be more of a challenge for young children as it attaches to airway cells.”

School districts are being removed from children after record-breaking Covid-19 hospital admissions

As millions of students prepared to return to school, new Covid-19 pediatric hospital admissions hit a record high.

In the week ending December 28, an average of 378 children with Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals every day, according to CDC data.

What Parents Should Know About Their Children During Omicron.  to send back to school

That is 66% more than in the previous week. It also breaks the previous record of 342 set during the delta variant surge earlier in the school year.

With the more transferable variant of Omicron, some schools may want to postpone personal learning, said pediatrician Dr. Peter Hotez.

“There may be some school districts where things are so raging about Omicron for the next few weeks, and it may be wise to postpone things for a few more weeks,” said Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“It’s going to be a very challenging time,” said Hotez. “People will have to be patient.”

In Georgia, at least five major school districts in the Atlanta area will begin distance learning this week.

Colleges and K-12 schools adjust schedules and requirements as Covid cases increase

“Due to the rapid increase in positive cases in the greater Atlanta area, students will begin virtual classes Tuesday January 4th through Friday January 7th,” the Atlanta Public Schools announced on Saturday.

“Our current plan is to resume face-to-face classes on Monday, January 10th,” said the school district.

“All APS employees must report to their workplace for mandatory COVID-19 surveillance tests on Monday, January 3rd, unless they are sick. The data from the personal tests will be used for future planning.”

APS said the goal is to test students and staff and isolate and quarantine them as needed, according to guidelines from the CDC and the Department of Health.

Four other nearby school districts – in Fulton County, DeKalb County, Rockdale County, and Clayton County – announced that they would offer temporary distance learning after the vacation.

“Omicron is really everywhere”

Across the country, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant is having an impact on businesses, transport and emergency services.

“Omicron is really everywhere,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s School of Public Health.

Vacation flight cancellations are increasing sharply due to Covid-19 disruptions and bad weather

“What I’m making me so concerned about in the next few months or so is that our economy will shut down – not because of federal or state government policies, but because so many of us are sick.”

In New York, personnel problems led to the closure of several subway lines, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority said last week.

And the city’s emergency services have been instructed not to transport stable patients with flu-like symptoms so they can prioritize those in emergencies, according to instructions from the fire chief, department head, chief of emergency services and chief medical officer to New Year’s Eve director. The policy, which includes limited exemptions, applies to the New York Fire Department and volunteer hospital providers on the city’s 911 system.

In Ohio, the mayor of Cincinnati declared a state of emergency after a rise in Covid-19 infections led to staff shortages at the city’s fire department.

The mayor said that if the issue is not addressed, it will “severely undermine” first responders’ readiness.

And thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed as staff and crew members call in sick. Long lines form for Covid-19 PCR testing in Stamford, Connecticut on December 28th.

The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated, experts say

While fully vaccinated Americans can become infected with Omicron, they are less likely to get seriously ill than the unvaccinated, health experts say. Doctors across the country say most people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

“What we are seeing is that our vaccinated patients do not get sick and our frail patients with multiple comorbidities need an admission, but their admissions are shorter and they can leave the hospital after several days,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

It won't be a pandemic forever.  That could be next

“Our unvaccinated patients are the sickest patients,” she said. “They are the patients most likely to be on the ventilator.

“We’re running out of tests,” added O’Neal. “We have run out of space. We are flooded in the emergency room.”

Despite annual calls from public health experts to get vaccinated – and now increasingly – only about 62% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And about 33.4% of those fully vaccinated received their booster doses, the data shows.

“If you aren’t vaccinated, this is the group that is still most at risk,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “The adults admitted to my facility are still unvaccinated.”

CNN’s Ben Tinker, Alta Spells and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pandemic

During COVID-19, even psychiatrists need self-care

Published

on

It’s no secret that the events of the past two years have taken an extraordinary toll on most people’s mental health and well-being. COVID-19 has caused distress and grief for many people and likely contributed to higher reported levels of anxiety and depression compared to pre-pandemic years.

A 2020 American Psychiatric Association public opinion poll found that 62% of American adults were more anxious than the year before. Then another APA poll this year found that a third of Americans rated their mental health as fair or poor. As we head into the new year, it’s likely that the ongoing uncertainty means general anxiety, frustration and fatigue will also persist.

