A little over a year after the first Coronavirus case was discovered in the U.S. & it has taken over 500,000 American lives so far. That's more American lives that were lost to WWI, WWII, & Vietnam combined. And there is still no end in sight.
There have been 3 spikes in infection rates so far, each one worse than the last. The 3rd spike in January is over and the infection rate has come down but never got below 50,000 per day. And now it's going back up again.
The 4th wave has begun. As of March 28th there has been an 11% increase of infection rates Nationally with.30 states plus Washington DC showing an increase of infection rates. And many believe that this wave will be the worst yet.
This 4th wave is being fueled by the new variants, relaxed restrictions, 17 states with no mask mandates, St Patrick's Day, Daytona Bike Week, over a million flying each day for over a week, and Spring Break.
We also expect to see a 5th wave probably in June fueled by the Brazil variant and Memorial Day. We all remember what happened after Memorial Day last year, and earlier this year we saw the Brazil variant rampage Manaus in Brazil even after they attained herd immunity which tells us the vaccine won't be very effective against that variant.
What's worse is that right now we're creating about 1.4 Million Variants per week in the US (about 5.6 Million world wide) giving the virus too many chances to create a variant that's even worse that the ones we already know about. We've actually been lucky so far that a worse variant hasn't already been created, if we don't get serious about stopping this virus our luck is bound to run out.
The good news is we can do something about it. These days many people trust their retailers and pharmacists more than they trust the news. We can and must help educate the public and make PPEs available to them at a low cost so more people protect themselves and less people catch the virus. Since the virus needs an infected person to create variants, reducing the number of people getting sick is the only way to reduce the number of variants being created, and the only way to slow the virus down.
We're never going to reach everyone, but together we can reach some, and the more we reach the more we slow down the virus. We'll support you every step of the way, and this is how....
We'll keep researching and we'll bring you new information as it becomes available
We'll provide you with signs you can print out and use in your store to help educate your customers
We'll make the best PPEs available at the best prices
We'll guarantee everything you order to sell at the retail prices that we suggest
If we lower our prices on something that you already have on your shelf, we'll give you credits so you can also lower your prices.
We'll give you extra discounts when orders exceed $400
On larger orders we'll give you your choice of a discount or free Alcohol based disinfecting spray that you can use to fumigate your stores on a regular basis to make sure it's a safe place to work and shop. When possible we'll give you both free Alcohol based disinfecting spray and a discount.
We hope that together we can make a difference.
Summary - Updated 3-28-21
We hope that this summary will help keep you informed quickly and easily.
The first form of transmission identified was from contaminated surfaces. You touch a contaminated surface then touch your nose, eyes, or mouth and you can get sick. More recently airborne transmission has also been identified and is believed by many to be the main form of transmission.
Airborne transmission is all about the viral load which means how many parts per million are in the air. The more virus particles per million total particles the bigger the viral load and the higher the chances of getting sick.
The reason why it's easier to catch it indoors is that there's no fresh air coming in to dilute the viral load. Outdoors there's a constant supply of fresh air to dilute the viral load and there's usually wind to disburse the virus so the viral load can't get too high.
The one aspect that the experts seem to overlook is the fact that the virus can live on surfaces for up to 28 days and once again become airborne with the slightest of breezes, even the breeze created by simply walking past the contaminated surface.
Masks are designed to keep the virus from getting out, but they're not perfect. Even though they reduce the amount of virus particles that a carrier can spread, a percentage still gets out. In high traffic areas where many carriers might visit, even with a mask multiple carriers can spread enough virus particles to spread the virus. Each carrier will have some virus particles get out which can get deposited on a surface, each carrier adding to the total virus particles on surfaces. This can continue for weeks till the contaminated surfaces have thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of virus particles on them. Then a slight breeze hits one of those surfaces from a door opening or someone walking by it and those virus particles become airborne once again creating a very large viral load. Big enough to easily make someone wearing a Cloth or 3Ply mask sick.
That's why it's so important to sanitize all the surfaces in retail stores on a regular basis. Virus particles can go anywhere dust can go and they can build up for weeks. Please ask your representative about discounts on the sanitizer spray so you can make sure that your store is a safe place to work and shop.
Update April 5, 2021: In the last 2 months the infection rate among children under 20 has gone up dramatically
There are several types of masks on the market. All are designed to reduce the amount of virus particles that a carrier can spread, few are designed to keep the virus out if it's already airborne. Neck Gaiters are the only ones that are worse than wearing nothing at all.
The most popular have been Cloth & 3Ply Masks because they're the least expensive. The more layers, the better they are at reducing the amount of virus particles that can escape from a carrier. They however offer little defense to the wearer if the virus is already airborne.
There are also cloth masks available that use a carbon filter that must be replaced regularly. They're better at reducing the amount of virus particles that can escape from a carrier and they can also provide the wearer with some protection if the virus is already airborne.
KN95 & N95 masks are the best. They reduce the amount of virus particles that can escape from a carrier better than any other mask, and they also protect the wearer filtering out 95% of virus particles if the virus is already airborne.
