The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Covid-19 update

County case count hits 44; Thanksgiving bump ahead

 

December 10, 2020



The total number of confirmed covid-19 cases had risen to 44 in Wahkiakum County as of Wednesday, with 848 tests conducted so far. Cowlitz County was reporting 1,847 total cases, with 923 still considered active. They were also attributing covid-19 to 12 deaths in their county.

Pacific County had a total of 479 positive cases, with 34 of them still actively monitored by public health nurses. Pacific County has had three deaths related to covid-19. Across the river in Clatsop County, they have had a total of 427 cases, with 125 still active, and two deaths reported. Columbia County has had 514 cases, with 56 considered infectious, and four deaths reported.

Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said that some of the 43 cases in Wahkiakum County had visited the hospital, but he did not believe anyone was there now. He also said that anyone who had been diagnosed with covid-19 more than four weeks ago could be considered recovered.

“If we are going to get a Thanksgiving bounce, this weekend should be when it starts,” Bischoff said. “Over the next four or five days, we should see any implications of that and lasting up to another week and a half up to two weeks, just in time for Christmas.”

Hospitalizations

The State of Washington was averaging 77 hospitalizations per day in November, Bischoff said, but over the last seven and 14 days, the state is averaging well over 100 hospitalizations per day.

Bischoff added that there had been a little bit of leveling out, but Kaiser Medical System was reporting that numbers were still heading upward to a troubling level in both ICU and non-ICU covid beds.

WA Notify

A new phone application that notifies the user if he or she has come in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for covid-19 is now available to Washington residents.

“Generically, the function is that your phone, and other phones around you, once enabled, will exchange random sequences of people you have been around,” Bischoff said.

If the app is installed on your phone, and the health department notifies you that you have tested positive for covid-19, they will then ask if you’ve been using the app. If you have, they will give you a code, which you will enter into your phone. This will generate a list of other users who have come in close contact with you for the health department without you knowing who they are, or the other users knowing who you are. The health department will contact those people so they can get tested or do anything else they might need to do.

There is no way for the user to figure out which random sequence belongs to which person. There is no way for someone to track you with their device, Bischoff said. There is no way for the user to falsely report a positive test result.

The designers modeled the application on technology that is already being used in South Korea and Taiwan, two countries that found success with a similar application during previous outbreaks, Bischoff added.

“They’ve figured out…if you have 60-70 percent of the population using this thing, you can almost completely avoid lockdown,” Bischoff said.

When the two aforementioned countries went into lockdown, he said, it usually lasted a week or two, and then the the restrictions were gone again.

“There is a lot of mask wearing,” Bischoff said. “They are just used to it at this point.”

Officials are also learning that they don’t have to reach 60-70 percent of the population for the application to help.

“Any update is helpful,” he said. “It increases the number of people we can notify. It makes contact tracing significantly easier for my public nurse. So even if one percent of the population signs up for this thing, it is helpful, though we would like to get up to 60-70 percent.”

For more information:

--http://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/WANotify

--https://www. google.com/covid19/

Vaccines

Vaccines are coming, Bischoff said, and they are safe.

“There is an anti-vaccine movement that is not news to anyone. All of it has been debunked scientifically, but people keep on with it,” he said.

Bischoff has worked in public health for many years. When public health fixed the clean water problem, which had to do with getting rid of sewage appropriately, they added 20-30 years to life expectancy, he said.

They did much the same with vaccines and antibiotics, which makes it disheartening for him when people are willing to accept a significant amount of misinformation on vaccines.

“The science is out there,” Bischoff said. “I’ve reviewed that data quite a bit before this year. There was famously a doctor in the United Kingdom that tied autism to vaccines. In a sense he did us a favor, because there hadn’t been a ton of research between those two things. There is now. And it all very clearly says that is not a thing. Vaccines do not cause nor contribute to autism or similar autism spectrum type diseases.”

“Vaccines are safe,” he continued. “Yes, there are some side effects. The side effects are far outweighed by the disease you would get if you don’t get the vaccine.”

Getting US approval

“China and Russia both approved a vaccine well before it would have been approved in the United States,” Bischoff said. “We don’t do that here.”

“When you get to Phase 3 in testing, you would do a double blind,” he said, which he described in the following example.

When Pfizer was testing thousands of people in Phase 3, half of the them got the vaccine, and the other half got what Bischoff described, for lack of a better term, as sugar water. The double blind was this: The person administering the vaccine had no idea which substance they were injecting, and therefore could not in any way alert the recipient, by expression or otherwise, of which substance they were receiving.

An independent review panel looks at all the ensuing data. They study how many people were involved, their demographics, side effects, and also how efficacious and how effective the vaccine is going to be.

Once they are satisfied, it goes before the National Institute of Health. If that panel accepts the data, and finds it safe, efficacious and effective, they pass it on to the US Food and Drug Administration, who again, independently reviews the data.

Finally, Bischoff said, it is reviewed by a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which is a 15 member panel made up of academics and people who work in the industry.

