Covid-19 is still not like the flu
Covid-19 is still not like the flu

Covid-19 is still not like the flu

The repeal of the transportation mask mandate marks another turning point in the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, and there are many ways to describe the situation at this turning point.

Although not common, Covid-19 is certainly common.

Over the past two years, official case figures suggest that nearly a quarter of the country has been infected with coronavirus, and the number of actual infections is estimated to be many times higher than what has been reported.

Despite a drastic drop in cases over the past few months, more than 35,000 people in the United States are infected daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University – enough to fill Madison Square Garden almost twice every day.

States in the Northeast are seeing cases rise faster than others, leading to what may prove to be a broader national wave, just as the region has done over the past two springs.

This year, Covid-19 is also combatable.

Vaccines have been shown to be remarkably effective. In February, fully vaccinated individuals were five times less likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 and 10 times less likely to die, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk was even lower for those who also got a booster shot.

Some treatments have also held up against Omicron, and that is the federal government shipment of hundreds of thousands of antiviral drugs every week.

But Covid-19 is not normal

But Covid-19 is still not normal.

Although the measures for severe Covid-19 are drastically improved, they remain much worse than even the most severe flu.

The 2017-18 flu season was one of the worst in decades. It is estimated that 710,000 people were hospitalized and 52,000 died.

Daily Covid-19 deaths are approaching their lowest point in a year now – but even with a relatively low rate of 400 deaths a day, the virus has still killed more people in two months than the flu did over a full year when it is worst. At the height of the Omicron rise just a few months ago, more people died of Covid-19 in a few weeks than a full year of flu.

Covid-19 admissions have recently hit the lowest level ever, and new admissions over the past week were still three times higher than the recent weekly influenza admissions, CDC data show.

Ventilation helps make public transport safer from spreading Covid-19, experts say, but masks are better

And Covid-19 is still unpredictable.

Covid-19 has some similarities with the flu, but it is not the same, said Dr. Arnold Monto, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan and Acting Chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

“We are in unknown territory,” he said. “With the flu, we know what to expect pretty much, but with Covid, we learn every day.”

Two preprinted papers published last year describe the seasonal patterns of the pandemic waves so far and suggest that these patterns may recur in subsequent years.

These seasonal patterns may help managers predict increases and locations as health facilities prepare properly, but they are “not always dominant,” said Dr. Donald Burke, an infectious disease expert and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health who co-authored the papers with Dr. Hawre Jalal. They have not yet been peer-reviewed.

“If something like a particularly transferable strain comes into play – like Omicron – then it can overwhelm and change the patterns,” Burke said. “Omicron really disrupted things.”

The future is still not clear

Back in December, Sen Pei, an assistant professor of environmental health science at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told CNN that we were “still a long way off” from an endemic phase of the pandemic.

A large majority of the population would have to have immunity to the virus from either infection or vaccination before they reach that point, he said then.

Covid-19 could eventually become seasonal, scientists say

The omicron rise raised the level of immunity in the American population dramatically and brought us closer to that point, but the future of Covid-19 is still unclear.

“In the long run, I think it largely depends on whether there are new varieties coming, which is very unpredictable at the moment,” he said on Tuesday.

“It is not clear what the endemic pattern will look like and whether we have entered that phase right now.”

Following a setback from the White House, Delta Air Lines adjusted the way it characterized Covid-19 and praised the repeal of the transportation mask mandate as Covid-19 “transitions to a more manageable respiratory virus.”

But the CDC still recommends wearing masks on airplanes.

Conflicting opinions about the next steps in the Covid-19 pandemic exist within the public health community and sometimes even among individuals themselves.

Monto says dropping the mask mandate now, knowing what he hopes is the end of the rise in the BA.2 variant, “may not be that bad”, but it could also be “a few weeks too early because we do not is sure where we are going. “

In any case, continued vigilance remains critical.

“We need to pay attention and respond to what’s going on,” he said. “We’ve never seen a coronavirus pandemic before.”

CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.