Because of the new variants that are currently spreading through the U.S., the CDC has recently started recommending that everyone wear a cloth mask over a disposable mask to better protect the wearer if the virus is already airborne. Cloth over N95 or KN95 is better than cloth over 3Ply.
There have been thousands of variants identified which is downright scary when you consider that we're not really looking very hard. We're currently conducting 7,000 genetic tests per week and we're currently seeing about 420,000 new cases per week. Since each sick person can produce several variants those 420,000 weekly cases can produce 1.68 million variants per week.
The good news is that most variants aren't more infectious, more deadly, or resistant to vaccines or natural immunity that Covid survivors get. Most variants aren't any better at spreading so they die off quickly, but once in a while a variant can be much better at spreading or have immunity to vaccines or natural immunity. The more mutations, the higher the risk of a variant that is more infections, more deadly, or more resistant, so the less variants we see the better.
The virus needs to be inside an infected person to mutate, and it can mutate several times before the patient recovers. So less infected people = less mutations.
The first variant was replaced by the 2nd variant about 2 months after this all began. The 2nd variant was more infectious because it could live outside of the body for a much longer period of time (up to 28 days) which gave it the ability to create larger viral loads which made it more infections giving it an advantage over the 1st variant, so it became dominant.
Most are familiar with the 3 new Variants that have been in the news lately. The UK Variant (B.1.1.7) is 50% more contagious than the current variant, it's also believed to be about 30% more deadly, it's more resistant to vaccines and natural immunity, & it is infecting younger people more. The S African Variant (B.184.108.40.206) is believed to be more infectious & more resistant to the vaccines and natural immunity. The Brazil Variant (P.1) seems to be the worst. It's more infectious & it might be completely or nearly completely immune to the vaccines and natural immunity. The city of Manaus in Brazil had reached herd immunity the hard way, over 75% of it's people were infected with an earlier variant. Despite the natural herd immunity, the P.1 Variant was able to dominate the city in only a month's time. Each of these 3 variants have already been found in America, the UK Variant is predicted to take over by late March, but scientists are most worried by the Brazil variant because it seems to be the most resistant to vaccines and natural immunity.
There are several other variants spreading in the US that aren't as well known which we don't know as much about, like the L.A. Variant (CAL.20C) & the NY Variant (B.1.526).
The long and short of it is this. As long as people are getting Covid there will be new Variants. The more sick people, the more variants. Given enough time & opportunity to mutate, Covid will produce variants that will be far worse than the ones we have now. So it's important that we get the upper hand as quickly as possible. Masks, soaps, sanitizers, disinfectants, & vaccines are the best way for us to get the upper hand.
Update March 30, 2021: A new variant just discovered in France shows signs of being resistant to immunity and vaccines as well as undetectable with many current Covid tests.
Update April 5, 2021: A new double variant that originated in India was found in CA. It's believed that this new double variant is more transmissible and could be resistant to the vaccines, but there have been no official studies as of yet
Update April 9, 2021: An early study, the first study to date, has indicated that the S African Variant can "break through" the variant. This study was small and has not been peer reviewed, but it's the only study to date.
We have seen the infection, hospitalizing, and death levels go up and down from the start. When they go up we call it a wave or a spike. We've had 3 spikes so far getting worse each time. The worst by far came in Jan.
The Jan. spike is over, but it won't be the last spike that we're going to see, and the next one will probably be worse. The reduction in infection, hospitalization, and death levels are cause for celebration but the levels are still the level they were during the 2nd spike in June and they recently starting going back up.
We make it a point to mention this twice because it's important to not let down our guard, in fact we need to double down. Experts are predicting the next spike by late March or early April which will be much worse than the Jan spike, but the messaging has been all over the place. Some news broadcasts are almost sounding like this is all over. The former head of the FDA says we won't see another big risk until fall but then adds that we will never reach herd immunity.
In times like this you need to read between the lines. Most experts are predicting a 4th spike but they're mostly blaming the reduction of restrictions and large group gatherings like Spring Break. They're not putting much blame on the variants because if they do it may convince some people to wait to get the vaccine until there's a vaccine that also protects against the new variants. In truth all of it is blame.
As of early March the UK Variant is accounting for 30% to 40% of the cases in the US. Experts say that based on what we saw in the UK, once it hits 50% it will spread like wildfire and will feed the 4th spike.
Vaccines usually take years to develop, but the drug companies created a vaccine for Covid in less than a year. They should be commended, they gave us an important tool to help us get the upper hand on this virus.
One of the reasons why they were able to develop a vaccine this quickly is because the FDA gave them emergency approval, which means they didn't have to test it as thoroughly as they would have if we weren't suffering from a pandemic. This has caused other problems though giving fuel to the antivaxxers and the conspiracy theorists.
It's been said before that vaccines don't save lives, vaccinations save lives. And that is the bottom line. Unfortunately the rollout of the vaccinations was a mess in the beginning. The government didn't buy enough, they promised states more doses than they had, the manufacturers had to increase security fearing attacks from antivaxxers and far right terrorists, the manufacturers promised more vaccine than they could manufacture, the winter storms caused delays...... the list of problems went on and on.
