Category: COVID-19

The Costs of Coronavirus – Part 5

Since our last update on the costs associated with COVID-19 in May, new variants have swept across the country, booster shots have been recommended for most vaccine recipients, and inoculations have been approved for children as young as 5 years old​​. Americans are still struggling from unexpected pandemic-related healthcare costs.

Major systemic failures to meaningfully address the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020 had dire consequences that the nation and the world are still recovering from. The U.S. contains only 4% of the world’s population, but 20% of global cases and deaths from the pandemic. As many as 40% of American deaths in the first year of the pandemic were avoidable. While former President Trump is responsible for his administration’s promotion of misinformation, silencing experts, and interference in fact-based public health guidance, these failures were exacerbated by decades of disinvestment and structural deficiencies in the public health system

The ongoing pandemic has continued to be politicized with several states’ governors

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Rapid COVID Testing – An Effective Preventive Measure

This article originally appeared on BeMedWise. An up-to-date version can be found here.

Periodic screening for COVID infection is one of many proven ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately it is underutilized.

Although vaccine mandates have become part of many workplaces, there are still those who will not accept vaccination. Periodic COVID testing has become the alternate choice, although predominantly done using a test that takes at least 24 hours to get the results, during which time the person could potentially be spreading the virus. The typical testing interval is a week, although some companies such as FOX news, are mandating daily testing.

One problem with the current approach to COVID testing is that it is predominantly reactive in nature. Testing for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is being done on people with COVID-19 symptoms, but it has not been consistently used as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the spread of COVID infections.

That is beginning to change, starting with recent federal mandates that employees either

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COVID in Children Is Not Insignificant

This article originally appeared on BeMedWise. An up-to-date version can be found here.

COVID-19 is not rare in children and adolescents. At time of writing, it has infected more than 7.3% (5,518,815) of the young people in the United States. Since even those with mild or asymptomatic disease can spread COVID to others, they are a source of infection for unprotected and vulnerable individuals.

Other than reducing the spread of COVID infections, there are many reasons why we need to commit to immunizing children and adolescents and utilizing other proven protective measures such as face masks, social distancing, screening questions, contact tracing, staying home when sick, and periodic COVID testing.

Despite early impressions and ongoing rhetoric that COVID-19 infection is uncommon and relatively harmless in children, time has shown that children and adolescents are getting COVID at increasing rates and that the number that are getting severe disease and/or have significant mental and physical complications from COVID disease is not trivial.

1 – Increasing Number of Cases

Since the Delta variant has become predominant,

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COVID-19 and Cold/Flu Season 2021

The change of the seasons is in full swing throughout the country, and the United States is heading towards another cold and flu season in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Children returning to school amid the dangerous politicization of public health attempts to increase vaccination and promote mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing has created a risk-filled environment for many across the country.

We’ve previously covered the differences between asthma, allergies, and COVID infection. It is even more vital to know the difference between symptoms for viral conditions such as a cold, the flu, and COVID-19. All three are spread in similar ways and share symptoms, but have varied incubation time and severity.

  • COVID-19 (coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) most common symptoms are a fever, cough and tiredness; other symptoms include muscle aches, sneezing, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of smell/taste. Symptoms can appear anywhere between 2-14 days after exposure, during which time an infected individual can spread the coronavirus even if asymptomatic (not presenting symptoms). Complications can include blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Most hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 can be prevented with a vaccine. Many symptoms of COVID-19 can be lessened with antiviral medications.
  • Colds (rhinoviruses) have similar symptoms to the novel coronavirus, but do not include diarrhea or nausea. Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure. Colds are only transmissible while a person is symptomatic. There is no vaccine or cure for the common cold. Treatment may include pain relievers and over-the-counter cold remedies such as decongestants. Unlike COVID-19, a cold is usually harmless; most people recover from a common cold in 3-10 days.
  • The flu (influenza) has the same symptoms as COVID-19, but rarely causes loss of smell/taste. Flu symptoms usually appear about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus. The flu is generally only transmissible while symptomatic and does not pose the same risk of severe illness as COVID-19. There are several antiviral treatments available to treat the flu, and an annual vaccine reduces the risk of infection and/or severe illness. The flu vaccine can be given as an injection or as a nasal spray.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a confirmed exposure, it’s important that you contact a healthcare provider right away for medical advice. Tests are available to confirm diagnosis of COVID-19 and/or the flu. Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

Even if you have been fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing reduces the

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COVID Vaccine Booster: Controversy or Necessary?

This article originally appeared on BeMedWise. An up-to-date version can be found here.

In the United States, the COVID vaccine is available to anyone over 12 years old for protection against severe COVID disease and death. Many have not taken advantage of this, either by not getting fully vaccinated or not getting vaccinated at all. Most of these people, aside from those who will be getting them due to vaccine mandates, are unlikely to get the vaccine any time soon.

In the meantime, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are still producing vaccines and more companies are working on them and hope to get approval soon. So what are we going to do with all this vaccine?

Clearly, some of it will be used for anyone 12 years old and older who want to be vaccinated, for the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to complete the series, for any who will need it to comply with vaccine mandates, and children less than 12 years old once they’ve been approved for them.

The recent FDA and CDC discussions and decision was about who to begin giving booster shots to, not whether or

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.