Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
In this week’s video, I decided to open up with my take on COVID-19 – reflections on the pandemic. Countries took different approaches as did various states within our nation.
- Lock-downs have not been good. They created havoc in economies throughout the world. We probably opened up too soon here but we recovered sooner.
- Kids need to be in school.
- Disparities in healthcare are real and the pandemic clearly showed this.
- Misinformation was harmful and some of that bad information came from the healthcare community.
Globally, Japan’s economy has begun to grow again as consumers move away from COVID precautions that have kept infections at among the lowest levels of any wealthy country. In the U.S., coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are falling. In the Houston area, the wastewater viral load continues to decrease.
In vaccine news, the FDA has authorized bivalent booster vaccines that will be effective against the Omicron variant as well as the original virus. These boosters should be available soon. Baylor has preordered doses of the vaccine and will announce as soon as they are available. I know I have been saying get your second booster as soon as possible, but I now recommend waiting until the bivalent booster is available.
Research news explored in this video includes a study showing two-thirds of COVID patients were still infectious 5 days after symptom onset and one-third were still infectious at 7 days. Earlier recommendation for quarantine was 5 days, but this shows it should be a little longer in cases where an antigen test still shows a positive result. The role of neutralizing antibodies and T cell immunity in response to COVID vaccines and some new information on long COVID treatments are also covered this week, as well as a bit of good news about monkey pox.
It is the long Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off, and be careful!
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO