US In Fourth Wave of COVID-19: A Ripple or a Tsunami?
- In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the US being in the fourth wave of COVID-19. But will it be a ripple or a tsunami? Read more below.
- The WHO has released a scientific brief on “Modes of Transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations.” The conclusions of this report find, “Based on the available evidence, including the recent publications mentioned above, WHO continues to recommend droplet and contact precautions for those people caring for COVID-19 patients. WHO continues to recommend airborne precautions for circumstances and settings in which aerosol generating procedures and support treatment are performed, according to risk assessment.”
- Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine delays are forthcoming due to factory mix-up.
- An ongoing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial has found two things: there is protection for at least six months post 2nd dose vaccination [CNN]; there is potential efficacy against the B1351 COVID-19 variant [NBC News].
- Pfizer has broken ground on a new $450M facility in Michigan.
- The WHO has criticized vaccine rollout in Europe as being “unacceptably slow.” This, as countries throughout Europe are re-entering another lock-down phase.
Recommendations for Industry
US In Fourth Wave of COVID-19: A Ripple or a Tsunami?
Over the last few weeks, we have been communicating the resurgence of a steady rise in cases of COVID-19 in the US. It has now reached the point that we see it as a fourth wave, just as has been and is being seen in many of parts of the world. While we can’t be sure if it will continue as a tsunami or just a ripple, all the data is showing unequivocal increases, with some states showing significant increases, primarily Michigan and Minnesota. There are very clear geographic differences occurring across the nation, and in the past where we’ve seen plateauing of case-rates, it’s usually followed by an increase as people relax their behaviors.
What we do know is that 33 states have transmission rates greater than 1.0 over the previous week, and the virus is now impacting younger ages to a greater extent than in the past, with hospitalizations increasing in the 18 to 64 age groups.
What we recommend based on all this is that businesses not begin to look at bringing office workers back or significantly re-densifying your facilities yet. If you are working a hybrid model, or have a percentage of people working from home, keep it that way at the minimum. Now is not the time to start bringing people back. We continue to hope that summer will see a different trend as vaccinations continue to roll out; that the wave is a ripple and we aren’t facing a tsunami. As vaccination rates continue to increase, we should expect to see a decrease in case and hospitalization rates in the next few months.
In Case You Missed It
- In Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss this week’s risk matrix data and the significantly increasing transmission rates, with 33 states now seeing rates above 1.0. Read more here.
- The FDA has released information on the impact of a few COVID-19 tests by SARS-CoV-2 variants. TAG will discuss this more today. There are 4 tests that the FDA has noted as potentially being impacted by the variants.
- Biden is imploring with the U.S. that it is imperative that those living in the U.S. take the virus more seriously as COVID-19 cases climb in 30 states. In fact, the U.S. is following a similar pattern to Europe; the daily cases and hospitalizations “are up nearly 18% over the previous 2 weeks”.
- New clinical data released by Pfizer-BioNTech has found that their COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective with children aged 12 – 15 years old.
- As more individuals are becoming vaccinated and people are considering storing their vaccination cards for the longer term, before laminating your card, you should:
- Make sure card information is accurate
- Ask where vaccination records are being kept
- Photograph both sides of your vaccination card and email the photos to yourself
- Make a paper photocopy of both sides of your card
- Don’t laminate before you get all your doses!
- A study by the World Economic Forum indicates that it could take 36 years to close the gender gap as gender parity has been set by an entire generation by COVID [Aljazeera / CNN]
- The joint WHO-China study on COVID-19 origins has found, in a recent report, “that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is ‘extremely unlikely.’”
- New York has launched their Excelsior Pass app to help New York businesses return to normal “by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Furthermore: “Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry. Along with your Pass, you’ll be asked to show a photo ID that shows your name and birth date to verify that the Pass belongs to you. Adults may hold passes for accompanying minors.”
- A recent CDC study on vaccinated health-care workers found that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 80% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections (after the first dose).
- In last Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed the importance of continuing COVID-19 testing, despite the increasing vaccination rate. Read more here.
- If you have been vaccinated (even with 1 shot of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine), you can get a free Krispy Kreme donut!
- The pandemic is not over yet; however, in the S., testing has seemingly been replaced with increased vaccinations when in fact, to be protective, testing (as a preventive tool) and vaccinations must both be increasing.