It has been quite some time since I last produced a blog. I am compelled to comment on is the Delta Variant of COVID-19. This has emerged as a major public health threat. It is more infectious and more deadly than the original virus. Listening to today’s news, the data as to the exact effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to have their major effect on keeping those vaccinated out of the hospital. It was announced that anyone whose immune system is immunocompromised is eligible for a booster. Further, it was announced that after 8 months everyone will be available for a booster. In the next several weeks the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will further clarify this issue and hopefully by the end of the summer will explain the status of vaccinations for children aged 2 – 12. I cannot wait until that particular issue is resolved. Children appear to be getting sick at a higher rate than anticipated. The mask controversy related to their use in schools is in my opinion absurd. The science shows that the use of masks does cut down on infection. Anyone with young kids who attended school last year (mostly private) could observe, like us, that the young children did not get sick as in previous years. My four and six year old grandchildren wear masks as a second nature. They have never questioned it. I think that the return of mask for indoor dining, gatherings, and school only makes public health sense. The issue appears to be whether public health mandates for the greater good outweighs perceived infringement upon individual rights.
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), have or have not been vaccinated, and get COVID-19, remember that the presence of the fever and infection can allow your previous symptoms to emerge very symptomatically (Pseudo-relapse). My recent experience was with a patient who had recent onset MS and developed COVID-19 presented to the emergency room with fever and headache. Because he had only a tiny bit of shortness of breath, he was going to be sent home. What was brought to the attention of the ER attending was that the presence of fever results in decompensation of the symptoms of his MS and made functioning at home dangerous and very challenging. Not only could he not manage at home, but his fever and headache were continuous and complicated his interpretation of symptomatology. In the normal patient one might not be admitted but in the MS patient I think admission with those symptoms is mandatory.
This patient had not been vaccinated. The overall message is get vaccinated and if eligible for a booster get it. The CDC will approve the booster for those over the age 65 eight months after their initial vaccine. For me, this will be Sept 30. 2021. I can’t wait!
Written By: Jay Rosenberg MD