MLKCH infectious disease specialist, Dr. Maita Kuvhenguhwa, provides a simple breakdown to the current stage of COVID-19

November 26, 2020

Why are we having another wave of COVID-19?
Some, including the US Surgeon General, are attributing recent increases in cases to “pandemic fatigue” that includes decreased motivation to follow restrictions such as wearing masks and social distancing that can help decrease spread of the virus. Holiday celebrations with traditional friend and family gathering and occasional travel, from Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas, also contribute to the spread.
How can we protect ourselves? 
The best way to protect ourselves is to continue to practice the principals of: 

  • social distancing
  • universal masking
  • hand washing/hand hygiene
  • staying home if you are sick
  • and not touching your nose/mouth with unwashed hands 

When we practiced accordingly, these principals work well to slow the spread and reduce your personal risk of contracting the virus. 

How can we spend time with family during the holidays?
It is difficult to be away from family and not be able to celebrate the way we normally do, but there are ways to be together while minimizing the infection risk. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) released this infographic that can be applied to any of the upcoming holidays. 

  • outdoors is safer
  • be vigilant about hand hygiene
  • hand washing/hand hygiene
  • keep it small
  • reconsider travel

When will a vaccine be released and who will get it first? 
There are no vaccines available to the public at this time, although several appear to be getting close to approval. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is preparing for vaccine distribution when one or more vaccines becomes available from the federal government. Priority will be given first to those most at risk: frontline workers and people with the highest risk of becoming infected. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) the targeted timeframe for an initial adult supply is before the end of 2020, which will be followed by additional supply in 2021. 

According to the CDC, a COVID-19 vaccine will not be available for young children until more studies are completed.
What do we know now about COVID-19 that we didn’t know at the start of the pandemic?
We have found one treatment that reliably decreases mortality (chances of dying from COVID-19): steroids, specifically dexamethasone for patients who require oxygen. Additional treatments are on the horizon, but more research is needed to determine effectiveness and potential side effects. 

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