[Apologies for being a day late. I figured the Super Bowl was going to be most of the people’s attention yesterday]
Covid cases continue to drop across the United States. While we are still far above the lows from last summer and last fall, I’m optimistic about our current trajectory. The number of people in the hospital for Covid dropped is well below the Delta peak.
Most countries are moving to drop all Covid restrictions. Denmark and Norway announced plans to end all remaining limits. Vietnam is ending Covid curbs on international flights starting tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if China will continue to pursue a zero covid strategy that just last week had them engage in a total lockdown of a city of a few million people after the Olympics.
In the United States, we’re seeing the cities and states with restrictions continue to let them expire/vote to end them. I’m interested in seeing when major tech companies reopen their offices/mandate in office work. It’s key to remember that large tech was the bellwether and locked down their offices weeks first. Realistically the companies taking swift action likely blunted the Bay Areas’ first wave and saved a number of lives.
The most contentious area for Covid restrictions moving forward seems to involve children and schools. Should they keep their masks on? What’s the protocol for exposure?
This week contained more frustrating news for parents with young children. Pfizer pulled their application for a two-shot vaccine series for 6-month-olds to five-year-olds under pressure from the FDA. Now Pfizer expects to only submit after enough data from the third shot, which should be in April.
It’s grossly irresponsible of the FDA to continue to act in such a caviler manner, flip-flopping on a nearly weekly basis based on no new information. I can’t give any expectations of when a vaccine will arrive for parents of young kids. The FDA does not appear to have any sense of urgency on this issue, and even in April, it’s not clear if the vaccine will meet their criteria.
The BA.2 sub-variant continues to grow in the percentage of cases. Still, looking at data from other countries, I don’t believe it will cause a new surge and only slightly slow our drop.
This week Eli Lilly announced a new monoclonal antibody that works against Omicron. They expect to deliver 600,000 doses by the end of March. As you might remember, most of our other monoclonal antibodies treatments stopped working against Omicron.
My current plan is to write a wrap-up next week with some thoughts on what the future holds.
As always, let me know if you have any questions.