Coronavirus Chronicles — Changing Demographics

Generally, in discussions of the COVID pandemic, people like to cite statistics. The big unspoken truth about the statistics, in this particular case, is that they are likely to be highly unreliable, for a stunning array of reasons. This explains how a journalist could report

So far, 30 million people in the United States have had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, although the real (unmeasured) number is perhaps as high as 100 million.

If the margin for error can be so enormous in an advanced country like the U.S., imagine the numerical chaos being generated in the rest of the world. Still, Zeynep Tufekci wrote of carefully conducted studies that show “a very low rate of reinfection for this coronavirus: less than 1 percent.” She specified that a large number of subjects were routinely tested, symptoms or no symptoms. If the investigators are to grasp what is going on, that is important…

[…] so we know that vaccines prevented not just symptomatic illness — the vaccine-efficacy rate reported in the trials — but any infection. As expected, those people retain some level of immunity for a substantial amount of time. It’s hard to know exactly how long, because the virus is so new…

That was written back in March, before the Delta variant became a thing, and since then, the whole coronavirus landscape has shifted. In May, the Centers for Disease Control issued recommendations, noting that…

[…] a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. How long vaccine protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants are still under investigation.

In some quarters, the belief was that people who had a SARS-CoV-2 infection attained good natural immunity, and so should not be vaccinated, because the doses were more urgently needed by others, which is reasonable. But at the same time, some experts were saying that protection is strongest for those who are vaccinated, even if they had recovered from the virus and presumably had natural immunity.

Also, there have also been reports of “Long COVID” patients being vaccinated and experiencing improvement, but again, this was before Delta really hit its stride, so the thinking continued to evolve. In the same time frame, for the Miami Herald, Ben Conrack reported that…

[…] the virus continues to circulate throughout Florida, sending increasingly younger people to the hospital at rates that are among the highest in the country.

Hospitals were increasingly occupied by COVID victims in their 30s and 40s, replacing the geriatric patients the medical personnel had become accustomed to. Conrack wrote,

The younger skew for hospitalized COVID patients also follows an earlier rise in COVID cases for working-age people in late March. Public health experts tied that rise in infections to Spring Break tourism.

Dr. David De La Zerda, of the Jackson Health System, noted that these younger patients might not die so readily, but they tended to be sick for three or four months. He told the reporter,

We have a bunch of post-COVID patients and they’re young but their lungs look like a pulmonary fibrosis. We have to start looking at transplants.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different,” TheAtlantic.com, 03/30/21
Source: “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People,” CDC.gov, 05/28/21
Source: “Younger patients causing Florida to have among the highest COVID hospital rates in country,” MiamiHerald.com, 05/07/21
Image by Navy Medicine/Public Domain

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:

Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources