Monkeypox — How the U.S. Avoided Another Virus Outbreak

While the public has been inundated with COVID-19 virus information, last month health officials in the U.S. faced yet another virus scare — a potential monkeypox outbreak. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked that over 200 people across 27 states be monitored for exposure since they were in contact with a resident of Dallas, Texas who contracted monkeypox. This was the first confirmed case ever reported in a human for the state of Texas. 

The patient had traveled to Nigeria and returned by way of a flight through Atlanta and then onto Dallas. This person, whose identity was not released, was put into isolation at a hospital in Dallas four days after arriving home; his condition was considered stable. Initially health officials deemed the risk for the general population as very low. 

Together with the airline, health officials worked to pinpoint people who could have been in close proximity with the passenger during these flights. Because travelers are re-quired to wear face masks on planes and inside airports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of possible contacts was anticipated to be on the low end. 

Those who were identified would go onto be monitored for 21 days. The protocol is for health officials to call each contact twice a day to see if any symptoms evolved. 

At the conclusion of the monitoring on July 30, according to the CDC, thankfully no new monkeypox cases were identified among the people who were possibly exposed. The agency continued to monitor other individuals who were considered ‘very low risk.’ 

What are Symptoms of Monkeypox? 

Initial signs of monkeypox include symptoms that resemble having the flu, including headache, fever, achy muscles, fatigue, and inflamed lymph nodes. Next, patients will typically produce a rash; it is common to start on the face, and then spread throughout the rest of the body. Sickness usually spans anywhere from two weeks to four weeks. 

As with many diseases, monkeypox tends to be a larger threat to those with immuno-compromised health. Although as much as 10% of monkeypox in humans end in fatal results, this U.S. case is thought to be less dangerous with a 1% fatality rate. 

How is the Monkeypox Virus Transmitted? 

It is believed that humans pass on the virus by way of large respiratory droplets, discharged by people who have contracted the disease. It can also be transferred by hav-ing direct contact with bodily fluids. If you are asymptomatic, you cannot pass on the vi-rus. 

Where did Monkeypox Come From? 

The monkeypox virus was first identified during laboratory research in 1958 among monkeys. The first case in humans was identified in Congo. The majority of human cases since then took place in central and western Africa. In 2017, a monkeypox uptick took place in Nigeria. 

Rodents and prairie dogs imported from Africa in 2003, led to an outbreak in the United States. No patients died, but 47 human cases were recorded. 

What is the Treatment for Monkeypox? 

According to the CDC, there is no effective, safe treatment for this virus. However, the smallpox vaccine may be used in order to restrain an outbreak. 

Visit Auxo Medical’s blog for timely information regarding pandemic related content, as well as other relevant news taking place in healthcare.

CDC Changes their Minds on Masking

It is no easy task to keep up with the ongoing changes, mandates, and data with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in May 2021 that fully vaccinated individuals could leave their face masks at home in the majority of circumstances. 

However, the Delta variant’s warpath sabotaged plans for a glimpse of normalcy. Millions of Americans have still not received the vaccine. For those reasons, the advice regarding masks was reversed in July 2021. The organization is imploring people to put masks on when they’re visiting indoor public environments; this safety protocol includes the immunized population. The advice is particularly important for areas with “substantial or high transmission” rates. What does that mean? “Substantial” equates to more than 50 new cases per week, per 100,000 residents, or “high” equates to more than 100 new cases, per 100,000 residents. 

With approximately two-thirds of the country’s counties susceptible to the latest guidance, changes are expected elsewhere. 

One caveat is for people in school — whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, and no matter where they live — are urged to wear masks. Additionally, those who have been vaccinated but do not reside in high-transmission locations should still think about wearing a mask in public settings if they or someone in their household is considered high risk for critical illness. Some examples include the immunocompromised community, and children who are not yet permitted to receive the vaccination

What Does Break-Through Infections & Viral Load Mean

When someone has been fully vaccinated, and they become infected with COVID-19, they transmit small amounts of the virus. Break-through infections were first thought to be a rare occurrence, but as time passes, the Delta variant is proving to challenge statistics. However, it is well known that the vaccines will not fully protect individuals in avoiding the virus. Their primary responsibility is to avoid being admitted to the hospital and battling severe illness. 

