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10 January 2021, Kaboom! Covid atomic explosion, rapid expansion phase!
We are now in the rapid expansion stage of the explosion. Nearly everyone I know has covid, suspects they had (and have recovered - nearly all with only minor ongoing slowly resolving ahems), or has recently been in contact with someone who already has covid, and are awaiting their own experience. Even people who are 2x and 3x jabbed, and strict adherents to all protocols (appropriateness of these is not the topic here).
Testing (appropriateness of testing is also not topic here) positivity is rising daily and now about 50%.
School is on hold for 2 weeks due to mass sickness in staff and students.
Dr friends are reporting 70+% positivity in hospital staff. CODE ORANGE! All medical care is at risk.
Fortunately the local prevalent strain seems mostly self limiting, but there will always be highly vulnerable persons still at risk of severe outcomes.
Knee jerk terror reactions involve attempting to keep the unvaccinated out of society, out of sight, out of buildings, out of groceries; despite there being no published legal basis and right to access work and essential services has been repeatedly confirmed for all, and is supported under the Philippines Constitution.
I am sharing a statement just put out by our local Dr. Castillo to government authorities below.
STATEMENT FROM THE FAME LEADERS ACADEMY (FLA)
URGENT MESSAGE FOR DOH/IATF/MMDA
We believe we must call the attention of our health and other officials for two serious miscalculations they are committing, unwittingly fuelling the spread of the virus.
First is the continuing mass vaccination/boostering in the midst of an outbreak. With a 44% positivity rate, that means that almost every other individual in a crowd seeking vaccination may carry the virus. Most of these are either asymptomatic or with very mild symptoms they don’t attribute to Covid-19. It’s never sound medicine to administer vaccination during a massive infectious outbreak. It will not prevent the current surge since the antibodies will be formed two weeks after vaccination. Meanwhile they were likely exposed to the virus during the vaccination and there’s a strong possibility they will develop the disease, instead of preventing it.
In the last two weeks, many patients developed Covid-19 within a week of their vaccination or boostering, and the infected individual also infected the whole family and household. So it’s possible the mass vaccination is contributory to the omicron spread. It has also been established that this variant can escape vaccine immunity, as shown by increased breakthrough rates in those who received full vaccination or booster shots in Israel and United Kingdom. So there’s no rationale for rushing the boostering or primary vaccination to prevent omicron infection.
The second grave miscalculation is restricting the movements of those who are unvaccinated, including those with previous infection.
Multiple studies have already shown that with the delta, and likely much more so with the omicron, the viral loads in both the fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated are similar or equivalent, suggesting that their potential to infect others is of similar risk.
Furthermore, it’s safe to assume that the vaccinated, who are generally asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic are unwittingly infecting more people than the unvaccinated, who are generally more symptomatic; hence, they stay home and isolate themselves. Meanwhile, their asymptomatic and vaccinated counterparts go around, doing their usual activities, without realizing they’re infecting many others they come in contact with. Many vaccinated individuals also have the false impression and confidence that they’re protected by the vaccines so they can let their guard down with regards to safety protocols, unlike the unvaccinated, who remain conscious of their susceptibility to Covid-19 and need for strict adherence to prescribed health protocols. A case in point is the case of the Poblacion girl.
So, urgent actions we recommend our health officials may consider to take, are the following:
Immediately suspend mass vaccination in hotbed areas.
Advise those who get vaccinated to remain in quarantine for 5 days.
Educate the public on the equal potential to get infected and infect others, in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Educate the public on early treatment protocols that can be immediately taken to relieve symptoms, boost the immune system and enhance elimination of virus. Early diagnostic (rapid antigen testing) and treatment kits should be provided to indigent barangays.
Provide free, or make readily available at a controlled pricing rapid antigen testing for home use. This will reduce hospital and clinic consultations, and prevent congestion that can lead to an artificial healthcare exhaustion. More teleconsultations by volunteer doctors should also be made available.
Recall any directive, ordinances or resolutions discriminating against the unvaccinated, inflicting much harm on their physical and mental health.
Reassure the public that this omicron surge will soon be over and there is no need to panic and hoard on medicines. Data from other countries suggest that only 1-2 out of 1,000 Covid-19 patients with the omicron variant may die from it. The risk of dying from it is similar to the ordinary flu. The good news is that those who get infected with it will develop an “updated” natural immunity to Covid-19, which is most likely superior to what any current vaccines could provide.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD
Dean Emeritus, FLA