It seems a lot of folks I know, friends even, have been hit by COVID-19 despite being vaccinated–some even boosted. I feel for them and am almost waiting “my turn” as workplace exposures are becoming a thing now which are sending folks for testing.
Unfortunately, with the holidays and gatherings in in our present and future, testing facilities are having their supply demanded. I’ve pretty much cancelled my Xmas weekend with family and my tamales-making mood is effectively dead.
So, the conversation about breakthrough infections is also a thing. Even President Biden has told us to expect more of them as Omicron takes over as the main variant. Time magazine has an interesting article about breakthroughs.
Now that the world has largely reopened and a new, highly contagious variant is here, avoiding COVID-19 completely is no longer a realistic long-term plan, says Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine physician and associate dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.
“There is a high likelihood that most of us will catch COVID at some point,” Ranney says. “The goal of the vaccines is to delay that as long as possible, and then to make it so that, if and when we do catch COVID, it is as mild as possible.”
But that doesn’t mean we should abandon every precaution, Ranney says. For one thing, we’re still learning a lot about what Omicron can do. There are also unanswered questions about how often breakthrough infections lead to Long COVID and whether Omicron changes those odds.
Well, that’s just lovely.
The main worry is about the health care system and that even though vaccines and boosters will make things easier for most, that others will still need care, thus overrunning the system. Top that with medical staff who are already working with skeleton crews and the concern increases.
The main suggestion to flatten the curve? (Hadn’t heard that in a while): Mask and vaccine mandates. Well, since this is Texas, we are all on our own because of Greg Abbott’s death wish for most of us.
A reminder from one of the docs in the article.
“We need to do what we can to flatten the curve,” says Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, an infectious disease physician and associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “I’m thinking it’s going to be 10 weeks, 12 weeks until we’re able to relax a little bit and move into a normalized response.”
Then the article goes into treating COVID-19 as a normal part of life. In the future, that is.
Right now, someone with a breakthrough case of COVID-19 is supposed to isolate for 10 days after testing positive or developing symptoms, even though recent evidence suggests that vaccinated people may clear the virus faster. Before too long, she says, we’ll probably scrap that policy and move toward a more familiar approach, in which people stay home while they’re symptomatic but don’t necessarily pause their entire lives for 10 days. Someday, people may not even need to test or seek treatment, so long as they only have mild symptoms, Wurtz says.
But not yet!
Another way to be better prepared for spikes is to improve the socioeconomic problems of the United States. Well, the Build Back Better plan seems to be falling apart since it is not a priority for Joe Manchin or Kirsten Synema. Thanks to Biden, student loan debtors have a 3-month reprieve, but if the Docs in the article are correct, it’ll take that long to go back to the previous normal we experienced–the one where vaccinated folks went unmasked to holiday parties and ended up sick and giving it to others.
I tend to agree with Senator Bernie Sanders in that student loan debt needs to be cancelled completely. Take it out the Pentagon’s petty cash fund.
Needless to say, we are seeing talk of breakthrough infections normalizing. I guess that means someone is keeping a tally of them, now? Too bad no one seems to be listening.
Stay masked. Get vax’d and boosted. Get tested if you want to visit with family. Better yet, stay home!