November 14, 2022

COVID19 Walks Into a Bar.........

A COVID19 virus walks into a bar and asks the masked bartender for a dark draft beer, hands $5 to him, and watches the game on the TV. COVID finishes his beer and goes to the bathroom, and returns to find $5 beside his glass refilled with beer. Amused, but pleased, COVID enjoys a second draft, and hands the $5 to the bartender again. Soon COVID heads off for another bathroom break and returns to find his beer glass again full and the $5 again. "What, did I win free beer today or something?", he says to the barkeep. No, you are just really popular with those two guys over there in the corner booth and they insisted to pay for all your drinks.  COVID turned around, letting eyes adjust to the dimly lit corner booth, and who did COVID see?....

Sitting there with big smiles on their faces was Flu virus and RSV.

Yes, here in early November it's a bad time, especially for pediatric ICUs. They are full up all over Canada and the United States, as many people, including children are less vaccinated for Flu than in pre-pandemic years. Also, all of the kids who were not already ill with RSV during the protection afforded by masks in 2020-2021, have added to all the younger infants that normally would need to go into the ICU with RSV infections. About three years' worth all packed into pediatric ICUs this Fall. Many children's hospitals in Canada and the United States are being forced to put together an additional ICU unit, not that they all actually have enough medical staff to cover the extra need. Again Nurses will be called upon to do overtime and more will be burned out by demands as we plow through 2022 into Winter 2023, I suspect many will find another career path. 

COVID-19 has caused, especially in the United States, a misinformed populace to attack and threaten county health officers who enacted public health regulations. Nurses have already burned out and left hospital-based work in record losses. Many of them also died from COVID or have been impacted by post-COVID health issues. CoreWell Health, here in Michigan, is so worried about their supply of Nurses that they are spending $10-Million for scholarships in Nursing programs where graduating students agree to serve in a CoreWell hospital for some years after graduation. I know experienced and newer Nurses that have left their system this year for other clinical office settings where they will not become ill themselves from burnout and the lack of time off. 

So, I got my bivalent booster for COVID-19 and also my annual Flu vaccination, on the same day this Fall, same arm. No problems. I still keep a mask handy and if the crowd is thick and most likely not full of vaccinated people, I will wear my mask. I do not want COVID-19 myself, with the risks it brings with every single infection, and I do not want to pass COVID-19, the Flu, or RSV onto someone else even if I show little symptoms. 

The recent discovery of a COVID-19 protein that directly affects heart muscle cells (NOT the spike protein) contributing to cardiac inflammation, tells me why I want my immunity from an RNA vaccine, which avoids the exposure to cardiac damage from the full slew of viral proteins. The so-called "natural immunity" supporters are rolling the dice. I am not interested in rolling any more dice than I have to. I am not going to tell you to get vaccinated but telling you why I chose to get vaccinated and why I want to do my part to keep the pediatric ICUs as empty as possible. 

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