Forget CAR score. Secure medical capacity and diabetic care4
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[01/19/24]More work to be done on climateDuring the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP28, Cedric Schuster, Samoa’s minister of natural resources and environment and the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, called the draft of the final agreement “death certificate” of small island nations. A statement delivered by the Australian climate change minister, Chris Bowen, on behalf of what is known as the umbrella group of countries, echoed that they will not be a co-signatory to “death certificates for small island states,” and demanded a stronger agreement of COP28 to deal with fossil fuels and address the climate crisis. It made us feel like islanders’ voices have finally been heard by our allies, but we also understand that, regarding climate action, we are not exactly there and there is more work to be done. Please check out the monthly column in the Guam Daily Post contributed by President of Guahan Global Foundation Edward Lu regarding COP28’s result:https://www.postguam.com/forum/featured_columnists/more-work-to-be-done-on-climate/article_8e857cf0-9a26-11ee-8f45-87ebc8aff4d6.html http://www.hsvg.org/hot_484026.html More work to be done on climate 2024-01-19 2025-01-19
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(August 12, 2021)

Forget CAR score. Secure medical capacity and diabetic care


Guam island community noticed the so-called CAR (COVID-19 Area Risk) Score has increased. It seems the CAR Score is mainly attributed to the number of new infections. Given Guam’s high vaccination coverage, the hospitalization number is actually a better indicator to monitor in the post-COVID era.


The coronavirus causing COVID-19 is doubtlessly a highly contagious pathogen. Research findings from the US, the UK, Israel and other countries have proven the current vaccines are very effective in reducing transmission, severe illness and deaths, however, instead of preventing infections. That is why many breakthrough cases have been seen around the world. The number of new infections is therefore not the most appropriate indicator to monitor the pandemic, and the hospitalization number is, especially after the COVID vaccines rolled out.


So, in the Asia-Pacific, Australia and Singapore have announced their new response strategies of treating COVID like the flu. Singapore also decided to stop counting COVID cases. In Europe, the British government declared they would live with COVID like the flu even if cases keep soaring. These countries are focusing on vaccine rollouts and carefully keeping an eye on COVID hospitalizations.


In Guam, 122 COVID deaths were reported in 2020. After vaccine rollouts started last December, the death number was 12 in the first quarter of this year and six in the second quarter. The daily hospitalization number has been kept at less than 10 for several months. Obviously, successful vaccine rollouts have helped Guam reduce severe cases and deaths. What the island community now really needs to pay attention to is the hospitalization trend and whether our medical capacity is sufficient to deal with any possible increase of hospitalized patients if new variants of the coronavirus or any other emerging diseases hit our island.


In the past year, Guam residents were so frightened by the overwhelmed health care system, especially the island’s only public hospital. While we finally get a break, our island community definitely wants to see the government invest more in the hospital, especially in the intensive care unit. It is great to know Guam Memorial Hospital has established a telemedicine platform to bring the help of critical care physicians from the states, according to the hospital’s press release last week.


Every Guamanian also needs to understand that, because preventing infections is not really one of the main benefits the current COVID vaccines could offer, we should not drop our guard. Let’s live with the healthy new normal of good hygiene. People with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease or lung disease must well manage those underlying medical conditions because they usually cause severe complications once chronic patients get infected.


Finally, another important lesson Guam has to learn from the pandemic is that a more advanced disease surveillance system, probably with help of genetic and digital technologies, is necessary for Guam. We need a system to find suspicious cases early, identify possible pathogens timely, manage infections and trace contacts efficiently when new variants of the coronavirus or any other emerging diseases come. Once again, while we finally get a break, what we should do is the preparedness for future threats.