Weekly Medical News
September 1, 2022
Editors note: The following is a compendium of medical news items and releases we found interesting over the last 10 days. Please let us know your thoughts on this feature at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CDC announced that it will make major changes to how it operates following what it admits was a failed response to COVID-19, monkeypox, and polio. Director Rochelle Walensky stated “my goal is a new public health oriented culture that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communications, and timeliness.”
According to the National Center of Health Statistics, average life expectancy fell 1.8 years in the U.S. in 2020, the first year of the COVID pandemic, and because of “unintentional injuries” such as failure to seek timely care for other illnesses and increased drug overdoses.
Vaccines are recommended. The ideal time to receive the vaccine is September or October, right before the flu season begins. The CDC says the vaccine can be given the same time as the COVID vaccine, though there is no mention of whether it can be given with other vaccines. Note: some physicians feel that while reportedly safe, there should be some spacing between vaccines if for no other reason than to know that if there is a reaction which vaccine is causing it. In parts of the world where it is difficult to get to a vaccination site, giving them together makes sense.
According to the AMA, more than 40% of people hospitalized with the Omicron subvariant were vaccinated and boostered.
“COVID incubation periods have fallen overtime,” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The new strains are deadlier and cause symptoms sooner.
Neither ivermectin or fluvoxamine had any impact of reducing severity, hospitalization, or deaths according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to a Brookings Institute report between two and four million Americans aren’t working due to symptoms of long COVID costing the economy approximately $170 in wages and causing 15% of the labor shortage. It says about 16 million people between 18 and 65 have long COVID.
There are no recorded deaths from monkeypox in the U.S. in over 17,000 reported cases. Worldwide there have been 47,000 cases and 15 deaths. That’s less than one death per 3,000 cases. In comparing mortality rates, measles is reported as approximately 1-2 per 1,000 and chickenpox is about 1 in 5,000 for adults, less in infants and children.
Monkeypox has some similar symptoms to chickenpox, shingles, herpes, syphilis, measles, and hand-foot-mouth disease, as well as smallpox, and could be misdiagnosed as these. Conversely the other illnesses can be misdiagnosed as monkeypox especially at times when it is prevalent.
Monkeypox cases are falling in the United States according to the CDC which is “cautiously optimistic that the U.S. is slowing the spread of monkeypox.”