Traveling on Memorial Day May Cause COVID-19

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Health officials have warned that Memorial Day weekend travel combined with lax coronavirus protections will likely cause a jump in already rising case levels, repeating a pattern that began after the holidays from the start of the pandemic.

As the trajectory of the epidemic has shifted, experts said, it has become more and more difficult to trace the shape of the virus, And the dire consequences continue, Even such remedies as Paxlovid helped the weak to avoid severe disease.

“This is the hard thing to reconcile with,” said Gabe Keelen, chief of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “I understand that people are willing to take a personal risk, but it is not a personal risk. There are a lot of people who are older and who are immunocompromised and cannot participate fully in society” because others “are not willing to do the right thing.”

He added, “The country has so far moved on to ‘I’m just worried about me’.”

With AAA expecting more than 39 million people to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, local officials have chosen not to return Hide mandates and instead urge people to be vigilant in the hope of curbing high rates of infection and hospitalization.

“As we head into Memorial Day weekend, more people will be traveling, so it’s an important time to take precautions to protect yourself, your friends and family from COVID-19 as much as possible,” Montgomery County Executive Mark Ellrich said in a Thursday statement. He encouraged travelers to wear masks on public transportation, indoors and when social distancing is not possible, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

A federal judge last month overturned a federal mandate to use the mask on commercial flights, buses, ferries and subways, prompting several airlines to make face coverings optional on domestic flights. By that time, most of the local states had been lifted.

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Federal data showed that the city of Baltimore recorded high levels of community spread by Thursday evening. Arlington County officials reminded residents to social distance and wear masks as the positivity rate hit its highest level since January.

In the region, the average number of daily cases reached about 48 this week, nearly double the total compared to three weeks ago. Cases are also on the rise in Virginia. A steady increase occurred across the region after a lag after indices associated with the omicron variant.

Klein noted that many people simply don’t hide indoors now because it’s not required and previous vaccinations and infections seem to protect more from severe disease. “A lot of people have said psychologically, ‘I can’t live the same way. If I get the virus, I hope I’ll be fine and that’s it.” “A lot of people decided to do the same calculation.”

Keelen said he understands that perspective, but he also sees the consequences of a lack of regulation, as the number of US deaths from coronavirus cases crossed one million this month. “Covid is on a very big rise,” he said. “What’s a bit mysterious is that hospital admissions are also on the rise.” He added, “We are seeing a lot more people in the emergency department and being admitted. And it’s not meager.”

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Keelen said the Hopkins emergency department at Baltimore’s main hospital has seen the number of coronavirus patients dwindle to about one at a time, but return to six to eight at a time, not near the peak of 30 but still high.

Federal data shows hospitalizations, a lagging indicator after infections surge, have been rising across the region for weeks. Baltimore has had more than 280 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, and hospitalizations have increased to nearly 12 admissions per 100,000, according to the city’s health department.

Starting just over two weeks ago, Baltimore Health Commissioner Laetitia Dzirasa urged residents to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, as the city moved from low to medium prevalence, and doubled the message as the city moved to the high category. Howard and Anne Arundel counties have also recorded high levels of spread, according to the CDC.

“The most important thing to remember is that we have the tools to fight this,” Dzirasa said in a statement on Friday. “Vaccines, tests and masks along with a solid hygiene routine are enough to keep many healthy people out of the hospital as we work to determine if we are at the end, middle or starting point of this increase in cases.”

Part of the challenge in responding to coronavirus at this point in the pandemic is understanding the risks when public health agencies move to less frequent reporting of data and people increasingly rely on home test kits to find out their condition but fail to report positive cases.

Public health officials use wastewater monitoring to measure levels of the coronavirus in the community days before people develop symptoms. In Maryland, the Department of Environment is monitoring more than two dozen sewage treatment sites in order to track virus quantities and share data online.

Rekha Singh, director of the state’s wastewater monitoring program, said Virginia officials plan to launch a website by August, and have applied for additional federal funding to expand 25 to 40 sites.

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Meanwhile, data is available from the CDC, and large concentrations of virus appear in densely populated Northern Virginia, mirroring the testing data. “It could fill the gap and is really a promising public health tool,” Singh said, adding that plans are in the works to add more sites in southwest Virginia.

The Inova Health System recommends Paxlovid, an oral medication approved for people 12 and older, as an outpatient treatment at risk for severe cases of the coronavirus, said John Paul Federez, an Inova physician, who said the latest increase The treatment is the first time the treatment is done. Widely.

Patients can start taking it within five days of onset of symptoms, after adverse drug reactions have been ruled out, and it is widely available for free at pharmacies across the region. Verderes said the drug is easier to administer and could be more effective than intravenous monoclonal antibody treatments, even with some reports of symptoms returning.

“It’s a good thing that we have this and hopefully there will be more treatments available to us over time,” Verderes said. Although Inova is far below the number of COVID-19 patients that has reached more than 425, he said, there were 64 patients in the system on Thursday, about a third of that a month ago.

“I’ve seen people less vigilant,” Verdris said. “We are human, this is human nature. There is a lot of fatigue starting but at the same time we have to live our lives. People have to make their own decisions, and be better at protecting themselves, especially if they are in great danger.”

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