I saw a headline a day or so ago about what people can do to protect themselves from the Delta variant when they are already vaccinated. I considered the suggestions and thought about the latest upsurge in new cases, hospitalizations, and daily deaths.
Yogi Berra warned us – this is déjà vu over again, except for a third time. First, we saw the initial surge, then the winter surge, and now a third surge. Why?
Contagiousness of Virus
https://baptisthealth.net/baptist-health-news/covid-19-roundup-higher-estimate-of-asymptomatic-carriers-supplements-and-symptoms-and-when-to-avoid-pain-meds/#:~:text=In%20a%20study%20out%20last,individuals%20who%20never%20experience%20symptoms. During the middle of 2020, the estimates were that up to about 40% of the people infected with coronavirus were asymptomatic (https://baptisthealth.net/baptist-health-news/covid-19-roundup-new-estimate-of-asymptomatic-carriers-use-of-face-coverings-varies-and-update-on-lingering-symptoms/). People were infected and never showed any symptoms of the virus.
Then, the non-symptomatic group of people – roughly the same size, around 40% – were asymptomatic for the first four or five days and then developed minor to mild symptoms of the virus. After that, both groups were highly contagious. The Alpha variant was popular in November 2020 (remember the second surge?) and was around 50% more transmissible or communicable than the original COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). The Delta variant rose to headline status in December 2020 in the United Kingdom and India. The Delta variant is estimated to be about 85% more contagious than the Alpha variant (https://www.path.org/articles/new-variants-will-covid-19-tests-still-work/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgb6IBhAREiwAgMYKRnuo4JnsxhU1Y562xQyKKa9HehrmWiCuQIkt1UnkNV4pS7d1z1DRLRoCTroQAvD_BwE).
So, we have the original virus that mutated to an Alpha variant that caused many cases, hospitalizations, and death during the winter months of 2020 in the United States. But, that came under control, and the Delta variant from other parts of the world walked in the door and has everyone shaking in their boots. The Delta variant is almost three times more contagious than the original coronavirus based on the infection rate estimates.
What Can Be Done?
https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/covid-delta-vaccine-cdc/2021/08/05/id/1031305/ Health officials tell us to get vaccinated. OK, that is sound advice. However, what is causing the rampant increase in new COVID-19 cases? I believe both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are responsible for the recent surge in new cases.
Meanwhile, what can be done? What worked to bring down the infection rate, hospitalizations, and daily deaths from the original virus and the Alpha variant? Avoiding people (social distancing), washing hands often, and face masks. Regardless of what people believe about any of those options, something worked.
Vaccinations appeared to have thwarted the Alpha variant. What about Delta? https://www.deseret.com/coronavirus/2021/8/7/22612038/delta-variant-uk-india-vs-us-predictions. However, may I offer a thought on what might be happening.
During the two previous surges, unvaccinated people were infecting other unvaccinated people because no vaccine or other approved medical option was available. Then, vaccines were available, and the number of new cases dropped quickly. We were told that the vaccines prevented hospitalizations and daily deaths. It is possible for vaccinated people to get infected, but they would not get severe symptoms that warranted hospitalization.
The early stories of vaccinated people becoming infected (and having symptoms) ran in the 1% range, especially for front-line healthcare professionals working with COVID-19 patients daily. That seemed to seal the deal; the vaccine prevented infection. However, it may not have.
My mind tells me that vaccinated people are still getting infected and not having symptoms – asymptomatic. The Delta is roughly three times more infectious than the original coronavirus strain; why would we not expect people, especially vaccinated people, to catch the virus, not having any symptoms, and infect the unvaccinated? I think it is quite possible.
What Might Work?
https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/05/05/india-approves-antiviral-drug-treating-covid-19-patients What worked in India? They did not have enough vaccines, and they developed anti-viral options to treat their population. As a result, at the height of their country’s pandemic, about 400,000 new cases of the Delta variant were reported daily, with just under 5,000 deaths daily.
The government of India, against the advice of the WHO, FDA, NIH, and CDC, started using the anti-viral, Ivermectin. As a result, ninety-seven percent of the new cases of COVID-19 were eliminated in five weeks. However, the states in India that chose not to use the anti-viral saw no relief from coronavirus.
Is an anti-viral option available for the United States? Probably not. It has not been tested in enough clinical trials for the powers to make a definitive statement about its efficacy and safety. The United States chose to go down the path of vaccines first, not anti-viral – although they were being developed side-by-side.
So, that option is off the table. I do not know if your personal doctor could prescribe it for you if you asked. It would be an off-label treatment if it were prescribed. What options are on the table?
If both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are driving the bus of new infections, then the social interactions of everyone must be addressed. Outside activities are safer than indoor activities. Short-time exposure is less risky than longer-time exposure. When you walk into the restaurant or store with a lot of people, turn around and go to another store with fewer people.
Order your meals to be delivered. I was not one for ordering online; however, the pandemic cured me of that problem quickly. I have no problem going to my computer (or phone) and ordering something I would have never done two years ago.
Delay travel if possible. If you can drive, consider it over flying. You are probably more at risk inside an airport (for hours) than inside an aircraft. Reconsider the value of whatever you do outside your home. If you do not need to be there, do not go.
Yes, paraphrasing and repositing Thomas Paine’s great quote, ‘these are times that try men’s souls.’ Personal responsibility is prime to your health.
I believe that vaccines might enhance the asymptomatic percentages of those carrying the virus. Vaccines prevent severe symptoms to reduce hospitalizations and to lower overall death rates. If they are successful at reducing the level of symptom severity, maybe it is possible for vaccines to increase the levels of asymptomatic from around 40% for the original COVID-19 virus to upwards of 80-90%.
If 90% of those vaccinated could become infected with the virus and never know it because they are asymptomatic, then it might partially explain why the number of new cases is increasing nearly exponentially. We are no longer looking at cases of unvaccinated people only being the ones who infect other unvaccinated people.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com