Steep increases and what that means
Also, don't delay the kid's 2nd shot
Friends, cases and hospitalizations are steeply rising. The US was averaging 93,000 cases on Thanksgiving. Now we are at 120,000 at least. Hospitalizations also continue to rise steeply and have increased by 19% in the past two weeks. Deaths have increased 13%. These are very sharp increases! If you go back and look at my posts from just three weeks ago, deaths or hospitalizations were actually not rising yet at all. And, now the increase is steep. This highlights how deadly COVID is. And, also how contagious it is with Delta already taken hold in the US and Omicron here. I do think that Omicron is about to take everyone by surprise and I’m not convinced yet that it’s not as severe as Delta. We do not have that data yet. We do see it is very contagious. So, even if it’s generally less severe, it will result in much more cases. And, for the vulnerable populations, it can still be very severe and deadly. We have to continue thinking of our vulnerable neighbors in this pandemic - here and globally.
You need to get vaccines and boosters.
40% of the country are unvaccinated. That’s a lot, friends. Preliminary evidence shows that vaccines + boosters protect, at least partially, against Omicron. Our gal-pal, Your Local Epidemiologist, wrote a great synopsis of that data here.
What about delaying the 2nd vaccine for kids?
I have had a lot of questions about delaying the 2nd shot for children. Other countries, like Canada, space out the kid vaccines more than the US. HOWEVER, I would advise NOT delaying because of the steep rise in cases across the country and Omicron coming. At this point, just get those shots for the kids. We know they are safe and effective. I would not chance not getting it for my kids based on the possibility that delaying could result in higher protection. We do not know that. So, get those 2nd shots for your kids now. Don’t delay.
What about holiday parties, church concerts, in-person gatherings?
Given the steep rise in cases and hospitalizations, Omicron in the US and largely undetected because of our lack of surveillance, and lack of vaccines in many areas of the country, I would pull back on gatherings and church get-togethers. Unfortunately, I think we are about to be caught off guard. Now is the time to pull back, wear masks diligently, get those boosters, and cancel in-person gatherings.
Pastors and church leaders, be super cautious in meeting in-person. If you do not have a mask requirement during the church service or any in-person gathering, that is putting your church at risk. Now is the time to put those precautions back in place.