Ensure that the surgical mask is double layered and fits snugly under the chin, over the nose and against the face without gaps. Looping the straps around the ears and knotting it may be helpful. Such techniques are 96.5% effective at preventing transmission. There are new guidelines out by the CDC suggesting two masks may be better than one. A well fitted surgical mask with a cloth overlay.
The UK Variant
A variant that first surfaced in the UK in September of 2020 known as B 1.1.7. is here in the US in over half of the states; Sunday, Feb 7, we were alerted to its presence in Kent County.
This UK variant is different from the original virus in that a) it is more easily passed on/transmissible making the virus b) more infectious. C) we do not know that the variant is more deadly d) presently, we have no reason to believe that current vaccines are incapable of dealing with the UK variant
The variant’s heightened transmissibility means that asymptomatic carriage is all the more concerning – the period during which the host doesn’t know they harbor the virus and could thus pass it on to many more people.
Just as we have seen a flattening of the curve – which means a relief on the health care system and hospitalizations and deaths, we could see a reversal of these numbers. This makes reenforcing the rules that much more real – do not let the guard down. MASK. Avoid crowds. Furthermore: if the numbers start to rise, we will undergo setbacks that will further dishearten people and the economy – closures of bars, businesses, and schools.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Requires one dose at this point. The study involved 45,000 volunteers across ages and races.
Can be kept in the refrigerator / does not require ultracold freezers. This has major implications for communities where getting ultracold freezers is not feasible.
Trial is completed here in the US and they have appealed to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization – EUA has been granted.
It is 85% effective at preventing serious disease. No deaths were seen. No allergic reactions like anaphylaxis were observed. It is 72% effective overall in the US. No hospitalizations. No deaths were seen.
Do not go it alone. Talk to your doctor. It you do not have a doctor, you can get in touch with anyone at the leading health facilities in West Michigan to get a new doctor or talk to a telehealth provider.
Do not avoid the ER. A decrement in visits to the ED for chest pain and stroke were seen throughout the height of COVID, leaving open the concern that people are avoiding health care professionals and possibly suffering non covid related death or injury due to fears of going to the ED
Healthful living is a choice and a lifestyle to include exercise, hydration, and adequate sleep.
Download an App such as CALM – a 10 minute daily guided breathing exercise.
Do not avoid your physician appointments – to the contrary, attention to hypertension, diabetes, weight, sleep apnea, COPD. smoking and physical well being is more urgent than ever before.
Emergency Room Visits
Do not avoid the ER should you have concerns for stroke, heart attack or any other possibly life altering conditions. The fear of COVID19 must be weighed against the fallout from unaddressed ailments. This makes attention to your overall health more pressing
Do NOT smoke more or pick up vaping. We know that vulnerable lungs are more susceptible to more severe COVID19 infection. Please do not use this time of stress or uncertainty to pick up habits that have never been medically sound or healthful.
Find a COVID distraction. One that makes you happy and preoccupies your time. My personal COVID distraction was the development of a YouTube channel entitled: Culinary Karma-One Dish with Dr. Abha.
Mental Health is of paramount importance. Getting sleep and meditating, walking, exercise are all stimulators of mental wellbeing. But do not be afraid to talk to your caring doctor about the need for a therapist, an antidepressant, or tools for getting through these tough times.
Affirmations: surround yourself with positivity. Know the facts but turn off the 24-hour news cycle, get off your phones, get a book you enjoy and read as a means of healthy distraction. Connect with loved ones and dear friends by phone or letters. Start a pen-pal correspondence with a long-lost friend or loved one and engage in a therapeutic card or letter writing endeavor. Friendships are imperative but must be done with health at the fore. If you have a pod and an arrangement to stay within a 2 or 3 person pod, great. But do not forsake your relationships, just be safe and selective to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Seeking Professional Help
This too shall pass – despair has no place. By engaging in healthful living and seeking counsel and help from trusted professionals, we will all see COVID19 affect fewer people and hopefully see the numbers plateau
WEAR THAT MASK WITH PRIDE – NOT AS AN IMPEDIMENT TO YOUR FREEDOM, RATHER AS A GUARANTEE THAT YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES AND THOSE WHOM YOU WALK AMONG HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE OF GATHERING SAFELY.
How do we all stay afloat and wait our turn for the vaccine?
Plan a Staycation
Pitch that tent and set up some lights! Make it a theme or celebrate a birthday!
Rekindle those conversations
… with friends and family here and abroad. Play a game of bingo or charades online.
Send out postcards
… people you know need some joy in the mail.
Sell an item online
… enjoy the process of negotiating with an interested buyer.
Adopt or rescue a pet
… to love and care for. They will also love and care for you.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The UK Variant: Each week we have spent time talking with local experts about the latest on COVID-19 around the world and especially here in Michigan.
Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Abha Gupta Varma joined us once again to discuss the latest on the UK Variant and travel restrictions. Dr. Abha also talked about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which could receive FDA approval soon.
We also talked with her about double-masking and making sure you keep your health in check throughout the pandemic.