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COVID cases and hospitalization rates had a relatively small peak in early January but have been steadily down in North America since.
The world is now far enough past the 2023 Lunar New Year’s celebration that we can say that it did not result in a significant surge in cases.
In the United States, as of last week, about 70% of counties in the country have moved to the CDC “low community impact” designation
The greatest unknown at present is the effect of the Lunar New Year regional and global travel on case growth.
A new variant has taken center stage and predictably, mainstream news organizations are saying this is the “most infectious variant ever seen.”
We are at a very different place heading into the holiday season than we were last year, and with some forethought and precautions, we all can have a good end of the year.
This flu season is bad compared to recent years. But it’s not just flu. Thankfully, we are not seeing significant increases in COVID rates.
This may be hard to believe, but the first human infection with SARS-CoV2, probably occurred right around now, three years ago.
The impact of COVID continues to decline with 80% of US counties in the CDC “Green” level and only just over 2% remaining in the “Red” level.
We are expecting to see the current low levels of flu activity will end and we will start to see the typical early signs of flu season.
Today is the first full day of fall, which is also the typical beginning of cold and flu season, and potentially COVID resurgence season.
The biggest news this week is the authorization and distribution of the new “bivalent” vaccine for COVID-19.
The FDA formally authorized (EUA) updated COVID-19 boosters this week. We recommend that anyone who is eligible for this booster should get it.
While still a little too soon to say Monkeypox is on its way out, the peak in cases appears to have occurred about 3 weeks ago
Globally, there are about 38,000 cases of Monkeypox, in Europe there are roughly 19,000 cases and in the US there are nearly 13,000.
It is important to keep a couple of comparisons between COVID and Monkeypox in mind as you process the news about Monkeypox.
Case counts remain relatively flat in US, although there may be indications of beginning of a slight downward trend.
While there continues to be COVID news, over the last week, the media has been less focused on COVID and much more focused on Monkeypox.
What is driving most increases and keeping a floor under decreases is omicron BA4/BA5 and of those two, primarily BA5.
COVID is not going away easily. Omicron sub-variants BA4 and BA5 are rapidly replacing BA2 and BA 2.12.1 in much of the world.
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed many people having upper respiratory infections. Well, you are not imagining things.
One thing that is very clear is that we have lost control of good data on the dynamics of the COVID epidemic.
Omicron keeps churning out new variants, each being a little more infectious and a little bit further away from the original strains of COVID.
Looking at the dynamics of the epidemic, in North America, cases are up by about 13%, including over 25% in the United States.
Most areas of the world are shifting in mindset, from pandemic to endemic, what does that mean for day-to-day life?
For at least a few months maybe even into next year, it is very likely that people will continue to catch COVID at reasonably high rates.
This week, the FDA and CDC updated their authorization and guidelines to allow certain individuals to be eligible for another mRNA booster.
Last week was the second anniversary of the initial declaration of a national emergency related to COVID on March 13.
Over the coming week, we will have the 2-year anniversaries of the first Emergency Declaration by President Trump and the first school closures.
The downward trend in case numbers throughout the Americas has continued, with the 7-day average of cases down 30% in the last week.
The US CDC acknowledged that they have been withholding various aspects of statistical analysis out of fears that the data could be misinterpreted.
Most areas in Europe have seen, or will shortly see, the removal of vaccine passport restrictions in most settings.
New data has driven new recommendations on when to wear a mask. This will have implications for both businesses and individuals.
Late last week there were several news stories expressing concern that BA.2 should be considered a variant of concern
Cases in North America continue to fall at a fairly rapid pace but are still at levels higher than any other time in the epidemic.
Last week, it looked like some areas were starting to see the crest of the omicron wave, this week, the peaks have been confirmed.
Looking at the current epidemiology of omicron, it is responsible for over 98% of cases in the United States.
Omicron is extremely infectious, maybe even more than we thought, the data supports relative infectiousness compared to Delta at 2 or 3 times.
This week saw the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention own up to a very major error in their assessment of the spread of omicron.
In about 2 weeks omicron has gone from barely showing up in surveillance to being the dominant variant in circulation.
While there were many data anomalies due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the overall trend has been just very lightly upward.
The very first analyses of vaccine efficacy against omicron have started to come in from both Pfizer and Moderna.
The news this last week has been dominated by the omicron variant and what we know and don’t know about it.
Late last week, following data from South Africa, a new variant was rapidly displacing Delta as the primary COVID-19 variant in circulation.
This week, several major state health departments have made statements encouraging an expansive interpretation of the booster guidance.
Globally, Europe has once again become the main center of COVID case increases around the world.
The Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the recommendation for Pfizer COVID vaccination for children ages 5 to 11.
In the US, cases are continuing to decrease on a week-over-week basis, but the rate of decrease is shrinking.
In considering how to safely have a holiday gathering, the biggest question is how to hold an event at reasonable risk
One of our greatest concerns over the past couple of months has been why the COVID rate in the UK has remained stubbornly high.
A major alert went out today regarding a high number of false positives from the highly touted Ellume test kits from Australia.
