Tri-Town Health Department’s COVID-19 replace for June 22

For the fifth week in a row, new COVID-19 circumstances in Southern Berkshire have gone down and our county is now on the Low/Green degree of CDC Community COVID-19 Impact. Community transmission of the virus has dropped by two-thirds since early May. The quantity of PCR testing has gone down by solely half since then, indicating it is a true decline and never simply fewer individuals getting examined. Pittsfield’s wastewater samples present a major decline for the third week in a row. While reported case numbers are nonetheless about double our lowest numbers thus far this yr from mid-March (see middle graph on the dashboard), that is all nice information, for a number of causes.

1) Less COVID virus circulating in the neighborhood = Safer occasions and socializing typically this summer season. Folks at excessive danger for extreme illness and their family members are nonetheless higher off masking with a KN95 in the event that they’ll be indoors for prolonged durations with these exterior their social circle, however for everybody else, that is in all probability as worry-free of a time as we’ll have for some time.

2) Low summer season transmission = A greater start line for the possible wave of recent infections we’ll see this fall and winter. The proportion of BA.4 & BA.5 Omicron subvariant infections continues to develop within the Northeast and across the nation. They have advanced to raised escape our vaccine- and pure infection-derived immunity by a protracted shot, in comparison with the earlier variations of COVID virus we’ve handled thus far. Starting with fewer circumstances in September means a slower charge of development, not less than initially.

3) Low group viral ranges = Time to rise up to hurry with vaccinations and boosters earlier than fall. Everyone 6 months and up is now eligible for the first collection. Everyone 5 years and up is eligible for a booster (5 months since final shot). Everyone who’s immune-compromised or over 50 is eligible for a second booster (4 months since first booster). Those who obtained J&J as their main vaccine have been proven to have little or no safety towards an infection with an Omicron variant of the virus and are extremely really helpful to obtain a Pfizer or Moderna booster ASAP.

This is the second to mirror on what the final 12 months have been like. Since the Delta after which Omicron variants emerged in July 2021, the vast majority of us have used sick go away or misplaced revenue from being uncovered or contaminated. Many of our youngsters missed every week or extra of college for a similar causes, typically with minimal signs. And sadly, a lot of our older family members discovered themselves alone, frighteningly sick at dwelling, or in a nursing dwelling, and even needing to be hospitalized. In South County alone, over 20 individuals died of COVID-related causes prior to now yr.

Our preliminary conception of the COVID-19 vaccines—that they’d be a magic bullet to eradicate the virus perpetually and return our lives to “normal”—must be up to date, not less than till we see one other technological breakthrough. What the unique vaccine formulations (and the newer ones being studied now) have achieved is a large discount in our danger of hospitalization and loss of life. As the virus continues to evolve in its transmissibility and signs, we have to evolve our considering as effectively. So far, most individuals have skilled COVID-19 as solely a chilly or flu. But over 1 million U.S. residents have died—our COVID and extra loss of life charge far exceeds most different international locations in our revenue bracket. And we nonetheless don’t know precisely why this virus generally randomly assaults the our bodies of in any other case younger and wholesome individuals, even infants, the best way it does. Heck, half of kids underneath 5 who’ve been hospitalized for COVID have had no prior well being points in any respect. And regardless of the loud, typically wildly inaccurate voices of the extremely organized anti-vaxx motion, the fact is that short- and long-term dangers of vaccination are only a tiny fraction of the short- and long-term well being dangers of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Scientific analysis continues to verify this, again and again, however it may be onerous to listen to amidst the anti-vaxx noise.

This summer season is an efficient time to purchase your self and your family members a while. Time to journey, time to attend an necessary occasion, time to calm down somewhat. We all deserve that. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

Image courtesy of Tri-Town Health Department.

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