An infectious disease expert, William Schaffner, M.D., explained this thought process, “The vast majority of break-through cases are really minor. People are getting what feels like a bad cold or are just having a day in bed.” 

Viral loads are deemed a realistic representation for someone’s capability to transmit the virus. According to the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and taking into consideration data procured over the last several months — viral loads in some vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic with the Delta variant are very similar to people infected with the virus, but have not been vaccinated. 

What is the Status for FDA to Approve Vaccines? 

One argument by those who will not voluntarily receive the vaccine is that the substance has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Until now, the vaccines have been considered for “emergency use authorization,” which was granted last December. 

However, at the time of this blog post being published, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was formally approved. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full FDA approval. The formal approval could propel employers, universities, military, and other organizations to execute legal authority and make receiving the vaccine mandatory. It may also help reassure those who have been holding off on getting vaccinated. 

FDA Commissioner Janet Woodstock released a statement about the approval, ”While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.” 

Stay tuned for our upcoming Auxo Medical blog post about Monkeypox — what is it and why should you care.

Pandemic-Proof Vaccines

COVID-19 is not the inaugural coronavirus that is responsible for generating disease among humans. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, and related strains could produce mass outbreaks or future pandemics. Unfortunately, the existing approved vaccines that offer protection against SARS-CoV-2, do not necessarily provide defense against these strains.

A group of scientific researchers are on a mission to develop one vaccine that would cover a variety of viruses and have the capability to cause a pandemic. For starters, “they synthesized mRNAs that encoded ‘chimeric’ spike proteins made of spike particles from high risk human and bat coronaviruses; next, they packaged various combinations of these mRNAs into lipid nanoparticle droplets and injected them into aged mice.”

These researchers discovered that their vaccines used in mice, delivered protection from many coronavirus strains, such as the Beta variant. They accomplished this by prompting powerful, counterbalancing antibody responses.

All-inclusive vaccines against existing and incipient coronaviruses could be feasible by way of vaccine production technologies. Additional investigation is required to improve design efficiency, and to test their efficacy through clinical studies in non-human primates.

Preparing for a Future Pandemic

Eric Lander is the newly appointed White House science adviser. Lander is front and center as it relates to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and was recently interviewed by The Associated Press after being sworn into office. He made it clear that he would like a vaccine prepared to attack any upcoming pandemic in approximately 100 days once identifying a probable viral eruption.

In Lander’s interview, he articulated hope for a future in America that is armed and ready for any subsequent pandemics. According to the adviser, he says the United States will be prepared with “plug-and-play” vaccines. Scientists are cultivating “all purpose” technologies that are ready-to-go well before a pandemic strikes.

Here’s how it works. As opposed to using the actual germ to construct a vaccine, scientists use messenger RNA and then they incorporate the genetic code for that germ. This protocol is what transpired with both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and could explain why they were created relatively quickly.

In addition to fighting diseases through medicine and healing sick patients, Lander ex-plained that this strategy also has the ability to positively impact climate change as well as examine space.

“This is a moment in so many ways, not just health, that we can rethink fundamental as-sumptions about what’s possible and that’s true of climate and energy and many areas,” Lander said.

His training background is a mathematician and geneticist. Lander was involved in a human genome mapping project and has directed the Broad Institute at MIT as well as Harvard. The new White House science adviser explained that he isn’t necessarily concentrating on the current pandemic, but rather the insights gathered from this outbreak in order to get ready for the next one.

“It was amazing at one level that we were able to produce highly effective vaccines in less than a year, but from another point of view you’d say, ‘Boy, a year’s a long time,’” even though in the past it would take three years or four years, Lander explained. “To really make a difference we want to get this done in 100 days. And so a lot of us have been talking about a 100-day target from the recognition from a virus with pandemic potential.”

Please visit our Auxo Medical blog current and past articles for all relevant and timely COVID-19 information.

Understanding COVID-19 Variants

Viruses continuously alter through mutations. Additionally, we anticipate that new variants of a virus will inevitably take place. Oftentimes, new variants will materialize, and then vanish. And in other circumstances, new variants will persevere.

Numerous variants of the COVID-19 virus have been recorded in the United States, as well as around the world during this pandemic.

