Is the Pandemic Ending?

A hot topic question that I am being ask a lot is this, “Is the coronavirus pandemic on its last legs and coming to an eventual end?”  I have written in past articles and cited research articles that state the longer viruses are around they mutate into different variants to survive and stay alive.  As they mutate for survival, in the vast majority of cases, they basically weaken and become less lethal.  The flip side of the coin is that they become more spreadable.  The viral reproduction number is call Rzero or R naught.  If the R naught number is greater than zero, the virus is expected to spread at a faster rate.  If the number stays at zero, it is a slow spreading virus.  For example, if one person has a viral infection and passes it on to two others the viral reproduction number is R2.  The coronavirus had an initial reproduction rate of 1.4 to 2.4.  The Delta covid-19 mutation variant R naught number increased to R5, thus the viral spread increased.  The estimated Omicron virus R naught number is R3.7.  While this number is much less than the Delta variant, Omicron spreads faster than the initial covid-19 virus. For every person that has the Omicron virus they can potentially spread it to 3.7 people. And then each of those 3.7 people can spread it to 3.7 people, which means the spread rate goes from one person to 50 potential cases. The spread can increase exponentially from there.

 

While all of this talk of spread and increased cases sounds scary to the average person, the reason why omicron spreads so fast should help to alleviate some fear. Covid-19 and the Delta variant were more lethal versions of this virus because they attacked the lung tissue and stayed there doing damage.  In cases where patients had pre-existing illness, were heavily over weight, vitamin D deficient or in the elderly category, the virus did it’s most damage and a lot of these people had a very hard fight to recover. Sadly and indiscriminately, there were even some cases of younger, healthier people who also had viral complications as well.  For lack of a better word, the good news with omicron is that this variant has not been shown to attack and stay in the lungs.  This variant is upper respiratory and in most instances stays in the nasal passages and throat giving symptoms similar to the common cold or a low level upper respiratory virus.  Symptoms such as a runny or clogged nose, headache, low grade fever, scratchy throat.  The symptoms seem to last 3-4 days.  The fact that the virus is mostly in the nose and throat accounts for its higher spread rate, as a cough or sneeze sends this virus airborne. 

 

The death rate from this virus has not increased and has actually decreased showing that the virus is definitely less lethal.  Unfortunately, some people are still being hospitalized. In some cases the virus moves to the lungs. The vast majority of these cases are the elderly and people with the conditions I listed above.  People in those categories should take efforts in viral precaution.  In addition, It wouldn’t hurt them to take immune support supplementation and eat more whole foods as opposed to processed foods to build health.

 

More positive news points to immune system function in our body. Omicron virus is good at evading antibodies, which explains why vaccinated people are catching this virus at the same rate as unvaccinated.  The positive news according to an immunology study at the University of Cape Town in South Africa,  is that once the virus evades the antibodies, the body’s own immune system T-cells are recognizing Omicron and are fighting it off relatively quickly.

 

Another South African study found that since Omicron spread so quickly with less severity and if this pattern continues and is repeated globally (as it is doing), we are likely to see a complete decoupling of case and death rates.  Researchers are suggesting that we will be seeing the end of the epidemic phase of the covid-19 pandemic.

 

Let me end this week’s article with an encouraging quote from Nicanor Austriaco, a molecular biologist and MIT- trained vaccine researcher who believes high transmissibility indicates the pandemic’s end is close at hand.  “Due to its ultra-high transmissibility, Omicron will eventually amount to a “natural vaccine.”  “So as the virus rapidly increases, it’s going to try to spread to everyone and it’s going to try to find as many vulnerable (people). It is spreading so rapidly, what you will expect is it will run out the food sooner.”  “And when it runs out of food, it will begin to crash — which is why you see in South Africa, the numbers are crashing. In London, the numbers are beginning to fall only; because, once it spreads like wildfire, and when all the trees are burned, there’s nowhere for it to go. So it begins to crash,” he added. The Omicron variant marks “the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” he said.  “We have to realize that Omicron is the beginning of the end of the pandemic because Omicron is going to provide the kind of population immunity that should stabilize our societies and should allow us to reopen. This is the hope and the prayer,” he said. 

