Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Experts say people with health problems still face serious COVID risks

According to medical experts, despite recent cases in which vaccinated people became infected and died of coronavirus, getting vaccinated is still the best protection against the virus.

While the Allegheny County Health Department’s online COVID Dashboard does not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in its death data, it does collect such information.

On December 23 – when the first laboratory-confirmed cases of the Omicron variant were reported by Allegheny County – the Department of Health noted in its weekly report that the county had 101 COVID-related deaths during December.

Health officials said 73 of those who died were not vaccinated and 28 were vaccinated. Eighteen of the 73 people who were not vaccinated were in the age group of 30 to 59.

Of the 28 deaths among those vaccinated, 25 were over the age of 70, while the other three were over 60.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the county is working on including information about whether people who have died from the coronavirus have been vaccinated. That information is expected to be included on the COVID dashboard after the first of the year.

Actual cases are more likely

The director of the Allegheny County Health Department, Dr. Debra Bogen, said the number of infections is likely to be higher than the county figures.

“We continue to see an increasing number of new infections reported to the Department of Health, including re-infections and breakthrough cases,” Bougen said. “We know this number is an under-reporting because too many people are using home tests.

“We know that the omicron variant spreads efficiently and is a likely cause of the rapidly increasing number of cases,” she said. “I expect the number of cases to continue to rise in the coming weeks.”

As of Tuesday, about 918,000 county residents have received at least one vaccine shot and about 300,000 of them have received a booster.

According to a vaccination data report released by the state health department on December 13, the number of cases involving people who have been vaccinated across the state is on the rise.

Overall, since January 1, cases involving fully vaccinated people account for 15% of all positive cases. However, vaccines did not become readily available to the general public until months in 2021.

According to the latest data available, since October, there has been an increase in cases involving vaccinated people – 26% of all cases in September and 30% of cases in October and 31% in November.

The number of hospitalizations of fully vaccinated people has increased, rather modestly, over the past three months.

As per the state data, there has been an increase of about 25% in all the Covid related hospitals across the state.

Kovid experts not surprised

Dr. Amesh Adalja said he is not surprised that a large number of vaccinated people have died from the coronavirus as some remain at high risk due to underlying health problems.

“It’s not a false sense of security that the vaccine protects people who are healthy and have no underlying medical problems,” he said. “The people who are dying are in high-risk populations.”

Adalja said the danger for people with a history of cancer, organ transplant or other medical issues is the same for the coronavirus as it is for any other condition that affects the respiratory system, such as the flu.

“Covid preys on individuals who have other medical problems, and it will continue to haunt them,” he said. “But for people who have been fully vaccinated and don’t have any underlying problems, it’s going to be a spontaneous disease.”

Adalja said even fully vaccinated healthy people should be wary of exposure to the coronavirus, because while they are not sick, they can spread the virus to people who are at higher risk of getting sick.

In Excella, many are not fully vaccinated

Dr Carol Fox, chief medical officer of Excella Health, which is the leading medical provider in Westmoreland County, said vaccinated people may test positive for COVID because “immunity decreases after infection as well as after the initial series.” . Vaccinated. ,

She noted that the Omicron variant, now called the dominant strain in the US, is highly contagious and “likely to be the culprit” for the recent increase in infection rates.

Fox said that as of December 22, Axela was treating 91 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus. Of that number, 88% were either illiterate or only partially vaccinated. All of the patients who required ventilators to assist with breathing were either not vaccinated or were partially vaccinated.

“Vaccines do not prevent 100% of infections,” Fox said. “However, they do well at limiting the degree of illness when someone becomes infected. That’s why boosters are so important.”

Fox said Axella does not ask all those patients whether they have been vaccinated.

She noted that 86 percent of those tested at the health system’s three hospitals during December had not been fully vaccinated.

Allegheny County and Pennsylvania reported record-breaking COVID-19 case counts on Friday, posting numbers well above the height of their late-2020s growth, data shows.

Expert: Surge should sound the alarm

Bogen said the rise in infections should sound the alarm for people to protect themselves.

“I ask everyone to take this seriously and do their part to slow the spread of this virus,” she said. “Most importantly, please get your vaccine or your booster vaccine. Second, wear a properly fitting mask when out in public, especially indoors. ,

Bogen said people should consider double masking by wearing a cloth mask, two surgical masks or a surgical mask covered with a KN95 mask.

She said businesses can do their part to slow the spread of the virus by requiring employees and patrons to wear masks.

Bougen also urged people to observe physical distancing, stay home when sick and avoid large gatherings to reduce transmission of the virus.

“If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested,” she said. “If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, get tested five to seven days after that exposure.”

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter ,

Nation World News Desk
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