By: Steve E. Bishop, M.D. on April 27th, 2022
COVID-19 Update 4/27: Numbers, Evusheld, and Future Updates
On this week's COVID-19 update, Dr. Bishop provides an update on case numbers and testing, an overview of Evusheld, and discusses a new timeline for future COVID-19 updates from PartnerMD. Watch the video below and read on for the full recap.
Numbers & Testing
So, let's talk a little bit about numbers and testing. Mostly good news all around as we've continued to see the Omicron variant.
For the most part, cases have taken a little bit of a tick up in some areas. I know in Virginia here, we've seen a little bit of an increase in cases in terms of testing rates being higher positivity, and a little bit of bump in cases.
But hospitalizations and fatalities across the board, both here in Virginia and nationally, appear to be very low, comparable to the very early stages of the pandemic in March and April 2020. So that's really good news that we continue to see that.
And I think most of the sort of mildness of the illness is due to:
- So many people have been vaccinated at this point.
- Many people have had COVID at least once.
- Ad the Omicron variant appears to be milder than some of the earlier variants, like Delta, Alpha, etc.
So that's all good. And all those things are coming together to keep the illness relatively minor compared to the way it was say, last year, and in a large part of 2020.
A lot of people had questions about Evusheld last week, so I'm going to reiterate this just a little bit.
Evusheld, and here's a link to the FDA's handout on this, is a pre-exposure prophylactic monoclonal antibody.
It's fairly widely available at this point.
Anyone who is at high risk for a bad COVID outcome — based on your age, your doctor thinks you are, you're on any medicines that suppress your immune system, or your immune system is not normal — you might be eligible to get two doses of Evusheld to provide you with extra protection from COVID.
This would be above and beyond your vaccination protection. You would get this in addition to vaccination.
Or if you can't be vaccinated for some reason or another, Evusheld is considered as a substitute, essentially.
You can get Evusheld two weeks after your most recent dose of a vaccine. Other than that, you don't have to wait. And even that two-week recommendation is a little bit loose, but you can wait about two weeks, and that would be considered generally safe by the FDA and others to get your first dose of Evusheld, and then you get a dose basically every six months is the way it works.
So a great medication to use to prophylaxes yourself for COVID if you're in a high-risk category. I've sent several patients to do it. So I think it's a good, safe option for a lot of folks.
New Timeline for COVID-19 Updates
All right, so it's a short one today. Nobody's on watching and that's okay. That's good.
I think that reflects the fact that the COVID illness, in general, has become much more mild. We're integrating it into our day-to-day work and life at this point.
And that speaks to the fact that it's moving into this endemic stage. As we move into the endemic stage of things, we're going to change the pace of our updates to do them about once a month.
It should be the third Wednesday of every month. We'll provide any updates, big things that have happened, and then answer any questions.
We'll actually also be reaching out to ask people to submit questions they might have in advance. With things slowing down, which is great news, we just don't need as many updates. So I think that's a great thing.
This will be the last biweekly update. And then our next update will be the third Wednesday in May, so that'll be May 18th. We'll do that at one o'clock on Wednesday, May 18th.
When you see the Facebook posts, that we're asking for questions, go ahead and submit those, and I'll answer those during those sessions.
But I'm glad that everybody is staying safe out there. It's good news again. We've moved into this endemic stage of the virus. I think that's a good thing.
Everybody who hasn't gotten vaccinated yet, you still have plenty of time. Let's go ahead and do it before the fall respiratory virus season gets here.
Otherwise, I will see you all on the third Wednesday of every month for updates.