Because viruses are perpetually transforming, they are simultaneously becoming more complex. Scientists deliberately research viruses in an effort to learn how virus mutations can impact the spread, and exactly how the virus transmits from person to person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared a metaphor to help explain the process. “If you think about a virus like a tree growing and branching out; each branch on the tree is slightly different than the others. By comparing the branches, scientists can label them according to the differences. These small differences, or variants, have been studied and identified since the beginning of the pandemic.”

COVID-19 Variants across the United States

The CDC is monitoring a multitude of variants. At the time of this publication, there are four noteworthy variants across the country.

  • Alpha – B.1.1.7: The Alpha variant was first detected in the United Kingdom.
  • Beta – B.1.351: The Beta variant was initially discovered in South Africa.
  • Gamma – P.1: The Gamma variant was first identified during a routine screening at a Japan airport among travelers from Brazil.
  • Delta – B.1.617.2: The Delta variant was first identified in India. It is the most contagious mutation to date. Those who are not vaccinated may precipitate significant illness vs. other variants, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. These four variants appear to disseminate more effortlessly and rapidly than other variants. An uptick in the amount of COVID-19 cases would overextend healthcare resources, lead to more inpatient hospitalizations, and possibly more deaths.” The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,” Fauci said during a recent White House briefing. He commented that the ratio of infections originating by the Delta variant is doubling every two weeks.

Vaccinations and Variants

To date, studies note that the prevailing authorized vaccines do protect against the four primary variants. Of course scientists will closely study these variants and future ones to come.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised that as the Delta variant spreads, the eminent probability of even more threatening mutations could develop.

“And that’s why it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated now to stop the chain of infection, the chain of mutations that could lead to a more dangerous variant,” Walensky said.

Protection from COVID-19

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and when available
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask to protect others as well as yourselffrom the virus
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from people who do not live withyou
  • Steer clear of poorly ventilated indoor areas and large crowds
  • Frequently use soap and water to wash your hands, as well as hand sanitizersIn our upcoming Auxo Medical article, we will take a look at a novel mRNA vaccine study in mice that could offer protection against a variety of COVID-19 mutations in a single formulation.

Auxo Medical: Meeting the Demand for Growth in the Medical Supply Market

Auxo Medical, LLC, a long-time leader in the medical supply and equipment service industry, is proud to announce the launch of a new franchise opportunity. This opportunity provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the chance to open a business, driven by a unique and in-demand service offering.

Auxo Medical provides repair and preventative maintenance service on a company’s existing medical equipment as well as the sale of refurbished and new medical equipment. For hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, universities, laboratories, and physician offices, Auxo Medical answers the need for a highly affordable solution to clients with no franchise competition. Over the past three years, the brand added company locations in Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida to help meet the critical demand for medical supply and equipment services.

“The global medical supplies market is predicted to increase from $139 billion in 2020, to $175 billion by 2025,*” said Jay Crabtree, CEO of Auxo Medical. “Industry demand combined with Auxo Medical’s strong infrastructure and turnkey training system makes this a prime, sustainable business model and quick new business startup opportunity for franchisees today.”

Auxo Medical is now expanding and territories are available in more than 25 states. Auxo Medical expects to sign up to five new franchises this year alone and to grow rapidly. The current investment ranges from $108,475 to $133,130, and includes the $50,000 initial franchise fee for a territory along with pre-opening certified training programs and ongoing technical support. The exceptional training is provided for both Auxo Medical owners and technicians. The training includes sterile processing, biomedical equipment, and anesthesia equipment. Most franchise owners will hire a lead technician to manage repairs and service plus two to four employees depending on service call volume. Franchise owners can expect a quick startup, often within four to six months. It is a terrific opportunity to step into business ownership while providing a much- needed solution in your own community.

– Rose Mango*Source: www.openpr.com/news/2275464/medical-supplies-market-market-is-gaining-momentum-by-key

Racial Disparities & COVID-19

What does ‘healthcare disparities’ mean? 

There are many definitions of healthcare disparities. The Institute of Medicine peeled back the significance of health care disparities in a report: “Unequal Treatment: Con-fronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare.” According to this report, the most recognized definition of healthcare disparities is, “Differences in the quality of health care that are not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences or appropriateness of intervention.” 

