Dr. Norman Estin: Vaccines are key to battling COVID-19
HONOKOWAI — The COVID-19 Delta Variant is formally tagged B.1.617.2. It was first detected in India in December 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) christened it the Delta Variant on May 31 of this year.
The American Society for Microbiology has tracked its global course since encountered.
“Within a matter of months, this particular variant (Delta) spread to over 98 countries around the world, becoming the dominant variant in more than a dozen of those countries, including India, Scotland, the U.K., Israel and the United States. Delta is now responsible for more than 83% of COVID-19 cases being reported in the U.S.,” a July 31 article revealed.
WHO regards Delta as “the fastest and fittest” variant on the planet.
Hawaii, unfortunately, has not been left out of these worrisome stats.
Last week Thursday, Aug. 5, Lt. Gov. Josh Green announced 655 new cases were recorded, the highest new daily case count on record for Hawaii since the start of the pandemic.
In a social media post, Green attributed the increasing number of case counts to “the highly infections Delta variant.”
There have been 4,560 Covid cases confirmed in Maui County over the course of the pandemic: 57 on Molokai, 114 on Lanai and 4,389 on Maui. In the past two weeks, Wailuku has documented 91 infections, Kahului 83, Lahaina 67, Kihei 70 and Makawao 52.
The Aug. 5 count includes a 6.87 percent positivity rate, with 166 hospitalized. The 655 cases include 132 in Hawaii County; 69 in Maui County; 428 in the City and County of Honolulu; and seven in Kauai County.
The state Department of Health reported 63 percent of the total population in Maui County has initiated vaccine protocol and 54 percent have completed a full course.
Vaccines remain a strong and effective weapon in the battle against this plague, beating all strains, including Delta.
According to Dr. Norman Estin, medical director of the Doctors On Call Urgent Care and Covid Testing Center, over four billion doses have been administered safely, and that’s a monumental amount.
“The unvaccinated are most at risk, becoming ill and taking up the hospitals’ beds. The patients now are much younger — even children are getting sick,” he wrote.
“Many scientists think that within a year or two, everyone in the world will either have been vaccinated or infected. Remember that most of those infected will either have minimal symptoms or be easily treated.
“On the other hand, there have already been over 35 million Covid cases in this country and over 615,000 deaths — most all preventable had the vaccine been available.”
To put that in perspective, the total USA military and civilian death toll in all of World War II was an estimated 420,000. In truth, COVID-19 is a standout, once-in-a-century pandemic.
“Vaccines, of course, are not always guaranteed to give you absolute, 100 percent protection, but it’s close. It WILL prevent you from getting seriously ill, winding up in a hospital or dying. And, if you do get a so-called ‘breakthrough’ infection, it will be milder and shorter,” Estin explained.
The Delta Variant is highly contagious; even the vaccinated are advised to wear masks indoors and in crowded situations, especially when around the unvaccinated.
“There is, however, good news on the horizon. We DO have the tools to fight Delta and Covid. The vaccine is the key, but we must continue to pay attention to masking around others, especially indoors, physical distancing and ventilation,” Dr. Estin noted.
“Vaccines are available at any doctor’s office, clinic or pharmacy. The Pfizer vaccine is now approved for kids over 12, and it won’t be too long, we hope, until we have one for kids under 12, too.”
If you’re asking, “What can I do?” Get vaccinated and bring along your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers as well. “We have to come together as a community; this is our back to normal strategy,” Estin concluded.
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed shared a similar message: “Remember, we are in this together. No one will ever be truly safe until everyone is safe.”