My phone is ringing again, never a good sign. Cases are rising as the graph shows and these are under reported since most of the cases are diagnosed from home tests. 50% of Americans got Omicron earlier in the year. Unfortunately, the immune response to Omicron was weaker than to previous variants and people are getting reinfected. Fortunately, for patients at risk for progression to severe Covid 19 Paxlovid, an antiviral medication, is more plentiful than with the last surge. Not all pharmacies have it and it sometimes takes a few phone calls to locate a packet. For patients at higher risk or more severe symptoms, but who do not require hospitalization, a new monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab is available. It is stratified according to risk factors and may take several days to obtain an infusion which is usually given at home.
Here is a list of medical conditions that place people at higher risk:
• Older adults
People of any age with the following:
• Chronic kidney disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Chronic lung diseases
• Cystic fibrosis
• Dementia or other neurological conditions
• Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
• Heart conditions
• HIV infection
• Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
• Mental health conditions
• Overweight and obesity
• Physical inactivity
• Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
• Smoking, current or former
• Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
• Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
• Substance use disorders
Here are steps that you can take to reduce your risk as case numbers rise.
- Make sure you’re up to date with Covid vaccinations and boosters for which you’re eligible. IT TAKES 2 WEEKS TO GET A FULL RESPONSE TO A BOOSTER. IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE, GET A SECOND BOOSTER NOW EVEN IF YOU HAVE HAD COVID 19.
- Have a supply of high-quality masks you can wear in indoor settings.
- Ensure that you have a supply of rapid antigen tests; one pack per family member is a good rule of thumb.
- Improve indoor ventilation when you have visitors over or if someone in your household gets Covid-19.
And, if you test positive, follow the latest guidelines recommended by the CDC and your doctor.
BE ALERT AND TAKE PRECAUTIONS IF CASE COUNTS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS CONTINUE TO RISE. IF YOU THINK YOUR ALLERGIES ARE SUDDENLY WORSE, TEST.