 

Atlantic County, NJ and Covid-19:  Proving the Omicron spread rate, since I last gave Atlantic County statistics 3 weeks ago, covid cases have increased from 2,101 new cases in a 14 day span to 9,583 new cases in the last two weeks. Our 7 day average cases reported is up 165 cases per day to 684 cases per day.  Atlantic County is averaging 3 deaths per weeks with a total of 26 deaths since I last reported.    On 1/07/2021, there were a total of 5,701 people admitted in all of New Jersey’s hospitals for care of Covid-19 infections.  In the USA, 517 million doses of the vaccine have been given out.  207,259 million people are fully vaccinated, 63% of the population. 59.8 million people have contracted the Covid-19 virus in the USA.  Atlantic County has had 55,332 total cases of Covid-19. 

 

Children and Covid Hospitalizations:  As of Friday 1/7/22, 95 children across the state of NJ were hospitalized with COVID-19, down from 119 on Thursday but almost double the number from late December, according to the Department of Health. Another eight kids were under investigation for the coronavirus.  But only 24 of the 95 confirmed cases had a principal diagnosis of COVID-19, the state health department said, meaning the other kids went to the hospital for reasons unrelated to the virus and tested positive once there.

Vaccine Informed Consent Information:   Informed consent means that the person to be vaccinated has to be informed about all the risks, the risk benefit ratios, the potential dangers and what is known about side effects. For example, informed consent takes place in all drug advertising.  Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System data released 12/31/21 by the CDC showed a total of 1 million, 17 thousand, 8 hundred and 1 reports of adverse reactions from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 21,382 deaths. Serious injuries reported in this time period totaled 166,606. New Data for 5 to 11 years olds:  6,005 reported adverse reactions, 126 reported as serious, 3 deaths.  This week’s data for 12- to 17-year-olds show 26,169 total adverse events, including 1,516 rated as serious and 35 reported deaths among 12- to 17-year-olds.  Severe reactions in all age groups of anaphylaxis include 2,252 people, 3,405 reports of myocarditis and 12,200 reports of blood clotting disorders.  This week’s data for pregnancy /prenatal vaccination shows pregnant women had over 4,730 adverse events reported including 1,499 reports of miscarriage or premature birth.  VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a causal relationship can be confirmed. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database contains information on unverified reports of adverse events following immunization. Reports are accepted from anyone and can be submitted electronically.

Chiropractic Care:  Prevention is worth its weight in gold.  It is much wiser to spend your time and effort working to be healthy then it is to recover from sickness.  With sickness comes symptoms, loss of productivity and the added expense of loss of income.  Prevention comes in the form of sleeping enough, exercising, proper food choices, stress management and supplementing your diet with important vitamins like D3.  In the chiropractic world, prevention is periodic spinal check-ups when you feel good.  The biggest question I receive concerning chiropractic and prevention is “if I feel good, why?”  The best answer and only answer is lifestyle.  Your body continues to use its muscles on a daily basis in activities, postures and motions that are unique to you. Every day, gradually the stress on the muscles slowly causes muscle contractions that gently pull on the spinal bones, shifting them from proper alignment to subluxated alignment.  As the vertebra slowly subluxates, instability in the spine begins to increase and then one day the spinal bone is fully out of alignment.  Once this happens, anything can happen!  Sudden pain while tying your shoe, brushing your teeth, carrying a grocery bag or bending to pick up the newspaper.  Chiropractic prevention is about damage control.  Muscle lifestyle stress does not go away and everyone is susceptible to it.  Periodic chiropractic spinal (tune-ups) adjustments by your chiropractor can help keep the spine in line, prevent instability from occurring and most importantly, the painful incident that came out of nowhere from doing nothing!!  Chiropractors typically recommend prevention visit once every 4-6 weeks. Some people who have more physically demanding jobs require more frequent visits to the chiropractor.  Professional athletes see their chiropractor 1-2 times per week when they feel good!!

As far as immune system function, research has shown (seriously, it has been proven) that chiropractic adjustments have 3 major effects on how the immune system functions. Research shows that when the chiropractor adjusts the spine, the rate at which the body’s DNA repairs itself is increased. DNA repair rate is an important marker for immune system function.  It has also been shown that when the chiropractor adjusts the thoracic spine (middle back) where the spinal nerves co-ordinate control of the spleen, there is an immediate increase in white blood cell production. White blood cells are the blood cells that fight infection in the body.  Studies have also shown that long term, regular chiropractic care can increase T-Cell production and levels of the body’s resistance enzymes. So, yes. Chiropractic care is an important part of maintaining health.

Author
Dr J. Zimmerman, Chiropractor Dr. Zimmerman is a practicing chiropractor from Galloway, NJ with 30 years of chiropractic practice.

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