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If coronavirus spreads within the US, here's how daily life might change – CNN

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Preparing for a pandemic: What should I buy? Are there places I should avoid?
How could the possible spread of coronavirus change our daily lives? Schools, businesses, hospitals and first responders could all be impacted, according to the CDC.
“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a press briefing Tuesday.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad.”
The CDC has been referring to guidance on how to deal with flu pandemics, in a document called “Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza United States 2017.” It’s the “blueprint” for community interventions, and the agency is adjusting its recommendations to the specific circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
The document draws from the findings of nearly 200 journal articles written between 1990 and 2016, and it includes a summary of lessons learned from the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.
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“The trajectory of what we’re looking at over the weeks and months ahead is very uncertain, but many of the steps that we have taken over the past 15 years to prepare for pandemic influenza and our experience going through the 2009 H1N1 pandemic of influenza remind us of the kinds of steps that our health care system, our businesses, our communities and schools may need to take,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director, said during a press conference at the White House on Wednesday.
“It’s the perfect time for businesses, health care systems, universities and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off and make sure that they’re ready.”

Some schools and social events could shut down

Widespread transmission of the coronavirus could impact schools, child care centers, colleges and group events, such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events, according to the CDC’s 2017 document.
For instance, the document notes that “social distancing measures” for schools, workplaces and gatherings “can reduce virus transmission by decreasing the frequency and duration of social contact among persons of all ages.”
In schools, that could involve dividing classes into smaller groups of students and rearranging desks so students are spaced at least 3 feet from each other in a classroom, according to the document. That is, if the school remains open.
CDC might recommend the use of coordinated school closures during severe pandemics. More than 100 schools closed in 2009 in response to the H1N1 flu pandemic.
Closing or canceling schools in response to public health concerns are decisions that districts typically have to grapple with and are already experienced in making.
“Even in my own state of Maine, schools have in recent weeks and months had to close for influenza. During the H1N1 crisis many years ago, schools were also closed then,” recalled Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
For the novel coronavirus, “one of the questions that is scientifically out there that will govern or drive how school closures are calculated is to what extent children themselves carry or transmit this virus,” Shah said. “Scientifically we need to have a better understanding of to what extent children are carriers or transmitters of the virus — the point of that is, it’s premature right now based on the science to make uniform claims about what school closures may look like.”
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Messonnier said on Tuesday that she talked to her family and told them, while they are not at risk right now, they should have a plan in case their lives are significantly impacted. She said she even called the children’s school district to find out what would happen if schools needed to close.
“The data over the last week, and the spread in other countries, has certainly raised our level of concern and raised our level of expectation” of community spread, she said.
The CDC still doesn’t know what that will look like, she added. Community spread could be reasonably mild or very severe.

You might be urged to work from home

The CDC has posted guidance on its website to help businesses and employers make decisions on work-from-home policies or flexible sick leave if there is significant spread of the coronavirus across the country.
Such guidance also includes how to respond if an employee gets sick.
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The 2017 document noted that “social distancing measures that reduce face-to-face contact in workplaces might include offering telework and remote meeting options. Flexible sick leave policies should be implemented to encourage workers to stay home if needed.”
Also according to the document, “CDC recommends environmental surface cleaning measures in all settings, including homes, schools, and workplaces, to remove influenza viruses from frequently touched surfaces and objects.”
Yet overall, “what community spread looks like in the United States will vary greatly community by community. It might vary by time, it might vary by place,” Shah said.
“Although we believe, according to the US CDC, that community spread is likely in the United States, the magnitude of that possibility as well as how it actually plays out, that will vary greatly between Washington state, Florida, Maine and any other state,” he said, adding because of that, “there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach here.”

