Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
There are lots of important updates in this week’s video. Several areas of the world and the United States are seeing increases in cases including multiple areas in the northeast, the northwest, Alaska and South Texas. New York announced a higher risk level this week after seeing a significant increase of COVID positive hospitalized patients. We continue to see new variants of Omicron emerging. There was a steady increase this week of the BA.2.12.1 variant and I anticipate that we will continue to see this variant increase over the coming weeks. Mapping of the Omicron variants is really interesting and shows the emergence and global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron lineage, BA.1 and BA.2.
Research continues to show that the unvaccinated remain far more vulnerable to the worst consequences of infection — and are far more likely to die than people who are vaccinated. They are especially more at risk than people who have received a booster shot. Bottom line, research shows that vaccinations are important in preventing serious illness and death.
We continue to see spread of COVID in white tail deer. Hundreds of them in North America have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. We do not know whether the virus can spread in long chains of infection among deer, or whether deer-to-human transmission could spark outbreaks. But researchers are growing increasingly concerned about the animals becoming a viral reservoir, serving as a potential source of outbreaks and new variants. It will be important to continue following the spread of COVID in white tail deer.
Good news for young children this week. The FDA approved Remdesivir as the first COVID-19 treatment for young children and Moderna asked the FDA to authorize its vaccine for children under 6. The FDA announced they will review the data in June.
Lots of shout outs this week including the start of National Nurses Week. I hope all of you will join me in thanking nurses for all that they do each and every day to care for patients. The last two years have been particularly hard on nurses and it is important to recognize them for their outstanding work.
And finally, I want to recognize everyone in our community who has fasted for the last month in observance of Ramadan and this week celebrated Eid al-Fitr which marked the end of fasting. I greatly appreciate the incredible work that each person continued to do at Baylor while observing Ramadan.
Have a great weekend and stay safe.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO