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Forget CAR score. Secure medical capacity and diabetic care4
HSVG misson P.O. Box 206, Hagatna, GU 96932, USA
(August 25, 2021)There Is Not Any Zero COVID Risk Place Many worldwide well-known experts and celebrities emphasized last year that vaccines would be the only solution to eradicate the COVID pandemic. Guam’s recent case surge and Palau’s latest confirmed cases flying in from Guam have proven “the wonder shot” theory may be not so right.   Government of Guam declared on July 29 that 80% of adults over 18 has been fully vaccinated and lifted all restrictions but mask mandate the next day. Unfortunately, Guam island community noticed the tested positive cases went up in the second week of August, followed by significant hospitalization increase. Although most of confirmed cases and hospitalized patients are unvaccinated individuals, obviously the Guam scenario does not support the so-called “herd immunity” hypothesis, which suggests a high vaccine coverage would protect the whole population including unvaccinated people.   Guam is actually not the only evidence that rejects the herd immunity hypothesis. Many overwhelmed hospitals in the US are recently also showing the world that the pursuit of herd immunity does not seem so realistic. In addition, research findings from the US, the UK and Israel have proven the current vaccines are very effective in reducing severe illness and deaths, however, instead of preventing infections. That is why many breakthrough cases have been seen around the world.   So, no COVID vaccines are the silver bullet. A high vaccine coverage, even like what Palau has achieved, may be still not the indestructible shield. Palauans should not consider the country a “zero” risk place, although Palau’s COVID risk is absolutely extremely low. Nobody should drop his/her guard, especially when many countries in the world are trying to find a proper reopening strategy after suffering from the impact of lockdown measures for more than one year.While the whole world is not able to eradicate the coronavirus so far and no country can afford the lockdown any more either, Palauans are lucky to have a wise leader, Mr. President Whipps, leading the country’s reopening in a practical and vigilant way. What he needs most for the task is actually people’s support, which includes thoroughly following all preventive measures and immediately adapting to the healthy new normal. The impressively high vaccine coverage has offered Palauans confidence. Every Palauan’s a bit more contribution to the pandemic response could make Palau proud of being a role model for reopening in the post-COVID era. http://www.hsvg.org/hot_400544.html There Is Not Any Zero COVID Risk Place 2021-08-25 2022-08-25
HSVG misson P.O. Box 206, Hagatna, GU 96932, USA http://www.hsvg.org/hot_400544.html
HSVG misson P.O. Box 206, Hagatna, GU 96932, USA http://www.hsvg.org/hot_400544.html
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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.