First responders may have to act

With the spread of disease, health care systems could become taxed with high rates of hospitalizations and deaths — and it could impact other critical infrastructure, too, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services and the transportation industry, according to the CDC.
Concerns mount about coronavirus spreading in hospitals, study suggestsConcerns mount about coronavirus spreading in hospitals, study suggests
Many state health departments are already in talks with emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters and other first responders to plan how to handle sick patients while remaining healthy themselves in case the virus spreads through the community. Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against the coronavirus and no medications have been approved, yet, to treat it.
“What this looks like, again, will vary greatly community by community, city by city, state by state,” Shah said.
The CDC has produced more than 23 guidance documents on infection control, hospital preparedness, personal protective equipment supplies and clinical evaluation and management to help first responders and health systems prepare for the possible spread of the disease.
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Those preparations include making sure enough supplies are available for response efforts.
For instance, Shah said his colleagues at the CDC have already taken an inventory of their personal protective equipment — such as gowns, masks and respirators — and have put in an order for additional supplies, as have many other state health departments.
“We are anticipating what potential needs the health care system in Maine, and New England as a whole, may have for those supplies and we’re trying to think as many steps in advance as we can,” he said.

A call to stay informed

While federal, state and local health departments are staying on top of preparation efforts, Shah has several suggestions on how average Americans can get prepared, too.
Facebook, Google and Twitter crack down on fake coronavirus 'cures' and other misinformationFacebook, Google and Twitter crack down on fake coronavirus 'cures' and other misinformation
“I’m recommending a few things. The first is to urge everyone to keep themselves and their families as healthy as possible. Exercise, eat a good diet, get a lot of sleep, wash your hands, do everything you can to stay healthy right now. The other thing we’re recommending is that folks stay informed,” Shah said.
“We really want to urge everyone to avoid dubious sources of information and stick with trusted sources like their state health departments or the US CDC,” he said. “We’re in a situation where fear and misinformation can spread more quickly than this virus.”
Shah also suggests staying up to date on the CDC’s coronavirus travel warnings and alerts. As of Wednesday, the agency recommends travelers avoid all nonessential trips to mainland China and South Korea.
“These are really concrete things that everybody can start doing today, so that if we get into a scenario where the situation becomes more concerning nationwide, everyone is ready, not just health departments,” Shah said.

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Vaccination plus infection offered most protection during Delta surge, U.S. study shows – CBC News

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Protection against the previously-dominant Delta variant was highest among people who were both vaccinated and had survived a previous COVID-19 infection, according to a report published Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report also found those who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were better protected against the Delta variant than those who were vaccinated alone, suggesting that natural immunity was a more potent shield than vaccines against that variant, California and New York health officials reported on Wednesday.

Protection against Delta was lowest among those who had never been infected or vaccinated, the CDC report continued.

“The evidence in this report does not change our vaccination recommendations,” Dr. Ben Silk of the CDC and one of the study’s authors told a media briefing.

“We know that vaccination is still the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” he said.

The findings do not apply to the Omicron variant of the virus, which now accounts for 99.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Study includes data from May to November

For the study, health officials in California and New York gathered data from May through November, which included the period when the Delta variant was dominant.

It showed that people who survived a previous infection had lower rates of COVID-19 than people who were vaccinated alone.

That represented a change from the period when the Alpha variant was dominant, Silk told the briefing.

“Before the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in better protection against a subsequent infection than surviving a previous infection,” he said.

In the summer and fall of 2021, however, when Delta became the predominant circulating iteration of the virus in the United States, “surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection against the subsequent infection than vaccination,” he said.

But acquiring immunity through natural infection carries significant risks. According to the study, by Nov. 30, 2021, roughly 130,781 residents of California and New York had died from COVID-19.

The analysis did not include information on the severity of initial infection, nor does it account for the full range of illness caused by prior infection.

One important limitation to the study was that it ended before administration of vaccine booster doses was widespread.

WATCH | Experts agree the science behind booster shots is sound:

The safe science behind COVID-19 booster shots

5 days ago

Duration 1:55

While some Canadians who have received their booster shots have later tested positive for COVID-19, medical experts agree that the science behind booster jabs is sound. 1:55

‘Clearly shows’ vaccines provide safest protection

Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email that the study “clearly shows” that vaccines provide the safest protection against COVID-19 and they offer added protection for those with prior infections.

