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Coronavirus update

Here in Michigan, the daily new cases peaked at 10,140 on November 20th. Currently in early March, 2021, we are at 932, so the situation is much improved! Deaths attributed to the virus are also way down.

It’s always important to keep things in perspective. Although several subgroups of patients in older, sicker demographics are at considerable risk, the updated CDC figures place the overall case fatality rate at around 0.23 percent. Meaning that only a fraction of one percent of people who contract Covid-19 will die from the infection. For patients under 70 years of age, the risk drops off further. In fact, the younger the patient, the lower the overall risk from this disease (see table below).

How dangerous is Covid-19? Doctors use a measure called the “infection fatality rate” (IFR) to give us an idea. This is the number of people who die from Covid-19 for every person who is infected with the Coronavirus. This estimate includes those who may not realize that they are infected because they have little, to no, symptoms.

Here is the IFR estimate broken down by ages (it does not include people 80 or older). For example, someone age 20-49 who contracts Covid-19 has only a 1 in 5,000 chance of dying from the disease:

AgeIFR Estimate
0-19 Years1 in 33,333
20-49 Years1 in 5,000
50-69 Years1 in 200
70+1 in 18
*80+ not included

Although we are seeing an overall precipitous drop in Coronavirus infections, it’s important to let our patients know of new advances in treatment, just in case they do contract the disease. One of those is called Monoclonal antibody therapy. It utilizes synthetic antibodies, which attach to the spike proteins of the virus, thus blocking its ability to attach to receptors in lung and other human tissue, where most of the damage is done.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is currently available for high risk patients who still have mild disease, i.e. it is early in their illness and they are not admitted to the hospital or on supplemental oxygen therapy. Eligible patients include those 55 and over with risk factors (eg. Diabetes, heart disease, morbid obesity, emphysema, cancer) and anyone over the age of 65, regardless of their risk factors. This is the same treatment given to President Trump when he contracted the disease last Fall.

If a Village Health patient meets the criteria for this therapy, we will counsel them on the risks/benefits of the treatment, and if agreeable, the patient will be referred to the appropriate infusion center in the North Macomb area. Here they will receive a brief (approximately 10 minute) intravenous infusion, followed by an hour observation for side effects. It is all done on an outpatient basis. Costs MAY be covered by insurance or under various Covid-19 funding arrangements, but there are no guarantees at this time.

We at Village Health are eager to offer this cutting edge therapy to our Covid-19 patients who meet the criteria for treatment.

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