The coronavirus pandemic isn't over; in fact, one virus expert expects there could be another spike this fall. "It's concerning," said Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb yesterday on Face the Nation, when discussing the rise of the more transmissible Delta variant. You may feel safely vaccinated, but more than ⅓ of Americans are not vaccinated, and thus sitting ducks for this new variant. The UK is considering postponing its opening over it; it's already devastated much of India. Read on to hear Gottlieb's warning and also four other life-saving pieces of advice, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Virus Expert Said New Variant Makes Things More Dangerous Now—and There May Be a Spike in the Fall
The Delta variant is "causing a lot of problems in the United Kingdom. The government is considering delaying the reopening for a month," said host John Dickerson. "The variant started in India, but now it's spreading across the world. What should we think about that?" "It's going to continue to spread," said Gottlieb. "It's concerning." The vaccines are protective against it—but more than ⅓ of Americans have not been vaccinated. "It appears to be more transmissible. There was data out from [epidemiologist] Neil Ferguson this week showing it's about 60% more transmissible than 117, which was that old U K variant that they are now calling the Alpha variant. So this is more contagious. It appears that people who get this virus have higher viral loads and they have those viral loads for longer periods of time. So they shed more virus right now in the United States. It's about 10% of infections, it's doubling every two weeks. So it's probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States. That doesn't mean that we're going to see a sharp uptick in infections, but it does mean that this is going to take over. And I think the risk is really to the fall that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall."
Virus Expert Says This Region in the USA is in Danger
We have tools that work to fight COVID, said Gottlieb of the vaccines. "We just need to use those tools, I think in parts of the country where you have less vaccination, particularly in parts of the South, where you have some cities where vaccination rates are low, there's a risk that you could see outbreaks with this new variant. The outbreaks that are happening in the UK are happening around schools, where you have a lot of unvaccinated children."
Virus Expert Said There May Be More Variants to Come
COVID may keep mutating. More variants may come. Get vaccinated to stop them from mutating. "The good news is that so far, none of these variants that we've seen defeat the vaccine—for some of them, the vaccines are a little less effective, but the vaccines have maintained their effectiveness against all of these variants, including 617. So I don't think we're going to see a situation where we're going to wake up one day like we sometimes see with influenza where all of a sudden our vaccine doesn't work, at least not in the foreseeable future."
Virus Expert Said the CDC Should be Looking Carefully at Heart Issues Due to the Vaccine
The CDC is examining cases of pericarditis among some people, mostly younger people, who got the vaccine. "I think it's something that the CDC and the FDA should be looking carefully at," said Gottlieb. "I don't think people should be nervous about it right now. I don't think it changes the risk benefit balance for this vaccine. Right now, these cases are clustered in people 18 to 24 men, more than women, about 80% of the cases that we've seen in men. There have been about 12 million people vaccinated between the age of 18 and 24. We've found 275 cases. It's not clear that there's a causal relationship between the vaccine in these cases—if there is, it's probably an inflammatory response from the vaccine, we know the vaccine creates an inflammatory response. A lot of these cases have happened immediately after vaccination. The vast majority have been self-limiting, they've been treated with steroids or NSAIDs. In certain cases, patients haven't gotten really sick. And we also have to keep in mind that people, especially young people are going out more and we're seeing more outbreaks of ordinary viruses. There's actually been a spike in respiratory syncytial virus, enterovirus, echo viruses, Coxsackie viruses. So it could be the case that as young people get vaccinated, they're going out more, they're exchanging other viruses."
Virus Expert Said These are the Symptoms of Pericarditis to Watch For
"Most of the cases where we've seen pericarditis and we believe it could be an association with their vaccine have happened immediately after vaccination within probably the first two or three days, mostly after the second dose is signs and symptoms of pericarditis typically are a stabbing or a sharp chest pain. That's persistent, it's positional. So it hurts more when you lay back. Sometimes it hurts when you take a deep breath, because the pericardium, the lining of the heart, rubs against the chest wall and it might be associated with a fever."
How to Stay Safe During the Rest of This Pandemic
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated as soon as you can, and if you're unvaccinated, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.