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COVID19: Harvard Study Warns ‘Intermittent Periods’ Of Social Distancing Until 2022

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A new Harvard study released Tuesday on the novel coronavirus is evoking a feeling of disbelief at the possibility that strict social distancing measures may be required to combat the disease for years to come.

Well, at least it is for me.

Look at the study below and ask yourself, can you socially distance for years in an effort to fight this virus if no vaccine or therapeutic treatment works?

The new modeling study warns that ‘intermittent’ periods of social distancing may be required until the year 2022 in the United States, in order to combat any surge in the virus that could overwhelm the health care system.

“To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022,” states the studies abstract. “Additional interventions, including expanded critical care capacity and an effective therapeutic, would improve the success of intermittent distancing and hasten the acquisition of herd immunity. Longitudinal serological studies are urgently needed to determine the extent and duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.”

The research was published Tuesday in the journal Science. It examined various scenarios for how the SARS-CoV-2 virus will spread over the next five years.

From The Study: 

Intensive testing and case-based interventions have so far formed the centerpiece of control efforts in some places, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Many other countries are adopting measures termed “social distancing” or “physical distancing,” closing schools and workplaces and limiting the sizes of gatherings. The goal of these strategies is to reduce the peak intensity of the epidemic (“flatten the curve”), reducing the risk of overwhelming health systems and buying time to develop treatments and vaccines. For social distancing to have reversed the epidemic in China, the effective reproduction number must have declined by at least 50-60%, assuming a baseline R0 between 2 and 2.5. Through intensive control measures, Shenzhen was able to reduce the effective reproduction number by an estimated 85%. However, it is unclear how well these declines in R0 might generalize to other settings: recent data from Seattle suggests that the basic reproduction number has only declined to about 1.4, or by about 30-45% assuming a baseline R0 between 2 and 2.5 . Furthermore, social distancing measures may need to last for months to effectively control transmission and mitigate the possibility of resurgence.

To read the full Harvard study Go Here. 

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Healthcare

NY Gov Hochul issues executive order: Polio ‘an official diisaster’

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New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order that Polio is now considered an official disaster. 

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York State Health Commissioner. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up-to-date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”

The virus that causes polio has been found in the wastewater of more than one county, according to state health officials. “A sewage sample from Nassau County collected in August tested positive for poliovirus, following the prior detection of the virus in wastewater samples in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County and New York City, further indicating that the virus is spreading in the area to some degree” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The Nassau County sample was also genetically linked to the single confirmed case of paralytic polio that had been identified this summer in a young adult resident in Rockland County who was unvaccinated.”

Hochul’s executive order has been issued through Oct. 9, and expands the network of providers able to administer polio vaccinations to “include emergency-medical-services workers, midwives and pharmacists.”

The new order makes providers send polio-immunization data to the New York State Department of Health in order to better help health officials “focus vaccination efforts on areas of low uptake.”

New York state health officials have sent out alerts to providers, have hung fliers “in houses of worship, grocery stores and summer camps and talked with community leaders about boosting vaccination rates this summer.”

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The poliovirus spreads mostly when a person touches their mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s feces. Most infected people don’t develop any symptoms but can still spread the virus, a major concern for health officials, and around a quarter develop flulike symptoms. Those who are vaccinated are at low risk, health officials have said, as getting three doses of the polio vaccine administered in the U.S. is at least 99% effective at preventing paralytic disease.

Health officials, however, also said that certain New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated but at high-risk should receive a single lifetime booster. That applies to individuals who will or might have close contact with a suspected or confirmed polio patient, as well as healthcare workers in those areas who might handle poliovirus samples or treat patients who might have polio…

Two forms of the virus can cause paralysis, one of them being the wild poliovirus found in nature. The case in New York, on the other hand, is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus, a mutated form of a strain used in an oral polio vaccine…

The oral polio vaccine, used in many parts of the world outside of the U.S., relies on a weakened, live form of the virus that recently inoculated children shed in their feces. In places with lower vaccine uptake, the weakened virus can sometimes circulate and mutate to become more like the wild virus and potentially paralyze people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

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