Romano Law Nurse Corner COVID-19 #43
Giving Vaccines & New Strains
Amie & Susan are suiting up!
We are excited here at RLNC. We are fortunate because we finally get to do something about COVID-19 besides share with all of you with these blogs and continue to pursue justice for our clients. Apparently, one of the biggest issues in getting widespread vaccinations done is that there is not enough medical personnel to give them. We found this out through a nursing organization who had a call for volunteers to help in this effort.
We have seen news of vaccine administration websites crashing from overload. Most older folks we know have not had luck either on the phone or computer to get an appointment. We have seen the lines of people waiting every single day. According to Center for Disease Control data, about 70% of the vaccine doses that have been distributed nationwide are on pharmacy shelves rather than administered to Americans. This is the United States we cannot understand how the federal response is so poor. We hope in the coming months we will see improvements. Thanks to our nursing background and the idea that “once a nurse, always a nurse”, we are signed up and ready to suit up and show up!
As of now, Susan has received her first assignment and will be “deployed” (their words) to the St. Lucie Fairgrounds this week and Amie should be getting her first deployment this week as well. We both volunteered for multiple shifts administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the citizens of Florida, specifically Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County and St. Lucie County- the counties we live in, or nearby.
As we have said in prior blogs, the technology involved in creating this vaccine is completely amazing and infinitely safer than any prior vaccines. It is exciting to see where medicine and science has come. We will keep you all updated about our progress and experiences in our weekly blogs.
Recently there has been news of new strains of the COVID-19 virus. The first we heard, there was one new strain in England that caused a surge of cases causing strict lockdowns and other controls which currently exist there. Then we heard there was one of these super strains found in Colorado, believed to be the U.K. variant. Experts have now detected this variant in 6 U.S. States according to the CDC: Colorado, California, Georgia, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. There is another variant believed to be from South Africa. There are no other specific variants known, however others will follow. This is not good news at all.
COVID-19 labs around the country are supposed to be monitoring samples for mutated variants of the virus, according to the CDC.
These latest strains are believed to be 50% more contagious than the current widely circulated COVID-19 virus, however experts say it does not seem to be more fatal for those that catch it. The problem with a more contagious widespread virus is that our healthcare system is already strained beyond capacity in the current post holiday surge of cases. Hospitals all over the country are beyond capacity. Oxygen is running out at some hospitals. Now, there are more contagious variants of this disease in the United States to spread more quickly. This will lead to more dead Americans.
Some experts believe that the virus is changing itself to adapt and infect more people. Adam Kucharski, PhD, associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine specializing in the math of infectious diseases says these new phases will be more deadly. Much more deadly than it has been, is this possible? Experts say yes.
Ashish Jha, MD, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, projected that as the new strains take hold in the U.S., they could cause an additional 10 million new infections by the end of February and as many as 150,000 more deaths. Dr. Jha explained in a press release that without aggressive action to limit the spread of the virus, bolster health care systems around the country, and accelerate vaccine administration, Los Angeles and its current state, offers a preview of what many communities are likely to experience over the coming months.
Mutations are errors that a virus makes when it is replicating itself. In general, coronaviruses do this more slowly than other viruses because its genetic make-up includes a built in proofreading mechanism. It has a built in self-correction as well. This mechanism is not perfect and might miss some mutations and/or not be able to fix some. This is when new strains thrive and cause increased spread of an already fast spreading virus.
Most of the time the mutations do not make the virus more dangerous, but rather, it allows them to survive better. Since the COVID-19 virus has infected so many millions of people around the world, it has had more opportunity to mutate and become better at infecting people.
Susan Weiss, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, believes it is too early to worry about either of the two variants. She thinks public concern is overblown explaining that there are 30,000 spots in the genome of the COVID-19 virus that can be mutated, so even the 23 they have found in the current variations of the virus, make only a tiny difference in the virus that causes COVID-19.
Stephen Morse, from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, studies emerging infectious diseases, says that the physical properties of the virus are not changed, so the precautions we have been using will work as they have been until now. He goes on to say however that this leaves us with much less room for error. We must be stricter than ever in our mitigation efforts while we are waiting widespread vaccination. We must step up our response.
Experts do believe that these more contagious variants make it more important than ever to socially isolate and wear masks. Limit gatherings, stay outdoors. Most experts believe that the vaccine will be just as effective on the mutated forms of the virus since the way they work is by generating the body’s response against the virus. This is good news.
Massive vaccine rollout needs to happen. We have hope for a more effective federal response sometime shortly after the inauguration. The incoming administration already has a plan to improve this problem. We are ready to help. All of us must continue steadfast social distance, limited outings and constant proper mask wearing in public.
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.