March 29, 2021

Hang in there a little longer

Some data we have all been waiting for was released today. The CDC released real world data showing that the two mRNA vaccines prevent infections of SARS-CoV-2, not just serious COVID-19. They decrease 80% of infections after one dose and 90% after two doses. We already had data showing that vaccines protected health care workers, but this data is exciting because the sooner we can get people vaccinated, the faster we can re-open and be together again.

But at the same time we have this very reassuring news, we hear that US cases are up 16% over the past week with hospitalizations climbing as well, and not all those infections are due to the new variants. Much of the rise is due to relaxation of restrictions. Our new CDC director warned today of “impending doom” as cases rebound. The new administration is also calling on governors and states to slow down re-opening of their states and encouraging mask wearing to help the immunization efforts catch up. Dr. Walensky made an emotional plea, speaking from experience as an infectious disease doctor treating the gravely ill last year. I was moved and sobered by her plea.

As much as we want to relax, we need to hang in there just a bit longer, encouraging mask wearing and distancing. I am not quite ready to eat indoors at a restaurant. Here in King County, the health department is making great progress in the vaccination effort, 1 million doses administered, averaging more than 19,000 doses a day. I am excited to see the increasing availability of the vaccines with more getting access, but am sobered by the fact that more than 600 variants of the SARS-CoV-2 have been found in the state and cases are rising here. That means until we know more about the variants and how the vaccines work against them, masking up is still the safest thing to do. Now it is a race with immunizations vs the rise in cases to avoid more deaths and disability, because long term effects of COVID-19 infections are real for many people. We don’t want more to suffer.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, outdoors if possible, and help people get their vaccine by helping someone get scheduled if they are having trouble.

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.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7013e3.htm?s_cid=mm7013e3_w

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210323150803.htm vaccines on workforce

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/29/cdc-chief-warns-us-headed-for-impending-doom-as-covid-cases-rise-again-right-now-im-scared-.html

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/coronavirus-cases-are-rising-again-in-the-u-s/

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/pfizer-moderna-vaccines-90-effective-in-preventing-coronavirus-infections-in-u-s-study-of-essential-workers-cdc-says/

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/29/us/covid-cases-vaccines-eligible.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/03/29/press-briefing-by-white-house-covid-19-response-team-and-public-health-officials-21/

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/91853

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/vaccination.aspx

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/washington-state-has-found-more-than-600-closely-watched-coronavirus-variants/