If that wasn’t enough, Washington, California, and Oregon are adding one more review from a panel of people who are not associated with drug companies, and are in the immunological field.

“So we’ll have another review,” Bischoff said. “It’s not the typical process, but for us, there’ll be that extra process. I feel confident after having thoroughly reviewed this, that when it makes it all the way through there, even though it is going to be released under an emergency use authorization, that it is safe.”

Efficacious, but not highly effective

We have found out that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly efficacious, but not highly effective, Bischoff said.

“If I get this shot, I have about a 99 percent chance of not getting covid-19,” Bischoff said. “However I still have a decent chance of passing on SARS-COV2.”

A similar example would be Magic Johnson, Bischoff said, who has had HIV for 30 years, but never had AIDS. Similarly, you might have the SARS-COV2 virus and be able to communicate that to other people, but never get covid-19, which is the sickness from SARS-COV2.

“The vaccine is extremely efficacious, in that if I get it I will never get covid-19 more than likely,” Bischoff said, “but I can still pass it. So the effectiveness is basically population-wide. It won’t keep me from giving it to anybody else, it will just keep me from getting sick.”

Distribution

We expect to have about 200,000 doses in the state of Washington in December,” Bischoff said.

The first wave will go to hospital systems, and the second wave will go to long term care facilities.

After that, EMS, clinics, and some high risk people will receive the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control is still working on what follows.

When will the general population be receiving the vaccine? Bischoff guesses that will happen sometime over the next couple months, but will continue to update the public. He expects that the vaccine will be widely available by spring.

exposurenotifications/#exposure-notifications-and-privacy

Vaccines

Vaccines are coming, Bischoff said, and they are safe.

“There is an anti-vaccine movement that is not news to anyone. All of it has been debunked scientifically, but people keep on with it,” he said.

Bischoff has worked in public health for many years. When public health fixed the clean water problem, which had to do with getting rid of sewage appropriately, they added 20-30 years to life expectancy, he said.

They did much the same with vaccines and antibiotics, which makes it disheartening for him when people are willing to accept a significant amount of misinformation on vaccines.

“The science is out there,” Bischoff said. “I’ve reviewed that data quite a bit before this year. There was famously a doctor in the United Kingdom that tied autism to vaccines. In a sense he did us a favor, because there hadn’t been a ton of research between those two things. There is now. And it all very clearly says that is not a thing. Vaccines do not cause nor contribute to autism or similar autism spectrum type diseases.”

“Vaccines are safe,” he continued. “Yes, there are some side effects. The side effects are far outweighed by the disease you would get if you don’t get the vaccine.”

Getting approval in the US

“China and Russia both approved a vaccine well before it would have been approved in the United States,” Bischoff said. “We don’t do that here.”

“When you get to Phase 3 in testing, you would do a double blind,” he said, which he described in the following example.

When Pfizer was testing thousands of people in Phase 3, half of the them got the vaccine, and the other half got what Bischoff described, for lack of a better term, as sugar water. The double blind was this: The person administering the vaccine had no idea which substance they were injecting, and therefore could not in any way alert the recipient, by expression or otherwise, of which substance they were receiving.

An independent review panel looks at all the ensuing data. They study how many people were involved, their demographics, side effects, and also how efficacious and how effective the vaccine is going to be.

Once they are satisfied, it goes before the National Institute of Health. If that panel accepts the data, and finds it safe, efficacious and effective, they pass it on to the US Food and Drug Administration, who again, independently reviews the data.

Finally, Bischoff said, it is reviewed by a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which is a 15 member panel made up of academics and people who work in the industry.

If that wasn’t enough, Washington, California, and Oregon are adding one more review from a panel of people who are not associated with drug companies, and are in the immunological field.

“So we’ll have another review,” Bischoff said. “It’s not the typical process, but for us, there’ll be that extra process. I feel confident after having thoroughly reviewed this, that when it makes it all the way through there, even though it is going to be released under an emergency use authorization, that it is safe.”

Efficacious, but not highly effective

We have found out that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly efficacious, but not highly effective, Bischoff said.

“If I get this shot, I have about a 99 percent chance of not getting covid-19,” Bischoff said. “However I still have a decent chance of passing on SARS-COV2.”

A similar example would be Magic Johnson, Bischoff said, who has had HIV for 30 years, but never had AIDS. Similarly, you might have the SARS-COV2 virus and be able to communicate that to other people, but never get covid-19, which is the sickness from SARS-COV2.

“The vaccine is extremely efficacious, in that if I get it I will never get covid-19 more than likely,” Bischoff said, “but I can still pass it. So the effectiveness is basically population-wide. It won’t keep me from giving it to anybody else, it will just keep me from getting sick.”

Distribution

We expect to have about 200,000 doses in the state of Washington in December,” Bischoff said.

The first wave will go to hospital systems, and the second wave will go to long term care facilities.

After that, EMS, clinics, and some high risk people will receive the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control is still working on what follows.

When will the general population be receiving the vaccine? Bischoff guesses that will happen sometime over the next couple months, but will continue to update the public. He expects that the vaccine will be widely available by spring.

 

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