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Omicron Variant...Much ado about nothing? Or is there cause for concern?

This week I would like to address the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.  As you are aware, unless you have been living under a rock, the news outlets are non-stop reporting on this variant and from what I have seen, the stories tend to lean towards sensationalized reporting.  The one thing that I can say concerning news reporting is that in the last year or so it has definitely taken a large swing away from science based factual reporting to a more politically and financially driven style of “talking points” that are seen on all of the news channels.


That being said, let me share with you what I have researched and learned about the Omicron variant.  The Associated Press participates in an ongoing effort to fact check misinformation concerning the coronavirus.  One of the factually true statements published on their website says that viruses constantly mutate as they copy themselves. Some mutations may not make meaningful changes, while others can give the virus new characteristics.  Early scientific theories suggest that as viruses evolve, they would become more contagious and less lethal so that they can keep spreading and basically stay alive.  Viruses want to live. Evolving to a less lethal variant ensures the viruses survival.  Even though this is accepted by the scientific community, it is also accepted by the scientific community that this is not always the case and some viruses can become more dangerous.  Examples of this include the bird flu which was not initially harmful to humans, but became resistant to medical treatment and the deadly Ebola virus.  According to Troy Day, a professor of mathematics and biology at Queen’s University in Canada, who has studied the ways infectious diseases, including coronavirus evolve, Viruses becoming more transmissible and less lethal are absolutely what’s best for the pathogen.”


How does this apply to what we are dealing with right now in the surge of the Omicron variant?  The Washington Post recently reported on a press meeting with Ryan Noach, the chief executive of Discovery Health (private health insurance company in South Africa).  In a nod to natural immunity, Noach went on to say that the disease is less severe in South Africa because 70% of the population have already been exposed to the coronavirus.  He also stated that most infections are described as mild with recovery within 3 days.  The most common symptoms were scratchy throat, nasal congestion and body aches. He then said there was less evidence of respiratory infections.


Wendy Burgers of the University of Capetown, S.A. presented research last week at a World Health Organization (WHO) symposium that shows the body's own natural T-cell immune response is strong against the Omicron variant. 


Bloomberg news reports on 12/17/21 that South Africa is reporting a much lower hospitalization admission rate with the Omicron variant.  In a timetable comparison of Omicron to the Delta variant, Omicron hospitalization is 1.7% while at the same point, when Delta emerged the hospital admission rate was 19%. The South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla presented evidence that the Omicron strain is milder.  Michelle Groome, head of Health Surveillance for the S.A. National Institute of Communicable diseases says that "We are really seeing very small increases in the number of deaths."  Statistics were showing an increase of the average covid-19 death by 1 or 2 in the time period sampled compared to prior weeks.


With all that being said, there are concerns.  The major Omicron concern is the rapid spread rate.  The virus spreads fast.  Even though symptoms are mild, if you think of this virus as flu like, the concerns with the yearly flu always point to the elderly.  The flu on average kills about 30,000 people per year with one record year of around 60,000 people.  The flu virus mutates and evolves every year.  The flu vaccine is always based on the previous year's strain and this is why some studies point to the flu vaccine's effectiveness at 30-40%.  As with the flu, people with co-morbidities such as immune system disorders, cancer, asthma etc. and the elderly will be more at risk for severe illness with Omicron (as well as Delta and the original Covid-19).  If you are in these categories, it would be wise to take the same precautions you would take during flu season.  Also, these pre-existing condition or categories might want you to consider wearing your mask in public and social distancing.


Please remember that being vaccinated for covid-19 is NOT protection from catching the virus.  This fact has been misrepresented constantly in the press. This misrepresentation has caused a lot of the general public to think that they are protected from viral spread.  The vaccine was designed to protect people from having a covid-19 infection turn into a severe case and while at the same time decreasing the  hospitalization rate.  That being said, the other concern with the Omicron variant is the stress on the health care system.  The rapid spread and burst of infection will result in more people going to the doctor, urgent care or a trip to the ER.  Again, think of this as a flu season.  Most people when sick with the flu, make a visit to their doctor. With the spread rate much higher than the flu, Omicron may double to triple the amount of people heading to the doctor for their symptoms.  This will also affect covid-19 case statistics as every doctor visit will include a coronavirus test.  Cases of the virus will naturally increase with increased testing.


What should we do to protect ourselves?  Number one, do not be scared.  The news will scare the heck out of you.  As with the yearly flu season, we have to learn how to live a normal fear free life and exist with the virus.  How we do that is to take the time and effort to naturally ensure your own immune system is given all it needs to function normally and be healthy. Monitor your vitamin D levels and supplement with vitamin D in the winter time.  Take enough vitamin D to be healthy.  Research points to 35 units per pound of bodyweight. Daily Elderberry has antiviral properties.  Your medicine cabinet should include zinc and quercetin, a multivitamin and liposomal vitamin C.  Eat whole organic foods. Processed food, especially foods high in sugar, lower immune system response. Wash your hands regularly.  Exercise daily (it increases immune system performance), get plenty of sleep 7-8 hours a night, anything less decreases immune system function.  If you do happen to catch the coronavirus (any variant) follow the I-Math+ protocol as advocated by the Front Line Critical Care Doctors Association.  These doctors have developed medical treatments that literally ensure increased survival rates to this virus.  If your doctor or hospital is not familiar with these protocols go to their website and print out the protocols. There are protocols for prevention, early treatment and severe cases.  Lastly, make regular visits to the chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist.  All three approaches to holistic health care have medically researched and published papers that show an increase in immune response.  


Atlantic County, NJ and Covid-19:  Atlantic County has 2,101 new cases of Covid-19 over the last two week period. Our 7 day average cases reported 165 cases per day.  Atlantic County has had 5 deaths in the last two week period, down from 15 deaths.    On 12/01/2021, there were a total of 1,650 people admitted in all of New Jersey’s hospitals for care of Covid-19 infections, up from 1,112  two weeks ago.  In the USA, 490 million doses of the vaccine have been given out.  203,159 million people are fully vaccinated, 61.2% of the population. 50 million people have contracted the Covid-19 virus in the USA.  Atlantic County has had 43,936 total cases of Covid-19. 


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 12/11/21 by the CDC showed a total of 965,843 reports of adverse reactions from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 20,244 deaths. Serious injuries reported in this time period totaled 155,506. New Data for 5 to 11 years olds:  4,183 reported adverse reactions, 80 reported as serious, 2 deaths.  This week’s data for 12- to 17-year-olds show 23,843 total adverse events, including 1,488 rated as serious and 33 reported deaths among 12- to 17-year-olds.  Severe reactions in all age groups of anaphylaxis include 2,206 people, 3,405 reports of myocarditis and 11,680 reports of blood clotting disorders.  This week’s data for pregnancy /prenatal vaccination shows pregnant women had over 4,584 adverse events reported including 1,446 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.


Pregnancy / Prenatal Chiripractic Care Information:  For the many pregnant women who experience lower back discomfort and other types of aches and pains, chiropractic adjustments is a safe and effective option, says Dr. Carrie Ann Terrell, associate professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.  Medical research suggests it's common for women to experience musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy. A study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease in December 2018 found that 70% of 184 women who gave birth in a hospital reported having low back pain during their pregnancy. Overall, 80% reported experiencing back pain, 33% had hand-wrist discomfort and 32% said they endured hip pain.  Chiropractors care for pregnant women with a recommended prenatal chiropractic care plan.  The adjustments are designed to center the pelvis, eliminate muscular stress, improve neural spinal impulse flow and relax tension on the round ligaments.  All of which is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

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

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