Since the start of the pandemic, we have all come a long way. The FDA has granted EUA’s for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer (for ages 12-15 and ages 5-11).
Meanwhile, Pfizer was fully approved for use by the FDA for people ages 16 and up. Meanwhile, three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for a booster dose. On top of that, US health regulators have authorized pills from Pfizer and Merck, which patients can take at home to treat COVID-19.
However, with the rise of the omicron variant, new cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are rising dramatically. According to the CDC, as of January 10, 2022, there is now a total of about 60,240,751 within the US.
Also, the CDC has listed the Delta Variant and the Omicron variant as variants of concern (VOC). A VOC is a variant where there is evidence of increased transmissibility, an increased severity in disease, a significant reduction in the neutralization of antibodies, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures. Here is a closer look at the current two variants of concern:
- First identified in South Africa
- Spreads more easily than other variants (including Delta)
- The severity of illness and death associated with this illness is still unclear.
- Breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people are most likely to happen- but vaccines are still effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Also, fully vaccinated people infected with this variant can spread the virus to others. This variant emphasizes the importance of vaccinations and boosters.
- First identified in India
- Spreads more easily than other variants
- May cause more severe cases than other variants.
- Expect breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated. However, vaccines are still effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. It can still spread even if individuals are fully vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Given the new rise in cases because of these variants, here are some recommendations on what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
- Get vaccinated
- Research shows that vaccines help reduce your risk of developing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
- Wear a mask
- The CDC recommends everyone 2 years or older to continue wearing a mask in public indoor settings and areas where there may be high community transmission (regardless of vaccination status).
- Social distance (6 feet)
- Individuals without symptoms can still spread the virus. Thus, it is recommended you stay at least 6 feet away from others in outdoor settings.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public space, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough and sneezes.
- Keep on your mask because you can cough or sneeze into it. Put on a new, clean mask as soon as possible. Wash your hands.
- If you are not wearing a mask, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw any tissues away in the trash and immediately wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer if you are unable to).
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly or after you have visitors (or if someone gets sick).
- Monitor your health and how you are feeling every day.
- It is recommended that you use a self-test before gathering indoors with others who are not in your household (to prevent any risk of spreading the disease to someone else).
- If you test positive, isolate yourself and inform any close contacts.
If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, please look further into these links:
- For more COVID testing info, please visit- https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/coronavirus-testing/
- For more information on our free COVID-19 Clinical Trials, please visit: https://www.fomatmedical.com/covid-19-active-trial/