“Outside of this study, recent data on the highly contagious Omicron variant shows that getting a booster provides significant additional protection against infection, hospitalization and death,” Pan said.

Silk said the CDC is studying the impact of vaccination, boosters and prior infection during the Omicron surge and expects to issue further reports when that data becomes available.

So far, Omicron has proven to evade some level of immunity from both vaccination and previous infection, but vaccines are still largely preventing serious illness and death.

An Israeli hospital on Monday also said preliminary research indicates a fourth dose of leading mRNA-based vaccines provides only limited defence against infection from the variant.

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COVID-19: Go-Vaxx mobile vaccination clinic to return to Haliburton County with 3 stops – Globalnews.ca

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Ontario’s GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinic is making three stops in Haliburton County in the coming weeks, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit announced Wednesday.

The retrofitted GO bus will provide first, second and boosters doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to any eligible residents, including doses for children ages 5-11. Moderna will be provided to individuals 30 and older, unless they have a documented allergy to Moderna.

Read more:

Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccine, officials say

All appointments must be booked in advance through the Provincial Booking System or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Appointments can be booked starting at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic.

Clinics will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Saturday, Jan. 29 : A.J. LaRue Arena, 728 Mountain St., in Haliburton
  • Saturday, Feb. 5: Lloyd Watson Community Centre, 2249 Loop Rd., in Wilberforce
  • Saturday Feb. 12: A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton

“Being fully vaccinated with a booster dose has proven to be effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization against the Omicron variant,” said Doreen Boville, health promoter with the health unit. “To ensure anyone needing a vaccine can get one, appointments are necessary for a smooth rollout.”

Individuals are asked to bring their Ontario health card. If you do not have a health card or your health card is expired, bring another form of government photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, Status card, or birth certificate.

The health unit has appointments available at COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held throughout the region. A list of dates and times is available on the health unit’s www.hkpr.on.ca. Residents are also encouraged to check with local pharmacies or their primary health care providers for more opportunities to get vaccinated.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the health unit reported 822 active cases within its jurisdiction including 35 in Haliburton County.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Prior COVID-19 infection offered protection against Delta variant, but vaccines still best shield against the virus, study says – The Globe and Mail

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People who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were better protected against the Delta variant than those who were vaccinated alone, suggesting that natural immunity was a more potent shield than vaccines against that variant, California and New York health officials reported on Wednesday.

Protection against Delta was highest, however, among people who were both vaccinated and had survived a previous COVID infection, and lowest among those who had never been infected or vaccinated, the study found.

Nevertheless, vaccination remains the safest strategy against COVID-19, according to the report published in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The results do not apply to the Omicron variant of the virus, which now accounts for 99.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

“The evidence in this report does not change our vaccination recommendations,” Dr. Ben Silk of the CDC and one of the study’s authors told a media briefing.

“We know that vaccination is still the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” he said.

For the study, health officials in California and New York gathered data from May through November, which included the period when the Delta variant was dominant.

It showed that people who survived a previous infection had lower rates of COVID-19 than people who were vaccinated alone.

That represented a change from the period when the Alpha variant was dominant, Silk told the briefing.

“Before the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in better protection against a subsequent infection than surviving a previous infection,” he said.

In the summer and fall of 2021, however, when Delta became the predominant circulating iteration of the virus in the United States, “surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection against the subsequent infection than vaccination,” he said.

But acquiring immunity through natural infection carries significant risks. According to the study, by November 30, 2021, roughly 130,781 residents of California and New York had died from COVID-19.

The analysis did not include information on the severity of initial infection, nor does it account for the full range of illness caused by prior infection.

One important limitation to the study was that it ended before administration of vaccine booster doses was widespread.

Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email that the study “clearly shows” that vaccines provide the safest protection against COVID-19 and they offer added protection for those with prior infections.

“Outside of this study, recent data on the highly contagious Omicron variant shows that getting a booster provides significant additional protection against infection, hospitalization and death,” Pan said.

Silk said the CDC is studying the impact of vaccination, boosters and prior infection during the Omicron surge and expects to issue further reports when that data becomes available.

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