Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
The good news is that daily COVID-19 cases have fallen by more than 15 percent in the U.S. over the past two weeks. The national case average is now just above 100,000 per day. Hospitalizations also have declined nationwide and I expect mortality to decline soon as well. Here in Harris county, the numbers are improving and the viral load in wastewater continues to fall. I suspect that we will be in a very good place as school opens.
A quick note on vaccines; studies show you are six times more likely to die from COVID if you are not vaccinated.
In this week’s video, I review some news from the CDC. First, the agency has eased its coronavirus guidelines, saying the country is “in a different place” with the pandemic given the high rates of immunity from vaccines and previous infections. The CDC also provided guidance for K-12 schools. Of course, staying up-to-date on vaccinations, proper handwashing and staying home when sick, along with routine precautions, remain important. The CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in schools and quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID in school. More on the CDC guideline changes in the video.
Britain this week became the first country to authorize the Moderna Vaccine targeting two variants, the original virus and Omicron.
Also this week, I review the latest in monkeypox news, including the first possible case of human-to-dog transmission. It is not clear whether the infected dog will be able to transmit the virus back to humans.
A brand new virus has been identified, the Langya henipavirus (LayV). It does not spread easily in people but we will need ongoing animal and human surveillance.
I hope you have a great weekend. Stay safe.
Paul Klotman M.D.
President & CEO