Monkeypox Mpox cases 2023

The summer wave of Monkeypox seems to have waned six months later with cases dropping to around an annual low. The six month decline is now consistent, basing for what could possibly be another increase in the Spring and Summer months. With the continued rise of COVID and its variants, and the known damage it inflicts on the immune system, it is not outside of the realm of reason or immunology to expect case numbers to rise. The question will be, how high will they go? Past the 2022 high watermark? The US and the world will ind out in 3-6 months, and perhaps a notable trend direction change in a month or two.

2023 COVID Variants to Complicate Pandemic Response

Chart shows the uptick from Christmas related to COVID reported cases. Note, many jurisdictions including the USA and Canada no longer have widespread testing or reporting. This is a phenomenon to get the public to accept the ongoing harm. It also make sit hard for the general public to get a sense of the real-time COVID-19 danger in a particular area without good data. Wastewater testing data is one tool but it is merely one.

Currently, an expanding population in most countries that fall into the “done with COVID-19” segment. Part of this is attributed to cumulative exhaustion. We all would prefer to move on with our lives despite the relative risk. However, there exists a denial where the notion of “risk” is down-played by the “COVID is just the flu” crowd. This position has been completely debunked yet the rumors/idea persists largely due to ineffective public health messaging. Politicians have a short-term outlook on their own careers, and even more left-leaning science-based political parties are doing away with COVID-19 messaging including public mask wearing.

So where does this take us?

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Monkeypox Declared World Health Emergency

A week after the WHO declared monkeypox a word health emergency (as they did with COVID) governments around the world are following suit, including the United States.

Temporary Recommendations issued by the WHO Director-General in relation to the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox

Cases in the US are approaching 10000 as vaccine acquisition ramps up.

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USA Hits Dubious Mark of 1 Million COVID Deaths

NBC news is among the first major news outlets to release and confirm the dubious distinction that America has hit 1 million COVID-19 related deaths. That doesn’t not include the related deaths because of the lack of healthcare resources, and permanent disabilities incurred because of the virus. In just over two years the death toll has risen exponentially, attributed both to the unwillingness of many American from getting the free vaccine, and curtailing public health measures.

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50% of All Americans Will Be Infected with Omicron

By the middle of February, most modelling predicts that at least 50% of Americans will have been infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

This prediction is based on infection rate, whereas many states are showing possibilities of peak infection. That only means, however, that we’re at the mid-way point of this particular infectious wave.

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Free N95 Masks for Americans

Not only are Americans permitted to access vaccines and boosters for free, they can now order free N95 masks to be delivered by USPS. With the onslaught of Omicron, cloth or disposable surgical masks are no longer adequate to protect against the virus. The use of N95, at minimum, masks is the new recommendation. Ensuring access to as many people as possible is crucial to tapering the rising wave of infections.

The Biden administration will make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting next week, a White House official told CNN, the latest federal step aimed at reining in the US’ Covid-19 surge.

The masks — which are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile — will be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers, the official said, adding that the program will be “fully up and running by early February.”

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Canada takes lead on first dose vaccinations

Vaccine access will be a discussion topics for months and even years to come. “Rich” countries, beginning with the United States, have ensured their population has first access to the vaccines, namely Pfizer and Moderna. Other countries follow suit, and although there’s been gaps of months for these countries, supply is now picking up steam and more and more people are getting jabs in arms. Canada is now the leading country in terms of percentage of population with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now it’s a matter of distribution and increasing access for the entire world, not just those who can hoard vaccine volume/shots.

Hospice Care: Pioneering Palliative Care and What’s Next

In medieval times the term hospice meant a refuge for ill or tired travellers. In other countries hospices are specific buildings where care is provided only for patients of life limiting illnesses. However in the US hospice care is a term that denotes care to the terminally ill patient at the location of his or her choosing. That location can be the patient’s home, a family member’s home or an institution. The concept of hospice is the recognition of the end of life as part of a natural process. The desire is to help a patient at that stage cope with that progression as positively and with as much dignity and respect as possible. Hospice care also recognizes the importance of the involvement of the patient’s family in the decisions involved in the patient’s care.

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AstraZeneca Vaccine More Effective In new Study

There were initial reports of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a slightly lower effective rate compared to the primary North American vaccines made by Moderna and Phizer. Couple that with recent dubious concerns that the AZ vaccine was causing health problems (blood clots), and many governments paused distribution. That also meant general populations refused to take it, thereby stigmatizing the vaccine in a time when ANY vaccine is the right one. These are valid concerns by the public, but with additional information becoming available, those concerns must be put to rest. It also behooves governments that have approved the vaccine (or will), to do a better job with public health communication to dispel any rumours AstraZeneca isn’t a “good” vaccine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the study of 30,000 people, the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 — including in older adults. There were no severe illnesses or hospitalizations among vaccinated volunteers, compared with five such cases in participants who received dummy shots — a small number, but consistent with findings from Britain and other countries that the vaccine protects against the worst of the disease.