With so much information, how do you digest it all? What can you believe is true?
Fun Facts About COVID
The Delta variant rocked the healthcare world this past summer because it spread 2-2.5 times faster than the original COVID 19 virus that ravaged the world in 2020 and into 2021.
The Omicron variant spreads 70 times faster than the Delta variant!
In Texas, the Omicron variant should peak around January 18th. When this peak occurs, it will be 220% higher than the previous peak in January of 2021 with the original COVID 19 virus. You can check out the graph here: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/texas
This graph shows the January 2021 original variant peak, the Delta surge of August 2021, and the current Omicron surge.
But this is not doomsday!
Due to multiple factors (previous vaccinations, previous infection with other COVID variants, and a possibly less severe variant), Omicron is not causing as much illness severity. For the vast majority of people infected with Omicron thus far, it has acted like a common cold.
People will continue to get sick, but so far the number of hospitalizations and the number of those with severe illness is not rising in proportion to the number of cases like we observed in previous COVID surges.
So, what do I do?
- Realize that this massive wave of sick people is real, and no health system can service this many people as we have all tried to do traditionally.
- Because of this, it is not necessary or possible for everyone to be tested. It just isn’t reasonable. There are not enough COVID tests to test everyone and especially not enough to test them several times.
- Don’t expect COVID-specific treatments. By now, most of us have heard of the monoclonal antibodies and the new EUA approved “COVID pills”. There were only 65,000 pills initially produced and there are 330 million Americans, so only the absolute sickest and most vulnerable will qualify. However, there are always symptomatic treatments for people who are experiencing mild symptoms that you can discuss with your healthcare provider.
- The medical provider prescribed work notes and school notes for this wave are going to be nearly impossible to fill. Try to reason with your school or employer if you are sick and just stay home. If you are able to find a home COVID test and it is positive, take a picture of it and email it to your school or work and see if they will accept that in lieu of a medical clinic note.
- The CDC’s new return to school and work policies for both exposure and illness are less stringent and more reasonable. If you are an employer, manager, or school administrator, consider loosening your policy that sick notes that must come from a medical clinic.
- Realize there are national shortages of COVID supplies and tests but most importantly we have a national shortage of healthcare personnel. The folks in healthcare right now are exhausted. We usually have one really tough “flu season” where we just have long hours, neglect our families, and get sick ourselves for about 1-2 months. We have been in a “flu season” for almost 2 years now. Our own people have been sick multiple times, are working unprecedented hours, and taking an unprecedented aggressiveness from some very frustrated patients and their families.
Dr. Dark’s Most Important Points
You can be KIND. None of us chose any of this mess and yet we are all having to deal with all of it. Much of it is outside our circle of control, but what we CAN control is how we react to the craziness. You can choose today to be kind to those you come into contact with.
When anxious thoughts are getting the best of me, I open my phone and read this serenity prayer. I encourage you to do the same. Relieving yourself of the responsibility of being in control will relieve your anxiety by 50%.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
We remain steadfast in providing that care for the communities we serve. We are honored to be trusted with such an important and vital task. Thank you for continuing to allow our family to take care of your family.