[COLUMN] COVID-19 stats

AS of Monday, April 5, 2021, there were 478,884 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the total to 132,432,231 cases worldwide and with 7,404 new deaths, making the total deaths to 2,873,411. In the U.S., there were 500 new deaths that day, bringing the total to 569,282 mortalities; the total COVID-19 cases rose to 31,496,976. Brazil had the highest deaths for that day at 1,623 (total cases, 13,023,189; 38,233 new cases). The Philippines has had 803,387 total cases and 13.435 deaths, with 10 new deaths.

The following day, the U.S. had 7,335 new cases and 116 deaths, while the Philippines had 9,373 new cases and 382 new deaths. More than 1/3 of the people in the U.S. (population: around 332.5 million) have been vaccinated. The Philippines (population around 110.8 million) started its COVID-19 vaccination on March 1, 2021, using China’s Sinovac. To contain COVID-19 in the country, foreign citizens are currently not allowed to travel to the Philippines, including Filipinos who are not holders of Philippine passports. Those who are allowed to enter the country must have a hotel reservation for 7 days,for quarantine purposes upon arrival.

CDC COVID-19 advisory

Fully vaccinated (those who completed their shots two weeks prior) are “no longer required to test before or after traveling domestically or internationally from the U.S, unless required to do so by the international destination country, and they no longer have to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S., unless required to do so by a state or local jurisdiction,” according to the updated guidelines from the CDC. The rest of the advisory follows:

“The agency still recommends that even fully vaccinated travelers wear a mask in public, and take other public health precautions, such as social distancing and avoiding crowds, and practicing hand hygiene.

“Some travel guidance remains unchanged. CDC still recommends fully vaccinated people have proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to the U.S., and get tested 3-5 days later.

“Meanwhile, nothing has changed for travelers who are not fully vaccinated. CDC continues to recommend that not fully vaccinated travelers get a COVID-19 test 1-3 days prior to domestic or international travel, as well as 3-5 days after returning. Those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel and a negative test, or 10 days after travel if not tested. CDC also said those who are not fully vaccinated should avoid non-essential domestic travel.”

Fourth wave?

Fearing worsening of the COVID pandemic in the United States and a probable fourth wave as the COVID-19 cases increased by 10 percent and hospitalization to around 4,800 per day on a 7-day average, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, her voice shaking, “warned of ‘impending doom’ if states continue to relax restrictions, and if Americans continue to increase travel and ignore public health precautions.”

The 4 more common variants of COVID-19 include the UK strain (B.1.1.7), with around 2,000 cases found in 45 states so far, and also found in Denmark and Scandinavia; the South African variety (B.1.351), which emerged in South Africa and found in 14 U.S. States; and the Brazilian variant (P.1), present in at least 5 cases in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Florida, and Maryland; a U.S. variant, found in California (CAL.,20C), has infected more than 30 percent of entire state by mid-to-late January and more than 40 percent in Southern California.

The importance of following the guidelines, especially with the re-opening of businesses, is even more important today. Masking, social distancing, good hygiene, and avoiding crowds, limiting travels to essential needs, even after vaccination, could help mitigate the labile situation. The significance of this discipline might not be earth-shaking until a loved one is taken away from us because we did not behave accordingly. The SARS-CoV2 virus is new and it is mutating to new strains, which could be expected to be more virulent. There are a lot we still do not know about this killer and the available vaccines. So, it is best to be cautious or even a bit over-protective, than to be arrogant, overly confident and let our guard down simply because we have been vaccinated. It is now clear worldwide that these vaccines are generally effective (95 percent and greater) and safe, and that wearing a mask and social distancing work.

One shot not enough

Some people refuse to get the second shot of the 2-dose vaccines (P-BioNT and Moderna), fearing danger from the second dose and thinking one dose confers full protection. That is not true and very dangerous. And a waste of the vaccine. Also, if one was okay after the first dose, the second one should also be fine, as statistics today show.
A physician colleague of mine had his first dose of the vaccine, still got COVID-19 infection from his son five days post-shot, and died. We do not totally know our enemy, especially the variants and worse strains that might evolve; let’s be wise and stay safe.

Amazing FAR-UVC

One of the beneficial side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the development of antiviral treatments and mitigating technologies that were also found to be useful in the management of other bacterial/viral illnesses, and the discovery of new uses for old medications we have been using for specific conditions for some time. An example of this is the use of UVC light, the conventional form of which has a wavelength of 254 nm. UV radiation was first discovered on February 22, 1801 by Johann Wilhelm Ritter.

Subsequently, they were differentiated by wavelength into UVA (315-400 nm), UVB (2870-315 nm), and UVC 100-280 nm).

Dr. David Brenner and his team at Columbia University have developed a technique “that zaps airborne viruses with a narrow-wavelength band of UV light and shows promise for curtailing the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in indoor public places.” The technology “uses lamps that emit continuous, low doses of a particular wavelength of ultraviolet light, known as far-UVC (wavelength 222 nm), which can kill viruses and bacteria without harming human skin, eyes and other tissues, as is the problem with conventional UV light.”

“Far-UVC light has the potential to be a ‘game changer,’” said Professor Brenner. “It can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in.”

These Far-UVC lamps could be used like today’s mosquito electric zapper, installed in homes and public places, offices, hotels, dorms, convention centers, sports arenas, theaters, restaurants, stores, schools, etc., to destroy bacteria and various viruses, including Flu viruses and SARS-CoV2 virus of COVID-19, without health risks to humans, animals, and plants. This will eliminate the need for countless toxic chemicals we currently use to kills microbes. Progress, indeed!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Public Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Visit our websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com

Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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