There are populations who have systematically experienced barriers in their own healthcare due to their racial background, religious affiliations, gender / gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation — and that is just naming a few. 

Another definition of health disparities comes from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.” 

Other terms that are often used interchangeably with healthcare disparities is ‘inequality’ and ‘inequity.’ 

Institutional racism is explained by the CDC as “…structures, policies, practices, and norms—that assigns value and determines opportunity—on the way people look or the color of their skin. This results in conditions that unfairly advantage some and disad-vantage others throughout society.” 

How has the coronavirus pandemic had an impact on healthcare disparities among people of color? 

Statistics indicate that there have been disproportionate rates of sickness and death from COVID-19 among the American Indian & Alaska Native (AIAN), Black, and Hispanic populations. 

Data has also found that AIAN, Black, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic people suffered premature deaths across the United States in 2020, as much as three times per 100,000, vs. White or Asian people. 

People of color experience higher rates of disease and death due to a number of rea-sons. This includes underlying health conditions, elevated barriers to testing and treat-ment because of current disparities in healthcare access, as well as higher exposure opportunities from living/working or transportation circumstances. 

Health management professor at U-M School of Public Health, Melissa Creary, Ph.D., explained her thoughts on the fact that Black Americans face higher rates of hyperten-sion, obesity and diabetes — and how this relates to COVID-19 outcomes: “I think pub-lic health practitioners would say it’s not the fact that they have these diseases that’s causing the higher death rate because people of all races, classes and creed have these diseases, it’s the fact that we see an undeniable burden of disease in the Black population. It’s this disproportionate amount that is worrisome. The underlying issue to why we see so many is actually attributed to structural inequity.” 

Which populations have directly experienced a disproportionate healthcare impact from the virus? 

During the pandemic, people of color, low-income, LGBT and other underserved groups have certainly been challenged with mental wellness and financial instability. A 2021 survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that approximately six in 10 Hispanic adults, and half of Black adults reported that their household lost employment / income because of the pandemic — whereas only four in 10 White adults reported the same hardship. 

There were more Black and Hispanic adults who noted that they lacked confidence in being equipped to afford their rent/mortgage payment/food, vs White adults. 

Black and Hispanic people are reportedly less likely to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, however, it’s important to look at why that may be. For example, there is a geographical gap among some communities to have access to vaccinations. And although the overall rates of receiving the coronavirus vaccine is rising, Black and Hispanic populations are still quite lower. This discrepancy exemplifies the enduring inequities among under-served groups and people of color, which have generated barriers to healthcare includ-ing higher risk for infection and lower abilities to reach immunity. 

How do we close the gap on healthcare inequities? 

Equity proponents believe that in order to decrease racial and ethnic healthcare dispari-ties, medical professionals have to specifically acknowledge that both race, and racism, play a key role in delivering healthcare. 

For more information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the healthcare in-dustry, take a look at our Auxo Medical blog archive for relevant and timely articles.

What is Herd Immunity?

Herd immunity takes place when a substantial percentage of a community achieves protection from a particular disease. This mass immunity reduces the ability of disseminating the disease to and from individuals. Consequently, the entire community (this is where the word ‘herd’ comes into play), is now shielded vs. only those who are actually immune. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a percentage of the population must be capable of getting a disease in order for it to spread. This is called a threshold proportion. If the proportion of the population that is immune to the disease is greater than this threshold, the spread of the disease will decline. This is known as the herd immunity threshold.” 

The more transmittable the disease, the larger percentage of the community needs to become immune to the disease in order to put an end to the spread. 

Herd immunity has the ability to protect the community from a disease, which includes those who cannot or will not receive a vaccine, including infants and people who have a compromised immune system. 

How does a community attain Herd immunity? 

Vaccines and infection are the two primary routes to eradicating the COVID-19 virus through Herd immunity

1. Original infection  

One pathway to Herd immunity is when a substantial portion of the population recuperates from a disease, and then subsequently creates antibodies that protects from future infection. 

But the truth is that there are some serious challenges when it comes to creating Herd immunity. For starters, reinfection is possible with COVID-19; scientists are not certain how long the antibodies last for, or when someone could possibly get infected again. Secondly, it is estimated that at least 70% of the United States’ population would need to bounce back from the virus. To put some context to these numbers — we’re talking 200 million people. This staggering ratio has the possibility of infections ending up with extraordinary complications, and millions of people dying. 

