Articles Posted in Testing

cdcvax7may2021-300x165The campaign to quell the coronavirus pandemic is a lot like a Herculean tug of war now, with the prospect tantalizingly near of  pulling a big measure of success over the line.

The Biden Administration, to its credit, is not easing a bit in conveying the urgency of its task in dealing with a disease that has infected more than 32 million in this country and killed at least 576,000 — roughly equivalent to the population of Baltimore.

At the same time, more than 148 million Americans older than 18 have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, roughly 57% of the adult population. Those statistics, as shown in the chart above from federal experts, were reported as of May 7.

covidexcessdeathsa-21nyt-300x112Even as the latest coronavirus surge appeared to ease, including in hard-hit areas of the Midwest and Northeast, and as the federal government reported the nation has achieved key milestones in vaccinations, the battle to quell the pandemic also has entered the gnarly phase of grappling with the hesitant, the reluctant, and the  resistant.

The Biden Administration, urging continued progress against the coronavirus, reported the nation had met the president’s goal of administering 200 million shots even before the target of the first 100 days of his term.

As of April 23, the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported that 53% of Americans 18 and older had received at least one of two doses of available vaccines, and 81% of people 65 and older had done so.

faucijim-300x216An Ohio congressman got testy with one of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts, insisting that Dr. Anthony Fauci instantly cough up a metric to tell politicians and the public exactly when the coronavirus pandemic will end. Fauci declined to offer a simple 1-2-3 answer, trying to supply a nuanced and thoughtful response, instead.

The further anger his comments provoked may suggest it’s time to look yet again at the pandemic by the numbers. They do, indeed, tell a story but read it and them with care.

A tragic toll equivalent to noted U.S. metropolises

covidmichmayo-300x203The campaign to conquer the coronavirus pandemic is having its cautious optimism tested by a stubborn and concerning surge of cases in the Midwest and Northeast, as well as frustrating vaccine supply problems — worsened by manufacturing bungles in a Baltimore plant.

Expert forecasters now see options for how the crucial next several months could go in the battle against the disease. These include an effective vaccination program outpacing the rise of variants (including the B117 strain that has become the most common in this country) and quashing the pandemic, to the viral mutations getting out of control and the nation limping into persistent and unchecked infections for a long time.

In Michigan, where one of the worst outbreak rages (see Mayo Clinic hot spot map, above), the governor and state officials have found themselves in a public policy quandary, uncertain whether stern health restrictions may have lost their public support to be effective now after showing results before. But in California, officials are waiting and watching to see if plunging infections, hospitalizations, and deaths will reverse as they have elsewhere.

covidcases032721-235x300In 25 states, including in Virginia and Maryland, data show coronavirus cases are running higher than U.S. averages and staying high. In seven states, notably Michigan, new virus-related deaths are increasing.

A half dozen states have recorded hundreds of confirmed cases involving corona virus infections with a variant known as B 117 that was first detected in Britain and may be more contagious and lethal. States up and down both coasts and in the Upper Midwest have reported dozens of infections involving a variant first detected in South Africa and known as B 1351. It, too, is believed to spread more easily and cause greater illness and death.

Across the country, an average of 58,000 coronaviruses are occurring daily. The country has exceeded 30 million infections and the nation is approaching 550,000 deaths due to the disease.

cte-300x157With coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths falling from scary winter highs, the easing of public health measures may see young athletes returning fast to what are supposed to be the fun and educational benefits of organized sports.

But will players, and more importantly grownups, ensure that appropriate practices are followed to ensure kids not only are safe from coronavirus infection but also don’t suffer serious and lasting head injuries?

The Washington Post has posted articles that could provide important reminders about the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE — the degenerative brain disease associated with the repeated blows to the head.

cancerexam-300x225One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic may be showing up in tragic fashion: Cancer specialists say they are treating a wave of advanced cases in which patients might have benefited from earlier care had fear of Covid-19 infection not kept them away from doctors’ offices and hospitals.

The information about the harms of missed appointments, especially for important cancer tests and screenings, is, at present, more anecdotal than quantifiable in hard data, the New York Times reported. But the newspaper quoted doctors across the country reporting this:

“While it is too early to assess the full impact of the delays in screenings, many cancer specialists say they are concerned that patients are coming in with more severe disease. ‘There’s no question in practice that we are seeing patients with more advanced breast cancer and colorectal cancer,’ said Dr. Lucio N. Gordan, the president of the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, one of the nation’s largest independent oncology groups. He is working on a study to see if, overall, these missed screenings resulted in more patients with later-stage cancers.”

bidenaddress-300x194The national vaccination campaign has picked up measurable momentum. Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to recede from scary winter highs. Even cautious state and local officials are easing public health restrictions.

Can it be that the pandemic will be enough in check that Americans can look forward to small family barbecues for the Fourth of July?

President Biden, in his first national broadcast address on the anniversary of the global declaration of a coronavirus pandemic, described that goal as he talked both about the national and personal sorrow of dealing with the worst public health catastrophe in a century while also seeing palpable progress in reining in the disaster.

covidcasesnewcdcmarch21-300x157The nation has made significant progress, but the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, President Biden and top medical scientists say. That has not stopped a panoply of politicians from coast to coast from declaring a premature victory over the disease that has killed more than 520,000 Americans and infected  29 million people.

As infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have declined from scary peaks of recent months but still plateaued, governors in Texas and Mississippi rescinded coronavirus restrictions, abolishing mask requirements and allowing businesses to operate at 100% capacity.

Biden called the decisions “Neanderthal thinking.”

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