The bad news: the COVID-19 disaster…
Lives lost to COVID-19 in the US, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, are about equivalent to the population of Kansas City, (Missouri) or Sacramento, California.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, all but matching the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.
The good news: What you do matters. Help is arriving…
Common question: What COVID-19 vaccines are available in the US?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine might prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 if you get the COVID-19 virus. A third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is in the approval process for emergency use authorization and will soon become available. The vaccine from Johnson & Johnson vaccine has the dual advantage of not requiring sub zero storage and requiring a single dose. As research continues and new variants identified, booster shots or vaccine changes may be required to acquire efficacy and immunity.
Trending locally in Kitsap County, Washington:
All counties in Washington state have now been advanced to PHASE 2 by Governor Inslee. This has allowed businesses and schools to inch incrementally toward normalization. In Kitsap County, children in the youngest grades have been attending school and older grade school children have just returned to school on Feb 22nd. Strict but reasonable precautions have facilitated reopening schools. Children and staff wear face masks indoors, distancing is provided between desks, number of children in a classroom at one time is limited. Face mask breaks are scheduled to allow students to have snacks outside. Parents and guardians attest to their students being symptom free, (as evidenced by absence of fever, COVID-19 symptoms), to assess exposure risk).
If you have already had the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the recommendation is that you can expect good immunity response after 10 – 14 days after the second dose. The current recommendations suggests, after vaccination, it still may be possible to carry virus and silently spread to unvaccinated. It will be important to continue precautions, of wearing face mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and frequent hand washing to protect yourself and others for this reason after your vaccination.
It is noteworthy that COVID-19 precautions have also had the benefit of lowering the incidence of other viral infections, such as influenza. Measures, like virtual meetings, working from home and participation in online forums have become familiar and commonplace. It will make sense to continue these post pandemic practices.
Trending in SEATTLE / King County, Washington
(Reported by KOMO) State and local health officials announced Tuesday that a variant of COVID-19, similar to what was found in South Africa, has been detected in King County, adding to the urgency to increase vaccinations in the region to halt spread of the virus and its effects. The variant, initially identified in South Africa, was identified Monday through genomic sequencing at the University of Washington Medicine Virology Laboratory, according to a written statement released by the Washington State Health Department.
There are two widely known variants so far, according to health officials:
- B.1.351, was originally identified in South Africa in December and has been found in ten states in the U.S. At this point, it is not known to cause more severe disease and it is not clear whether it spreads more readily than other strains, state health officials said.
- B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the UK, seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.
State and local health officials said the discovery of the B.1.351 variant poses a new challenge for Washington.
“The detection of these COVID-19 variants in our state reminds us that this pandemic is not over,” said acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist. “Despite the decrease in our case count, we are very concerned about the emergence of these variants and how it will affect future case counts. As a community, we need to re-double our efforts to prevent the spread of this virus and its variants by following public health guidance.”
To get a vaccine in Washington state:
Determine eligibility: Call 1-800-525-0127 or go to findyourphasewa.org
List of COVID-19 vaccine providers is posted at covidvaccinewa.org.
If you do not have internet or need help registering for your vaccine: Call 360-728-2219 (English) or 360-728-2218 (Spanish)
COVID-19 Risks versus benefits:
So you got your vaccine, what now?
After you are vaccinated: Remember to continue wearing face masks, frequent hand washing and maintain social distancing to protect the unvaccinated. Follow the science and the science based facts. Adhere to advice by CDC, Health Departments and other trusted medical professionals.
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