2. Vaccines 

Another route to achieve Herd immunity is through vaccinations, which have the ability to develop antibody protection against infection. With the exception of short-term side effects, vaccines have the potential to produce immunity without causing serious illness or death. Some examples of Herd immunity via vaccines that have effectively limited contagious diseases include polio, diphtheria, and smallpox. 

There are some hurdles to achieving COVID-19 Herd immunity due to mass vaccination, including those who simply do not want to receive a vaccine. Their reasons may range from skepticism, to religious obligations. Another challenge is the infancy of these vaccines and not fully understanding how long they provide protection from the virus, or if it covers new variants. And finally, yet another potential roadblock includes an inconsistent dissemination of the vaccine; it varies from country to country. 

What is the forecast for the U.S. to achieve Herd immunity? 

As the amount of fully vaccinated people grows, the United States is making headway in the direction of reaching Herd immunity. Additionally, as of this blog publication, over 30 million individuals have been infected with COVID-19 and carry antibodies (although the total duration of protection is unconfirmed). 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 vaccines that have incredible efficacy against against extreme illness or even death. Although it may be impossible to terminate the COVID-19 virus completely, at least people who have been vaccinated are much more likely to live with the virus. 

On the other hand, as mentioned above, some experts believe that achieving a Herd immunity threshold is appearing unlikely due to a variety of reasons, including resistance to getting the vaccine, new variants emerging, and a hold-up of providing vaccinations for all children. 

Due to this reality, it is not certain if or when the U.S. will conquer herd immunity. 

Be sure to catch our upcoming Auxo Medical blog post — we will discuss racial disparities as it relates to COVID-19 outcomes and treatment. 

Alcohol Use During the Pandemic


JAMA Network Open published a study surrounding alcohol consumption as the pandemic was erupting in 2020. Unfortunately, the report found that many people have been turning to alcohol in order to manage constant change and chronic stress.
The research findings indicate that drinking alcohol by adults went up 14% between
2019 and 2020. Notably, females specifically surged in alcohol consumption by a staggering 41% compared to the 2019 baseline numbers.
Knowing this unsettling reality, it’s important to understand the underlying factors, as
well as healthy coping alternatives since the world as we know it is still faced with this
unprecedented virus and countless mutations.


What is Triggering Increased Alcohol Use?

Not surprisingly, it is believed that the uptick in consuming alcohol is driven by uncertainty and fear caused by the novel COVID-19 virus. Before the pandemic wrecked
havoc across the globe, alcohol consumption was already a public health concern. For
those who were already battling mental health challenges, the pandemic only poured
fuel on the fire.


Examples of life circumstances that could lead to elevated alcohol use:
• Out of work
• Working in the frontlines (e.g. healthcare staff, grocery store employees,
etc.)
• Lack of financial security
• Emotional and social support deprivation
• Working remotely from home

• Responsible for homeschooling children
• Losing a loved one from the COVID-19 virus


Pre-pandemic, if someone had a stressful day or event take place, they could have
broken a sweat at the gym, met friends for dinner at their favorite restaurant, or catch a
movie at the neighborhood theater as a means to temporarily ‘check out’ from reality.


Instead, for more than a year, the new reality has included virtually zero social engagements, covering our faces with masks, isolating with little to no physical touch, and
other strict protocols in order to reduce spreading the virus.

Historically, alcohol has been positioned in advertising as a normal and acceptable
means to cope with stress, and to have fun. Alcohol is also easily accessible. Meeting
over Zoom to virtually
engage in happy hour cocktails among friends and colleagues
became a marketable way to ‘taste’ what life used to be like during quarantine.


Recommended Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption


According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for healthy adults,
light to moderate alcohol consumption is deemed acceptable. On the other hand, indulging in alcohol can cause undesirable health issues, ranging from car accident injuries, elevated blood pressure, and disease of the liver.
The CDC has outlined what they consider over-indulging when it comes to alcohol use:

• Women — Drinking four or more servings during the same instance, or eight alcohol
beverages over the course of a week

• Men — Drinking five or more servings during the same instance, or 15 alcohol beverages over the course of a week


Exploring At-Risk Populations


Those who are at higher risk for extreme alcohol consumption include people who are
faced with:
• Insufficient finances
• Scarce support among social network
• Pre-existing trials including substance abuse and mental health challenges
• Compromised coping skills
• Decreased access to treatment facilities and programs they previously engaged in
prior to COVID-19
Additionally, parents could be at a higher risk for overindulging in alcohol based on
their increased demands caused by the pandemic.