Despite these challenges, the start of a new year is always an opportunity to reflect, to leave the past behind and work toward positive change. However, it’s important to realize that most meaningful changes don’t happen overnight.

So as you ponder your goals for 2022, try not to forget that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Realistic goals may be smaller, but they’re no less valuable and can feel just as good as those big goals when they’re accomplished.

Here are my goals for the new year. I’ll try to focus on the things I can control. Yes, even a psychiatrist can work to improve their own mental health.

And as it turns out, I’m not alone with this plan, the APA reported that one in four Americans is planning a mental health New Year’s resolution, from DIY steps like taking time to meditate or journaling to seeking help a therapist or psychiatrist.

Building resilience and improving mental health and well-being are big tasks that require small but very important steps to get started. Some of the key things I do and advise my patients to do to support their mental health are:

• Take time each day to think. Just a few minutes can make a difference.

• Practice self-care.

• Reach out to others—via email, SMS, phone, or in person. Remember you are not alone.

• Volunteer, donate, be altruistic.

• Spend less time looking at screens.

• Keep a schedule and plan ahead.

• Embark on a creative project or revive a hobby you’ve neglected.

• It’s okay not to be okay. Get professional help if needed.

My primary resolution is to conduct my profession by focusing on the prevention of public health issues that negatively impact mental health. We refer to these as the social determinants of mental health.

With large groups of people, we can avoid the need to treat the aftermath of years of violence, poverty and trauma. I believe it can be easier to address the big issues, like our history of structural racism, misogyny, disregard for indigenous culture, and many other equally important issues, if we can improve our approach to public health individually.

But just like with personal goals, meaningful cultural change doesn’t usually come quickly. We must have patience – both with ourselves and with others as we work to make the future better.

There’s no denying that the last two years have been tough. But taking individual steps to take care of ourselves and our mental health can be the first steps to addressing some of these long-standing difficulties this country faces.

Vivian Pender is President of the American Psychiatric Association. She wrote this column for the Dallas Morning News.

See the full opinion section here. Do you have an opinion on this topic? Send a letter to the editor and you might get published.

Continue Reading

Pandemic

Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks reported at Denver metro schools as omicron spreads

Published

on

DENVER — The omicron variant continues to spread in Colorado, accounting for 100% of all new cases, according to CDPHE.

It has made its way into schools as counties are now reporting multiple outbreaks, even those with measures.

As demand for safer learning environments grows, a group of students at Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School plan to drop out next week if Denver Public Schools fail to meet their demands.

“[We have] 545 signatures so far. I think it’s amazing,” said 10th grader Haven Coleman on Saturday.

She is one of five students who helped create a petition on Change.org. Students are demanding that the district equip schools with N95 or KN95 masks, improve filtration in classrooms, conduct COVID-19 testing twice a week, improve and integrate virtual learning, and add weather-protected outdoor areas.

“We can see that tons of kids are still getting sick, still tons of outbreaks, and we have to change things,” Coleman said.

Though DPS is implementing a vaccination mandate for teachers and staff and requiring masks for everyone regardless of vaccination status, the district reports that at least 58 schools have five or more active cases. These schools meet the CDPHE definition of an outbreak.

Coleman’s school has at least 20 reported cases, but she worries that number could be higher.

“I know that our district has many more mandates than other districts. But that’s not enough,” she said.

In Douglas County, where there is no vaccination or mask requirement for teachers or students, the district is reporting outbreaks in at least five schools. However, some parents say more may be added to this list soon.

“We don’t know the nature of the exposure. We don’t know the true risk to our child because there are so many cases at the school at this point, so it’s upsetting,” said parent Amy Winkler.

She received an email from her child’s middle school, Mountain Ridge, on Friday notifying her that there was also an outbreak and more than 10 people reported having COVID-19.

“My kids wear masks to school, but the kids around them don’t wear masks, so we know they’re at risk of catching COVID from them,” Winkler said.

She and other parents are calling for universal masking regardless of immunization status, which the district deviated from on Dec. 8 when it lifted the mask mandate.

But in a video to the county this week, the health department president said all restrictions are being considered based on severity metrics such as hospitalizations and deaths, rather than case counts.

