Getting Covid-19…again

But here’s an individual story for anyone coming to terms with the persistence of Covid-19, and a lesson that if you’ve had it, you can easily test positive again.

Late night hosts Jimmy Kimmel did it. And it wreaks havoc on his schedule just as much as an infection would on school kids, teachers, service workers, office workers, or anyone else who does the responsible thing and goes into isolation.

The news comes after he previously announced a positive test and hosts to fill out while quarantined at home at the beginning of the month.

There are many examples of people who have contracted Covid-19 multiple times. Jen Psaki, the former White House press secretary, comes to mind. But Kimmel’s second positive test came very shortly after his first.

The lesson is that you are not exempt from Covid-19 awareness raising for 90 days after a positive test, as new variants emerge and infection rates rise across much of the country.

A report in the New York Times this week suggested that as variants like Omicron emerge and evolve into subvariants like most today, there could be multiple mini-outbreaks of Covid-19 each year and people could be reinfected multiple times infect Americans.

A wave in the northeast

About a third of the US population resides in an area with high or moderate rates of infection, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an alert this week.

From CNN’s report: More than 32% of people nationwide live in areas with moderate or high levels of Covid-19 community, (CDC Director Dr. Rochelle) said Walensky. That breaks down into 9% living in areas with high levels of Covid-19 community and 23% living in moderate areas.

The high-transmission areas are currently in Northeast, particularly New York and New Jersey, and extend across Michigan and Wisconsin.

No new mask rules in New York

Despite the community’s high penetration in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams said he has no plans to reintroduce mask requirements there, suggesting that we must learn to live with Covid-19.

“Variants will come,” he said, according to the CNN report. “If we start thinking about shutting down with every variant that comes up, we’ll panic, we won’t function as a city.”
He argued that the city’s hospitalization rate was stable. Around 78% of urban residents are fully vaccinated, which is higher than the 67% immunization rate of the US population.

Less than half of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, while about 38% of New Yorkers have.

Booster vaccinations for children

Following FDA approval earlier this week, CDC vaccine advisors voted Thursday to recommend a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Walensky signed the recommendation.

While two doses of the vaccine appear to keep children out of the hospital, according to CNN’s report, the vaccine’s effectiveness in stemming the spread of infection dropped dramatically during the Omicron surge.

More free tests

Another round of free Covid-19 testing for all Americans was made available by the Biden administration on Monday. Up to 16 have been authorized for each household via

The administration also asked Congress to approve more $22.5 billion in spending on tests, treatments and vaccines, but the additional funds are opposed by many Republicans.

Boosters save lives

While the CDC recommends a booster shot for most Americans, the percentage of those who have received it is third shots is relatively low.

According to the CDC, about a third of Americans age 65 and older — those most at risk of dangerous cases of Covid-19 — have not received a booster shot, reports Kaiser Health News’ Liz Szabo. She noted an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found 31% of the elderly died from Covid-19 in January were fully vaccinated but had not received a refresher.

Why aren’t people getting boosters?

Szabo spoke to several researchers and experts who argued the federal government hadn’t focused nearly enough on disseminating information about booster shots.

“The booster program was botched from day one,” Dr. Eric Topol, Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “This is one of the most important issues facing the American pandemic and it has been poorly managed.”

Topol and other experts argued that the federal government had not taken a vigorous role in coordinating and reporting the need for booster vaccinations.

What should you do if you test positive?

CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen spoke to Katia Hetter about what to do if you test positive during this phase of the pandemic.

Be careful

Whom: A more transferrable flavor means that activities that we previously thought were relatively safe are now more risky. This does not mean that we should avoid all activities, but that people who were previously very cautious may now become infected because this sub-variant is so contagious.

5 days of isolation can feel more like 6 days

Whom: The day you get your positive test is day zero. If you had symptoms before, say the day before, that day is day zero, whichever comes first. Day 1 is 24 hours after testing positive or showing symptoms.

They must be isolated from others for five days. That means staying at home away from being in the same room with your roommates and not going to work in person. For example, if you have to share a bathroom, be sure to wear a well-fitting N95, KN95 or KF94 in these common areas, minimize your time in them and open the windows as much as possible.

And after the 5th day…

Whom: The CDC says that after day five of isolation, if you don’t have a fever and your symptoms are improving, you can go to public spaces like grocery stores and to work and school as long as you wear a well-fitting mask at all times.

Many workplaces and schools have their own policies that are stricter and may require, for example, a full 10 days before your return.

Do you need a negative test after 5 days?

Whom: Many public health experts, myself included, would recommend testing outside of isolation as an extra precaution that also reduces discomfort.

This isn’t what the CDC says, but I think it’s reasonable to start testing with a rapid home test from day 5. If you test negative on day 5 and day 6 and have no fever and improved symptoms, you can exit isolation.

This would mean a less stressful isolation period, especially for families living in close quarters or with young children to care for.

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