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  • Writer's pictureTroy Riggs

COVID-19: Learning to live with this virus

Current Situation:

· Seven-day average of 51,000 cases. For comparison, on July 4th it was 13,300 cases **most recent data

· Delta Variant is believed to make up over 80% of the new cases

· This new variant is estimated to be 40% to as much as 80% more infectious than the so-called Alpha variant (first Covid strain)

· Without a vaccine, the Delta risk of hospitalization could be 85% higher

· It is important to note that physicians strive to have vaccines that help prevent death. In this case, the vaccine is a tremendous success

· Boosters are looking more likely for us in the future

· With only 57% of Americans being vaccinated and the new variants, it looks like herd immunity through vaccination unlikely in the short-term

Hospital staffs (ICU) are being stretched due to new cases, other types of seasonal illnesses, and shortage of employees..For example, in Texas major metro areas ICU bed usage is currently at 92-95%...approximately 19 percent are Covid related. In Travis County (Home of Austin, Texas) there were only 24 ICU beds available last week

What to expect:

· Increased infections across America

· More cities/businesses/etc. issuing mask mandates and making additional recommendations

· Additional businesses requiring masks for staff working within close proximity

· Individual school districts will begin to mandate masks (some are still discussing going virtual due to the Delta Variant and lack of childhood vaccination)

· If this is a difficult flu season, the situation will become more problematic

· There is no expectation of complete shutdowns at this time, but these can’t be ruled out if infections continue to rise (if this does occur, it will probably be regional and not national). ***Many question if the US economy could survive a second lockdown. (We will be posting information regarding the nation’s current spending in a future article)

· The great unknown is how the consumer will react. Americans seem to want to move on but their threshold for tolerance of the disease and/or additional protective measures can’t be fully understood at this time. One thing is for certain: Rising cases and additional recommendations are not good for the business community.

Things to watch:

· As I wrote in a recent article, science is not certain.

CDC guidelines keep changing. This is probably why a recent New York Times editorial called the guidelines “A Confusing Message.”

· Israel is proposing a third shot for individuals over 60 years of age. There is a possibility of this being implemented within the US as well due to recent studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the vaccine drops over time (past information suggested it did not). Israeli scientists claim the vaccine, while over 90% effective in reducing serious illness or death, is only 38% effective in reducing infection of the Delta Variant. Pfizer’s team seems to disagree with this assessment. The most recent information from the company indicates that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine efficacy decreases from 96% to 84% after 6 months. The vaccine efficacy decline averages a 6% decline every two months. It was still found to protect against severe disease at a 97% efficacy throughout the study. If the vaccine’s efficacy continues to decline at the rate in the study, the vaccine would hit the benchmark for efficacy (50%) at around 18 months post vaccination.

· With a current increase in vaccinations and individuals developing some natural immunity through contracting COVID-19, some believe this spike could actually help reduce cases as we enter the flu season

· What type of privacy litigation will come from the pandemic? What will this mean for the future?

· With many poorer areas of our country reluctant to take the vaccine, will new work and business restrictions place them in further distress? Will the new mandates have a discriminatory result?

· Blaming of the unvaccinated by the vaccinated will continue to develop and be highlighted by national media

· Additional information will be forthcoming about potential side effects of the various vaccines. At the moment, myocarditis and pericarditis between the ages of 12 and 17 are being reported and studied

· With vaccines only receiving an emergency order for use, there will continue to be questions about the safety or the vaccine

Bottom line:

Read, be informed, and make the best decisions for you and your family regarding vaccinations and mask usage.

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