In the midst of the third year since COVID emerged, and the upcoming end to the federal public health emergency declaration, pondering where we are regarding the pandemic and where we are heading should be a top priority. Unfortunately, some individuals believe the pandemic is either over or never going to end, leading to detrimental behavior both for themselves and others.

According to Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of Research and Development at the St. Louis VA Healthcare System and clinical epidemiologist at Washington University, while reinfections from COVID are a serious concern, vigilance—not complacency or denial—is the key.

By continuing to take common sense steps like being fully vaccinated, masking, testing, and using social distance, we can reduce the hundreds and sometimes thousands of Americans killed or hospitalized as a result of COVID each week, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color.

In an interview with the AmNews, Al-Aly said that “we certainly think that reinfection contributes additional risk, so we’re not saying re-infection necessarily is. . .worse than the first. We’re saying that if you got infected the first time, you may have dodged the bullet the first time and did not get Long COVID when you get re-infected…[It] doesn’t mean that every time you get infected, you’re going to dodge the bullet…the second infection might be milder, but could still contribute additional risks for both an acute phase and in the Long COVID phase, so I think [it] is very important for people to [realize] that we’re not really out of the woods yet…it’s still very, very important for people to really wrap their heads around [this].”

Al-Aly co-authored a paper entitled “Long COVID after breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection” whose authors found that “vaccination before infection confers only partial protection in the post-acute phase of the disease; hence, reliance on it as a sole mitigation strategy may not optimally reduce long-term health consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings emphasize the need for continued optimization of strategies for primary prevention of BTI [breakthrough infections] and will guide development of post-acute care pathways for people with BTI.”

The authors’ takeaway is that COVID as a disease is to be avoided and that relying on any one measure to prevent COVID infection is not as effective as using multiple methods. Vaccines are effective in reducing the worst outcomes of COVID, but the best strategy is to avoid contracting COVID at all.

The authors explored the notion of giving up and said at least one specific population cannot afford to take such a stance: “The end of the COVID public health emergency is near, but that’s small consolation to the estimated 7 million to 10 million immunocompromised Americans who are soldiering on with a dwindling number of tools to protect them.”

In an interview with the AmNews, Lisa McCorkell, one of the co-founders of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, an organization made up of Long COVID patients who are also researchers in fields such as biomedical research, neuroscience, cognitive science, public policy, and health activism, reflected on where we are headed and what continuing to ignore COVID will do in the long term to all of us.

“Right now, we are nowhere near eradicating COVID,” she said. “It’s continuing to kill people at a very high rate, it is continuing to disable people at a very high rate. It’s not too late to take action on that and to prevent as many cases as possible moving forward. I think there are several ways to do that.

“From a public health perspective, we need data-driven mask requirements so that when cases increase, we require masks indoors…to prevent the spread and to protect people who are more vulnerable. We need better ventilation and investments in ventilation and UVC lamps and other mitigations that are proven to reduce COVID spread.

“Ultimately, we need a paradigm shift in how we view disabled people and how we respond to a community problem, because at this point, we are viewing it as an individual issue when it’s a public health issue, and we’re not caring for the most vulnerable among us and not even caring for our future selves.”

For additional resources about COVID-19, visit www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/index.page or call 311. COVID-19 testing, masks, and vaccination resources can also be accessed on the AmNews COVID-19 page: aficionperu.com/covid/.

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1 Comment

  1. Sorry but your information is stilted to support a narrative that has proven false and is causing more harm that good. The drugs being pushed are not vaccines by any stretch of the definition. Even Fauci and Walensky have testified that they neither prevent disease nor prevent transmission. However the adverse reactions to the drugs on in the millions with deaths in the 100's of 1000's. VAERS reports are at best only 1% of the negative effects of these drugs. What is known shows the harmful effects of the Spike protein which does not improve immunity. Natural immunity is always best but it does not make for the billions in profits from mandating a new drug. FYI, covid in less than 2 years created 500 new billionaires while increasing the wealth of the top 1-10% about 30%. To the contrary, the vast number of working people and many middle class people lost much of their wealth which may never be recovered. The cost of covid is in the billions with no benefit to the people.

    Public health is critical but masks are not the answer. Actually there is no benefit to wearing them for viruses-not one study that shows this. But many that do show their harm. Fungal infections on the face is one small harm. Probably the biggest one is how they were used to control the population and keep people apart. The impact on young children is severe. Babies deprived of the social contact and freedom to see faces are not developing well and psychologists are saying they have lost up to 22 IQ pts! Suicide for young people is up as well as obesity which promotes Type 2 Diabetes. FYI, even the WHO and Fauci have been on record saying the only value for masking is controlling the population and giving them something to do! Not very good reasons for conformity.

    If you listen to what other countries are doing you will find they have backed away from mandates as well as even recommending the drugs. The UK recommended no drugs for the under 50 and then under 70 beginning over a year ago. Thailand ceased drugging after the Kings daughter reacted to the drug and died. Other countries have the same reactions. And if you follow any of the scientist and doctors who raise questions, which is exactly what they should do, it is clear that we have been fed fake numbers and lies about the adverse effects and deaths and the lack of benefit for an illness that is no worse than a flu. When we have 95-98% of people who get sick recovering we have no pandemic of illness. What we were sold was a pandemic of fear. And as FDR would say “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is a powerful tool for controlling people and getting them to submit to all forms of repression

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