On the bright side it's been getting better and as of late March about 20% of the American population have been fully vaccinated. But the vaccines aren't a "magic bullet", they're another tool that can help.
The Variants that are spreading that are resistant to the vaccine. The drug companies are working on new vaccines to create booster shots to fight the new variants which means that after getting the vaccine we're all going to need to keep getting booster shots for a while. There's no way of knowing how many or how often. Basically, higher infection rates mean more variants and more booster shots.
In early March one drug company presented the first vaccine designed for one of the variants (The African Variant) to the FDA for testing.
Further, the CDC is recommending that those vaccinated continue to wear masks because they don't know if vaccinated individuals could still be carriers and make others sick.
Update April 13, 2021: The CDC & FDA have both recommended a pause in using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In a small amount of cases blood clots have occurred. The CDC & FDA recommended the pause while they research for any possible connection between the vaccine and the blood clots. This can all amount to nothing, but even if it does we believe that it will worsen vaccine hesitancy.
Update April 15, 2021: The CDC reported that so far 5,800 people were infected with the virus after being fully vaccinated. There's been no report so far as to which strain they were infected with.
Post-Acute Covid Syndrome
Survivors of Covid can have persistent symptoms after recovering from Covid. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health showed that half of the Covid survivors in their study continued to have various health problems after their recovery ranging from "Covid Fog" (type of brain fog) to digestive issues to nerve damage.
It is still unknown if the vaccines will protect from Post-Acute Covid Syndrome.
The 4th Wave has Begun (April 5, 2021)
The 4th wave has begun. On April 9 the National Infection Rate has been increasing since mid March and it topped 80,000 for the first time since mid February. The states hardest hit so far have been in the upper mid west and the N.E.. We've seen this play out 3 times already, we know that it's a matter of time before every state is getting hit hard.
The UK Variant is now over 50% of the reported cases, and from what we saw in the UK, the virus really catches fire once the UK Variant is responsible for over 50% of the infection rate.
The head of the CDC recently said that Michigan, the hardest hit state thus far, should shut down again and also said that the vaccine won't stop the spike in infections.
The bottom line is simple and can be expressed by an old adage. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
THE CDC RELEASED PROOF THAT MASKS WORK
OUR HEALTH EXPERTS HAVE CONCLUDED
THAT THE VIRUS CAN BECOME AIRBORNE INDOORS
CSIRO HAS DETERMINED THAT THE VIRUS CAN LIVE ON SOME SURFACES
FOR UP TO 28 DAYS
Link to the study is in the article
DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDY ON MASK EFFECTIVENESS
NATIONAL DAILY INFECTION AND DEATH RATE
WEEKLY STATE WIDE INFECTION RATE
Known cases of the 3 new variants by state
US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants | CDC
These are only the known cases, it does not represent all cases
DAILY STATE WIDE INFECTION, HOSPITALIZATION, AND DEATH RATE
2/3 OF AMERICANS WON'T GET COVID-19 VACCINE WHEN IT'S FIRST AVAILABLE
U.K. warns against giving Pfizer vaccine to people prone to severe allergic reactions - CBS News
Post Acute Covid Syndrome
Puzzling, often debilitating after-effects plaguing COVID-19 "long-haulers" - CBS News
COVID 19 CAN CAUSE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Wearing a Mask After Being Vaccinated
Coronavirus variant tracker - Washington Post
New Paris Covid variant with 18 MUTATIONS that could bust through vaccines is found as France goes into THIRD lockdown (thesun.co.uk)
Coronavirus: ‘Double mutant' variant found in California's Bay Area | Fox News
South African COVID-19 strain can 'break through' vaccine: researchers (msn.com)
1 Patient Created More Than 20 Variants
New Recommendations From the CDC Includes Wearing 2 Masks
Experts Are Predicting Another Covid Spike by Late March
As of March 18, Covid is on the Rise in 14 States
As of March 20, Covid is on the Rise in 21 States
Covid cases are rising in 21 states as health officials warn against reopening too quickly (cnbc.com)
As of March 28, Covid is on the Rise in 30 States
Dr. Anthony Fauci warns against another potential COVID-19 surge | WLNS 6 News
There has been a 16% Increase in Infections in One Week, and the CDC Direction Admits to Being Scared of the Impending Doom of a 4th Wave
Vaccine Manufacturers are Working on Booster Vaccines that Will be More Effective Against Variants
COVID Vaccine Updates: Booster shots may be needed until infections die down, study suggests - ABC7 New York (abc7ny.com)
Infection Rates Among Children Under 20 are Rising Dramatically
COVID-19 cases spike in Michigan, fueled by infections among kids - CBS News
U.S. must confront Covid spike, noted epidemiologist warns (msn.com)
COVID's fourth wave is on the way—and younger people could be most at risk (msn.com)
Covid shutdown: CDC chief says vaccinating alone won't stop Michigan Covid surge (cnbc.com)
The CDC reported that so far 5,800 people were infected with the virus after being fully vaccinated.