April 17, 2021

Safety first

We are starting to open up our social life a little now that Jamie and I are are both fully vaccinated. But we are still a little nervous about being indoors with others unmasked. That may come easier as more are fully vaccinated and the number of infections decreases. Right now the numbers of infections in King County are rising, and the hospitals are once again filling up with COVID-19 patients here and elsewhere.

Reports are coming in of breakthrough COVID-19 infections. These are infections that occur after someone has been completely vaccinated. These were expected, since the vaccines are only 90-95% affective. The numbers are low, about 5800 reported so far per the CDC, out of millions vaccinated. As many as 7% have been hospitalized and deaths are rare, but do occur.

An analysis of COVID-19 infections in US Marines, show that 10% of young men who already had COVID-19 were reinfected. They were mostly asymptomatic. Levels of COVID-19 antibodies were lower in those with actual COVID-19, prior to re-infection when compared with those that had received the COVID-19 vaccine This underscores the idea that the vaccines add another layer of protection even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

We know the UK variant is more widely circulating in the US now. That means, the risk of exposure to this variant is going up rapidly. It does transmit faster than the wild type virus. Fortunately, recent analysis of the data shows the B.1.1.7 does not cause more severe disease or death, even though that was the concern earlier. It does cause more infections.

What all this means is that we will need to continue are vigilance to avoid being infected or passing it on to someone else. Fortunately, we have more data that confirms that mask wearing and ventilation are the most effective way to avoid infection. Social distancing will continue to be a thing for a while, but we are lucky we are entering the time of year when being outside is possible. That is good for several reasons, especially since sunlight seems to be effective to keep the virus at bay. Wearing masks is still key, especially paying attention to materials and fit. Data about tracking carbon dioxide indoors is a way of measuring risk of COVID-19 transmission, which makes sense when we think about ventilation and distancing,

And as much as we all want to fly, it’s still problematic as airlines get busier and they start filling the middle seats. Longer flights are more risky because people are taking masks off to eat and drink. Keeping your mask on can protect you.

We are approaching 50% of eligible adults in the US having at least one vaccine which is amazing. We still have a long way to go to get to herd immunity. Those of us vaccinated are safer than we were, by all means, but we are not completely safe yet. Vaccine hesitancy is slowing us down. This is a bigger puzzle to solve for our country and the world.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe in a well ventilated area.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/92071 breakthrough inf

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/14/health/breakthrough-infections-covid-vaccines-cdc/index.html

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/92113 young men covid 2x

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/04/15/coronavirus-young-adults-reinfection-study/7161618510951/

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/uk-variant-isnt-linked-severe-disease-death-study-finds-rcna658

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210405123311.htm masks/vent

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210413110636.htm masks social dis

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210408212954.htm sunlight

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210407143809.htm carbon dioxide

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210402143348.htm mask material

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210416120059.htm

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/cdc-vacant-middle-seats-cut-risk-of-coronavirus-exposure/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/tips/flights-eat-drink-vaccine-covid/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/covid-vaccine-states-distribution-doses/?itid=sf_coronavirus_sn_covid-vaccine-states-distribution-doses_3