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Happy New Year

We finished the first full week of 2021 today, Saturday, 9 January 2021. The past few days have created significant uncertainty, making the start of 2021 much darker than the beginning of 2020. President Trump is continuing to fuel the narrative that the people stole the election from him and his supporters, our US Capital building, was stormed by rioters intending to terrorize our congressman and senators, the rise in cases and Covid-19 deaths are exponential, the vaccine rollout is in disarray, local, state and national police agencies are on high alert, the State of Tennessee enforced the mandate that physician must use e-scripts for controlled substances prescriptions, the last quarter jobs report of 2020 showed significant job loss, and fifty percent or more of our US population refuse to wear masks and social distance.

One essential New Year's Resolutions that our US population should make is: Do not make assumptions about anything. Do not make assumptions. Take time to investigate the facts, then deliberate about the appropriate conclusions. Reading posts and passages from social media platforms are not research; it wastes time and brainpower. I am disturbed by the number of people who believe that Facebook is a fact-based news platform. It is not. It is an incredibly sophisticated marketing platform. It's a platform to sell everyone something. It's very successful. So is U-Tube, Pinterest, and Reddit. It is not a harbor or truth.

Covid-19 is with us for the next year or two. We have never been able to vaccinate any population out of a pandemic. Social change has always been the mainstay of flattening the curve, after which scientists introduced a safe and effective vaccine. The idea of creating herd immunity with a vaccine is a daunting task. For our US population to achieve herd immunity, we will need an 80% effective vaccine and a distribution of that vaccine to 65% of our people before the curve will flatten. The two vaccines currently being used are reported to have a ninety percent efficacy in limited controlled drug study populations. A vaccine's effectiveness is its effect on the disease in real-world use: we have no data. Vaccinating hospital personnel active on the front line for ten-plus months will not render data that can be used for effectiveness evaluations. A significant number of hospital personnel, regardless of their job activity, will be positive for Covid-19 antibodies, making the vaccine unnecessary and wasteful. It is a much better plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable people like the process in Europe. We would derive much clearer data and could change course sooner if necessary. Nevertheless, we will watch the US Government attempt to perform a logistics nightmare, dividing vaccines between those working in hospital settings and the rest of the population at risk.

A study by academic physicians repurposing drugs recently revealed that ivermectin at 0.2mg/kg has a significant benefit for prophylactic use, post-exposure, and active infection treatment. There are over one hundred studies worldwide, all of them favoring benefit. I recently prescribed two patients Ivermectin for both prevention and treatment of active disease. My staff is documenting each prescription and outcome of therapy.

Those of you who believe that the Covid-19 virus will mutate and become less toxic, think again. Scientists create live attenuated vaccines from "wild" viruses or bacteria. These wild viruses or bacteria are weakened (so as not to cause disease) in a laboratory, usually by repeated culturing.  The measles virus used in today's vaccine was isolated from a child with measles in 1954. Rubella required almost ten years of the serial passage using tissue culture media to transform the wild virus into the attenuated vaccine virus. We do not have ten years of Covid-19 infections to enjoy a weakened virus. Besides, virologists have identified eight antigenic mutations so far, and one is much more contagious than the other seven. It does not sound like the mutations are weakening the virus.

Although I am a physician treating Covid-19, which puts me at the front of the line for immunization, I gladly give my spot to those more vulnerable than I. There are fifty-two other vaccines than the two we are using now in development; some are near completion of their phase three clinical trials. We will have many options shortly. Until then, I will single mask, double mask, and face shield when necessary, keep my distance and stay away from in-dining restaurants and other gathering places where people are without facial coverings. I'll stick with my New Year's resolution during each encounter with another person; I will not assume that they are Covid-19 negative until proven otherwise.

Twenty-two million cases of Covid-19, three hundred seventy thousand dead, and increasing every day; Make no assumptions.

Doc

 

 

Posted by Caitlin Chittom at 6:48 PM
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