With information regarding the coronavirus changing all the time, it’s difficult to know what to do.
There is currently some seriously conflicting information being disseminated about COVID-19 and the variants that are sweeping across the nation (and effecting the whole world). This information has to do with isolation time, relevant programs and how to protect against getting sick.
While previously it was determined that the time of isolation for those who have, or who have been exposed to, the coronavirus should be ten days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided on December 27, 2021, to shorten the length of isolation for asymptomatic people to five days. This is despite the fact that the CDC previously said the coronavirus is contagious whether symptoms are present or not. Thus, the agency is issuing conflicting information, recommending that potentially contagious individuals shorten their quarantine if they’re not exhibiting symptoms.
More than 825,000 American citizens have lost their lives to COVID-19, and now there are variants that can be contracted despite having the vaccine. The variants may or may not be highly contagious and as deadly as the original strand. Imperial College, for example, released a report that “found no evidence that Omicron is less virulent than Delta.” Yet, according to another study and preprint article being considered for publication by Nature Portfolio journal, hamsters and mice infected with Omicron do not have as much lung damage as those infected with other variants. With so much contradictory information, it is difficult to determine who to believe.
The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative was put into place early on in the pandemic to provide vaccines. The program was established with the slogan “no one is safe until everyone is safe.” COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside UNICEF. In North and South America, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for COVAX. UNICEF has been organizing the international transport of vaccines for the COVAX Facility since February 2021.
David Heymann, a scientific adviser to the WHO, said COVAX needs “a high-profile global figure” to head it. He said, “This is not a criticism of COVAX’s present leadership, but adjustments are needed.” Others have said that the initiative is no longer as prevalent given that the current strains cannot be stopped by vaccines. Again, with things changing all the time and conflicting information being given, it’s difficult to determine what needs to be done to fend off the virus.
COVID isolations should be happening until the individual, symptomatic or not, tests negative for COVID. This would ensure they’re not making other susceptible to the virus. Individuals should also be wearing high-grade face masks in public, especially in stores and restaurants and at sporting events and concerts. Unfortunately, those who are vaccinated have been told they no longer need to in many cases, and this is upping the rate of transmission.
Andrea Taylor, who leads a COVID-19 data team at the Duke Global Health Innovation Center in Durham, North Carolina, said, “We are taking the least efficient pathway out of the pandemic.”