I am officially a statistic. After my family received our booster shots, we went into the Thanksgiving holiday feeling pretty optimistic. Little did we know that my daughter had been exposed to COVID-19 a few days before returning home from college. Hello, Delta. After recovering from Delta, we approached the Christmas holiday feeling pretty confident. Then came home my other daughter from Portland, Oregon. Welcome, Omicron.
My story is not unique. Since it was first reported in late November 2021, the Omicron variant has been steamrolling across the US, causing millions of infections. A record 1.4 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday, January 10, 2022. Not surprisingly, transmission rates have been reported as high as 99.1% in some counties.
Many health care providers have compared this new surge to the beginning of the pandemic when no one had any defenses against the virus. The sheer number of people being infected with the Omicron variant, especially younger unvaccinated children, has overwhelmed our health care system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years has grown substantially with the arrival of Omicron, while the rate for children aged 5 to 17 years has remained relatively stable.
This new surge has hit everyone hard. Just when we thought we had this thing under control, the virus had other ideas. Catherine R. Judd, MD, PA-C, recently warned of a mental health pandemic among health care workers: “The mental health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic demands recognition, intervention, and mitigation strategies.” She compares health care workers to combat veterans and warns of a moral injury, which occurs when people are forced to make decisions that shift their moral compass.
We want to know how you are faring, please take the quiz in Ms Judd’s article. We will be reporting on the results of the survey in the next issue of The Clinical Advisor.
Nikki Kean, Director
The Clinical Advisor