The advisory committee on immunization practices and the CDC director weighed in on the final US government recommendations for vaccination.
It looks like much of the world is emerging from a summer of COVID and is now on the downward side of the epidemic curve.
Earlier this week, a formal internal advisory report from the US FDA said that the data did support boosters for the general population.
As of the middle of this week, new case rates are down in more than half of the United States and the overall rate is down approximately 5%.
Over the last week, between 5 and 10% of US states have seen a downward trend in the number of cases, but, the overall upward trend in the US has not turned around.
The big news of the last week is that the first Covid vaccine has been fully approved for full licensure in the United States.
The FDA authorized what is not a booster, but guidance that primary immunization for immunocompromised individuals should consist of 3 shots.
The major discussion this week is whether Delta is crowding out other variants so rapidly it will run out of susceptible hosts over a 6-8 week period.
For the fourth week in a row, COVID cases averaged across the United States have increased by about 50%, at 27 cases per 100,000 per day.
The effects of the delta variant have changed both the public and governmental attitudes away from a sense of being nearly over this.
North American and European Nations appear to have run into a wall on vaccination acceptance at about 50% of the population fully vaccinated.
In the US, over half of all new COVID cases appear to be due to the Delta variant and that will likely continue to increase.
As of this week, the Delta variant has become the predominant strain in the US, just as it is in the UK and in nearly all of Europe.
The Delta variant mutation caused a specific fold in the geometry of the spike protein that causes it to bind to cells more efficiently.
In the United States, COVID-19 case rates have decreased to three cases per hundred thousand per day.
Over the last few days, estimates are that the delta variant is responsible for 10% of all new cases in the United States.
In the US, over the last week, the rate of decrease in numbers of cases and deaths has fallen, and 20 states have seen an increase in cases.
In the United States case levels are down to levels not seen since the “14 days to stop the Virus” in March of last year.
In most of the world, the steady improvement trends continue. Even India has seen rates fall to roughly half of where they were 3 weeks ago.
The recent news is the CDC’s statement that in most situations people who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask either indoors or out.
In the United States cases dropped over 21% in the last week, now running at about 12 cases per 100,000 per day.
The US data continues to be going in the right direction with cases decreased by another 10% this past week.
Over last weekend, the US FDA and CDC jointly announced lifting the “pause” on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
After 5 consecutive weeks of a slow upward trend in U.S. cases, we have seen nearly a 12% drop in the case rates over the previous week.
The CDC and FDA recommended an immediate pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson single dose COVID-19 vaccine.
In the United States, the nation is still on track to be able to deliver the vaccine to all willing adults over the next 4 to 6 weeks.
The CDC announced data regarding the efficacy of the major vaccines against infections and infectiousness exceeds 90%.
We have not seen the predicted 4th wave in March, what we have seen is a flattening of what had been a steep decline in the number of cases.
Over the last week, the overall rate of the United States is only down by about 5%, but half of the states are actually ticking upward again.
It now appears that the pace of vaccination and the movement towards herd immunity has blunted the effect of more virulent COVID-19 variants.
The most important news this week is the approval and release of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine for COVID-19.
Real-world studies looking at vaccine effectiveness have confirmed Pfizer’s study findings of 95% efficacy after two doses.
In the United States, individual case counts have seen their lowest number over the previous two days since the middle of October 4 months ago.
In the United States, the overall rate of new COVID-19 infections decreased by nearly 1/4 in the last week.
In the US, the seven-day average of cases is down by over 46% from the peak during the second week of January.
In the US, cases are down about 20% from their post-New Year peak and similar downward trends are seen in Asia and Australia.
The United States and the United Kingdom have clearly crested the wave on their latest peaks in terms of new cases.
We are still in the midst of the biggest wave of COVID-19 cases yet in the US, with rates increasing throughout most of the world.
News this week has been dominated by vaccine issues. That is understandable, as vaccines are what will bring us out of this epidemic.
Two weeks ago, just about every state was seeing rapid increases in case numbers, currently, case numbers are decreasing throughout the US.
With the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is “when will I be able to get the vaccine?” and the answer is, “ it depends.”
This week marks two of the most important milestones in this entire COVID epidemic. The first person to receive a vaccine and formal independent review by the U.S. FDA.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, COVID rates have started to come off the highs that we saw through the month of November.
As of Wednesday, about 11 and a half million Americans are known to have been infected with SARS CoV2.
The combined effort of Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine has a 90% protective efficacy in vaccinated individuals.
There is very little news to report this week, so instead, we will look back at some of the original reports from March.
Year-end holidays are traditionally times when people travel distances to reunite friends and families, or even have simple parties to celebrate the milestones of another year. What we have learned over the past few months is that these types of events are exactly what fuels COVID-19 outbreaks and even spread as people take infections back with them when they go home.
There was a Large study announced this week from Australia addressing the survival of the virus on various surfaces. The virus can be recovered over a longer duration of time than previously thought.
In the US, current levels are at about 75% of the peak seen in mid-July, but they are still steadily rising…not as fast as of late June and early July, but there is no evidence of a new peak.