Beneficial Coping Tools for Stress


Handling stress in a healthy way is critical for self-care and overall wellbeing.
Some activities to help facilitate positive coping include:
• Make sleep a priority (6-8 hours a night)

• Daily physical exercise (30 minutes)
• Pursue creative outlets based on the individual’s personal interest (e.g. painting,
cooking, gardening, etc.)
• Drink water and stay hydrated (ideal amount is an ounce of water for each
pound you weigh, daily)
• Nurture your body with healthy, unprocessed foods
• Ask for emotional support from a social worker, counselor or therapist


Seek Help


If applicable, contact a trusted person in your life, or a healthcare provider, to help reduce your alcohol use. As stated above, talk therapy is another outlet to get support,
as well as help teach healthy coping skills for self-care and stress management.
Please visit our Auxo Medical blog every month to stay current on relevant matters in
healthcare

Navigating Safety for Children During the Pandemic

While more adults have been sick with COVID-19 compared to children, kiddos can still become infected with the coronavirus, face illness, as well as disseminate the virus to others. They can be affected by inhaling droplets (from the coughs or sneezes) of infected individuals. While infection through contaminated surfaces is a possibility, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have noted that this transmission isn’t as likely. Children and adults alike who possess COVID-19, albeit indicate no symptoms (known as “asymptomatic”) are still capable of spreading the virus to others.

Recently, the CDC recommended that children 12 years of age and older should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech. However, that still leaves children younger than 12 vulnerable and susceptible to transmitting the virus.

Below we highlighted areas where you’ll want to be cognizant of making prudent choices when it comes to safe activities for your children during the remainder of pandemic.

Playgrounds

Generally speaking, playgrounds may appear as a relatively safe activity during the pandemic. However, there are some complicated components to consider when visiting public parks with youngsters.

Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in South Carolina, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians explained that playgrounds are, “A great opportunity to get families together and be outside and enjoy, but do so in a safe way.” 

Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN Medical Analyst, and emergency physician, cautioned caretakers to, “Avoid (indoor playgrounds) for the time being because all the individuals there, the children, are not going to be vaccinated. Outdoor playgrounds are actually very safe.”

Dr. Wen continued, ”However, if a large group of kids come over to the same piece of equipment that my son is on and they’re not wearing masks, I would pull him at that point.”

Another facet to think about is that kids usually aren’t as hygienic and cautious as adults typically are. Although there is an extremely low rate of surface transmission, particularly among the youngest children, they are known to frequently put their hands in their mouths. In this case, not only could COVID-19 be transmitted, but so could other organisms via high-touch surfaces.

Youth Sports

If your child is taking part in youth sports this summer, while the pandemic is still very much relevant, consider these measures in an effort to lower the risk of spreading the virus.

• Ensure that the sports and recreation activities your kids will participate in are approved by local and state government.

• Familiarize yourself with current safety rules for participation during the pandemic, and communicate them with your child.

• All athletes should turn in an updated sports physical before they participate in practices and games.

• All children involved within the athletics should wear their own face mask, towel and water bottles, as well as diligently use hand sanitizer.

Before practice or games, athletes should:

• Stay home if they’re feeling ill, or have any symptoms of COVID-19. If their pediatrician recommends it, they should also get a test.

• Cleanse with soap and water, or sanitize hands prior to arrival.

• Avoid gathering in large groups before the activity begins, and maintain social distancing when possible.

Schools

Just this week, the CDC recommended continued use of face masks and maintaining physical distancing at schools in the United States. Students from kindergarten through grade 12 should follow these guidelines through the remainder of the 2021 school year.

The C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said during a media interview, “Our school guidance to complete the school year will not change.”

Stay tuned for our upcoming Auxo Medical blog post where we will explore how alcohol consumption has played a role during the pandemic.

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