More Covid in Alaska
“There is an increase in Covid cases, possibly due to the new variant of this virus. The pandemic is said to be becoming endemic, and we should get used to this and other pandemics that may arise,” Jennifer Meyer, assistant professor in the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Anchorage Alaska (UAA) and an expert with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), tells Sol de Medianoche.
When Jennifer Meyer talks about the new variant of the Covid virus, she’s referring to EG.5, better known as “Eris,” which has already taken over countries like the U.S. and the U.K. and continues to spread globally. “They seem like shy cases that have been detected, but hospitalizations are increasing. So far, deaths don’t seem to be increasing too dramatically, but you must keep in mind that that’s a lagging indicator. Exactly how these new variants will drive this wave is unknown, but it is advisable to take precautions to prevent infections, especially indoors and in large groups.”
The risk of Covid infection is 1.5 times higher for Hispanics than for the rest of the U.S. population. Is this true?
According to studies such as the one released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent health news source (kffhealthnews.org), the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death was higher for racial or ethnic minority groups compared to whites.
The causes of these poor outcomes are secondary to social and economic policies that limit workplace safety, access to education, health care, and so on, all rooted in historical oppression, marginalization, and slavery.
Another risk factor is the tendency of Latinos to use home remedies and self-medicate without going to a doctor or hospital. What can you say about this?
The answer I could give is very long, and maybe it would be of interest to talk about it in another article.
Will we again see masks and a health awareness campaign like in 2020?
It is always a good idea to be aware of ways to prevent disease. In some places there is an increase in diseases and schools have gone virtual again. As of late August, when the new school year had just started, school districts in Kentucky and Texas canceled classes due to an increase in illnesses, including covidosis.
Are we in danger of having many deaths again?
I don’t think so. I doubt it will be back to what it was in 2020. If we have learnt anything in the last few years, it is that we should not underestimate this virus, which is changeable. Every time we are infected, we run the risk of a bad outcome or a long covid.
I would encourage everyone to get their flu vaccine in late September and early October (get it before the boo-boo!), if a person is over sixty, they should get their RSV vaccine, and of course, when the new COVID-19 booster becomes available, they should get it as well.
Chronic Disease & COVID-19 Risk
Nearly 3 out of 4 Alaska adults have underlying health concerns that increase their chances of serious illness or death from COVID-19.6
About 72% of Alaska adults have at least one of the following ongoing health concerns that have been shown to increase chances for serious illness or death, should they contract COVID-19:
- Smoke now or formerly
- Have obesity
- Are inactive
- Have a depression disorder
- Have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Have heart disease or have had a heart attack
- Have had a stroke
- Have chronic kidney disease
This estimate is likely an undercount, given that strong evidence links other known health concerns with severe illness from COVID-19.