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Tripledemic, Part Three

Ahhh, COVID. The virus that has shaped us for forever, and still hasn’t managed to go away. I know we’re super tired of it, but it’s not super tired of us. And it’s still mutating.

There’s too much to say, and if you let me, I’ll go on forever and forever so let me leave you all with this.

As most of you all know, the latest strain in the US is JN.1, which is closely related to the previous strain BA.286. It accounts for 60% cases at this time. Before that, there was a strain XBB1.5, a variant of omicron.

So many people thought that getting omicron bivalent was enough, if they even got that-unfortunately, not!

There was a bivalent booster that came out this fall to protect against XBB1.5, and that is the latest and greatest to get. Only 8 % Pediatric population and 18% adults got this though.

Now JN.1 is extremely responsive to the LATEST bivalent booster, and effects on immunity are greatest 2-4 months after.

It responds well to latest antivirals, too, which I will get to.

Symptoms are cough, fever and sore throat, however, JN.1 seems to be most potent when it comes to GI symptoms more then the others, specifically upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

For the month of January, COVID accounted for about 2% ER visits, and 22,000 hospitalizations-which decreased 10-11% within last week of January

Which is GREAT news-but we’re just not quite out of the woods yet.

Dirty south, I’m still looking at you. Our waste water levels are still high while everyone else’s in the US is receding.

I suspect our overall skepticism to vaccines/masking etc is at least some cause of this.

So a little more about the vaccine since I’m talking about it so much.

Pfizer and Moderna have a bivalent booster with XBB1.5 now (just came out in fall), AND THIS ONE is the one all children 6 months and up.

There is also a Novavax booster available, the first non-mRNA based vaccine. This is for the 12 and up crowd, some studies have shown a modest improvement in immune response compared to the other two, having said that, getting any vaccine bivalent booster at all is your best bet more than fussing over one product vs the other.

As far as treatment goes, for moderate to severe COVID, the main two antivirals out on market right now is remdesivir, which is an IV antiviral available to those 28 days and older, for those severely sick enough to be hospitalized.

Paxlovid, the one you’ve heard of most likely, is for the 12 and up crowd, and you must weight at least 40 kg. This can be given in the outpatient setting.

I hope that has answered some questions, about the 'big three', hopefully leaving an area near you soon. Get your shots! As any questions you may have, and we will certainly try to find the answer.

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