“Rather than responding to case numbers, we will respond to severity, rather than responding with fear-driven mandates and restrictions,” said Doug Benevento, president of the Douglas County Board of Health.

It’s unclear how sick students get with COVID-19, especially those who are vaccinated, but Coleman says even with safety measures like a vaccination mandate and mask requirements at her school, it’s not worth the risk.

“This really sucks. We don’t want to catch COVID, and we don’t want to risk our lives just to get a decent education,” she said.

DPS Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero says that as omicron spreads, some schools need to go remote. At least 13 had done so this week through Friday, according to district data.

Similarly, the Douglas County School District is warning on its website that if teachers or school staff are affected by COVID-19, some classes, classes or schools may need to be remotely controlled for at least five days. A spokesman confirmed Saturday that no schools or classes will be removed.

In lieu of conditionality, the district has purchased 3,750 air purifiers to be installed in every classroom. It also offers N95 and surgical masks, but doesn’t require them.

Continue Reading

Pandemic

Partisan COVID-19 divide continues as Oklahoma schools, parents make tough decisions

Published

on

OKLAHOMA (KFOR) — Metro hospitals are on the verge of a slump as staff shortages continue and a surge in patients arrive, but health systems and first responders are not alone in their struggle. The latest surge is also affecting schools and workplaces across Oklahoma as state lawmakers continue to debate how to protect Oklahomaans from COVID-19 weeks ahead of the 2022 legislative session. Republicans are pushing back on federal vaccination mandates and want to translate these views into state law.

“Trying to debate with the federal government about who is in charge is not productive,” said Sen. Julia Kirt, D-OKC.

“It’s so politicized that more than ever I think it needs to be put in the hands of the individual citizen,” said Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman.

“Prior to 2020, vaccines were good,” said Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman.

OSDH: COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases across Oklahoma steadily increasing

Debate rages on at the Oklahoma State Capitol about how best to protect Oklahomaners from COVID-19. A day after the US Supreme Court lifted a federal vaccination mandate for large companies, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to do the same here.

“I’ve seen several bills that certainly just eliminate the mandates,” said Standridge, a pharmacy owner.

The COVID-19 vaccine is administered.

Standridge has authored one of at least seven bills restricting vaccination mandates. His bills allow employees to file claims against companies if they are injured after being asked to get the shot.

“If you force someone to put something, a chemical, into their body, you should be held accountable for the results,” he said.

Data: ICU beds are not available in major Oklahoma City metro hospitals

Senator David Bullard, R-Durant, also filed a bill Friday that would make it “unlawful for any federal or state agency, political subdivision, or corporation contracted with the state to require any Oklahoma resident.” , a COVID-19 vaccine or a variant thereof.”

Senate Democrats say this sounds more like political theater and pushing back on the federal government.

“They’re really taking advantage of the political climate regarding COVID,” Boren said.

“We need to stop the spread of COVID instead of arguing about who has control of what part,” Kirt said.

Meanwhile, school districts across the Sooner State have closed their doors or switched to virtual learning because so many teachers have contracted COVID.

4. COVID-19 vaccine being offered to some immunocompromised Oklahoma residents

Mid-Del Schools said Tuesday its students will be back in class but will be required to wear masks. However, the district said mask opt-outs filed earlier this year will continue to be honored.

Oklahoma City public schools previously announced that students would return to in-person study Tuesday. On Friday, the district said students will study virtually that day instead. However, OKCPS said there’s always a chance they’ll have to stick with online learning if there are still staffing issues next week.

“You know, when the school is closed, we have problems,” said Angelica Johnson, a parent at Norman Public Schools.

Norman Mayor tests positive for COVID-19 while teaching in Costa Rica

Johnson is just one of several parents who are being forced to choose between working or staying at home with their child. Luckily, the Norman Parks and Rec Department has stepped up and given parents at three locations $25 per child relief. The parents felt the care was worth the money.

“It was immeasurable how important it was to have her here to support me as a single parent,” Johnson said.

“We’re all a community that’s working on this right now,” said Mitchell Richardson, the supervisor of the 12th Avenue Parks and Rec Center.

Close modal

Suggest a correction

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending