Wow! Happy New Year, TVD friends!
Well, there can be no question that we are all (very) ready to put 2020 behind us. In the spirit of this, we are exploring a new section here in these pages, to build upon the Hope and Grace section of our website, to honor the good and wonderful things and people we are blessed to have around us, which have been so overshadowed by the bitterness and sadness of these past 12 months.
Let’s call this simply, #2021derful!
But I get ahead of myself. Certainly the most awaited development of the new year is the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. As you know, front line healthcare workers have been getting immunized this past week, during the “1a” rollout. Briefly, here is what we know about “1b”, which is expected to be finalized by the state’s Drafting Guidelines Workgroup and released in detail this week. The plan will guide the state’s rollout of a second round of vaccines following those first reserved for California’s 2.4 million health care workers and patients in skilled nursing facilities.
Under the latest plan unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday, the next phase will include a mix of people at least 75 years old and some essential workers (those in education, childcare, emergency services, farming, and grocery stores), a proposal slated to protect those at the greatest risk of dying while also aiming to help schools and businesses return to a semblance of normalcy.
At the moment, only after this 1b rollout will Californians 65 and older, with underlying health conditions, be immunized. Then those younger and healthier can roll up their sleeves. You can read a good review of this current plan here.
We are, of course, following this all closely. The COVIDReadi program I mentioned last week has been updated (in California) to CalVax (a state-wide centralized system for healthcare providers enrolled or interested in participating in the California COVID-19 Vaccination Program), and we are already signed up.
So, we’re getting there. And we’re following the situation closely. As soon as there is clarity on getting our patients immunized, we will let you know. The first group will include our older and “at-risk” patients, and when the time comes, hopefully in the next 4 weeks, WE will reach out to YOU to let you know.
In the meantime, please continue to shelter in place, limit social gatherings, wash your hands, and wear a mask in public places. We are so close… time to be extra good.
And time to have an extra healthy, and happy, new year!
Eric Weiss, MD, December 28, 2020
NOTE: CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
The simple answer to this question is no.
A negative COVID-19 nasal or oral swab test tells you that there was not enough virus in your nasal or oral sample to be identified on the test. But the incubation period for development of COVID-19 after potential exposure is 14 days. So a negative test one day doesn’t mean you won’t develop infection the next. Most current tests are PCR-based (based on rapid amplification of viral RNA in order to detect virus in a sample) and pretty sensitive (i.e. able to detect virus at low levels of shedding), but these tests can take several days to result, which means the test results are not current – they reflect your infectious status several days ago, not now. And their accuracy during a surge like we’re currently seeing in California is also less – the greater the number of local cases, the greater the number of false negatives (because there are so many more tests being conducted in general). Finally, we know the “presymptomatic” period is a major source of exposure risk and that a good percentage of people never develop symptoms at all. So, basing test timing on symptom development would miss a large percentage of possible transmission risk… Read more
Jennifer Abrams, MD, December 29, 2020
The Moderna vaccine is very similar to the Pfizer vaccine. They are both messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The mRNA in the vaccine tells our cells to make a protein that, to our immune system, looks just like the “spike protein” which the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to enter our cells. The immune system responds by making antibodies to this spike protein, protecting us by blocking the ability of the virus to enter cells.
Both vaccines are 90% to 95% effective. Both cause adverse effects like fever, chills, and aches, although the Moderna vaccine may cause slightly more side effects than the Pfizer vaccine. They are both injected into an arm muscle and both require 2 doses to get to the 90-95% level of immunity. Neither contain nor are derived from the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus, and neither has the possibility of causing COVID infection… Read more
Sky Pittson, MD, December 30, 2020
The current COVID vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna were developed using a novel cellular strategy with mRNA to trigger an immune response.
Previously, traditional vaccines would weaken viruses, and others would use a critical piece of a virus’s protein coat. However, with the efficacy of the new vaccines being over 90 %, the principle of using mRNA in vaccine development is now considered a valuable option for future vaccines.
In the scientific community, the success of mRNA has also sparked excitement for its use in other disease processes. For example in cancer, the strategy is to find telltale proteins on a person’s tumor and design mRNA that spurs the immune cells to attack those cells… Read more
Prerana Sangani, MD, December 29, 2020
If you have made it this far, time for a reward, something to lighten your day, and acknowledge the human spirit. Find some escape, or perhaps even inspiration, in this ever-growing collection of works and perspectives gathered from around the world. Please contact me directly if you have come across something that has lifted your heart today. Dr. Eric Weiss
Christmas Light Show
Christmas may be over for another year but take a look at this amazing 35-minute Christmas Light show that will bring that festive spirit right back.
The Hug Booth
Residents of Heartis Clear Lake, an assisted living facility in Webster, Texas have finally been able to embrace their loved ones thanks to the invention of “hug booths”.
An employee’s idea came to life with the help of a teenage Boy Scout, who designed three “hug booths” that allow people to embrace without touching at all.
“In March, when things shut down, one of my residents told me the only thing she missed was human touch,” Becky Hudson, the lifestyle director at the facility who came up with the idea, told CNN. “When she said that, I put my gloves on and held her hands and she was just crying. That’s when I started thinking of ways for our seniors to be able to hug their loved ones without risking their lives.”
New Year Poem
Lovely words to inspire a new year for all.
Another year is coming to a close.
We can forget our troubles and woes.
For me, this year was tough.
It brought many emotions, was tearful and rough.
Now another year is approaching fast.
Let’s hope it’s a New Year with love and health; let’s hope it’s a blast.
May all of your dreams come true
And you find peace and love in all that you do.
May this world know the gentle sound of a hush.
May it calm all its anger and slow its pace from the rush.
May we all hear the sound of joy
And push away all that hurts, all that destroys.
The New Year I hope will be good to us all.
Care and calm, a helping hand when we fall.
Listen more, slow down, and say I love you.
Stop for a moment; take a breath, take in the view.
Appreciate your family; tell them you care.
Do something exciting, a thrill, or a dare.
Enjoy all that the New Year may give.
We have but one life, so let’s learn to live.
It’s a New Year, a brand new start.
Always remember, live, and love from your heart.
Wishing each and every one a year to behold,
And may it be full of wonders for you to unfold.
Love, hugs, and kisses too…
A very happy New Year from me to you.
Again, CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
Yours, in health and resilience,
Eric and the TVD MD team…