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Biden declares COVID-19 pandemic ‘over’

WINDOW ROCK

In a shocking announcement final Sunday, President Joe Biden unequivocally declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over” in an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS.

“We nonetheless have an issue with Covid,” Biden mentioned. “We’re nonetheless doing plenty of work on it… but the pandemic is over.”

Biden’s statements created a flurry in the media, with public health officers across the country, including on the Navajo Nation, scrambling to answer the president’s assertion in the days following the announcement.

“I suppose the president of the United States is kind of stepping again,” President Jonathan Nez said in a town hall on Tuesday.

“I know he said that the pandemic may be over, however it’s actually not over, right?” stated Nez, who’s operating for re-election. “The COVID-19 is right here to stay however we all know what to do now.”

Cases still ‘pretty high’

Some experts consider Biden’s declaration was untimely and dangerous with about 350 people nonetheless dying in the U.S. from COVID-19 day by day and around 60,000 new instances per week as reported by the Centers for Disease Control.

More than one million individuals in the U.S. and 1,898 Navajo residents have succumbed to the illness since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

“I guess with the words coming from the White House, the pandemic is over,” stated Navajo Nation Department of Health Director Jill Jim. “To some extent I agree with that, but to some extent it’s still a very giant public well being concern.”

Jim mentioned while not as many people are passing from COVID-19, there are nonetheless circumstances, people are still getting sick, and there could be nonetheless a major impact to the Navajo Nation population.

“This actually hasn’t gone away,” she mentioned.

Epidemiologist Del Yazzie reported that circumstances on the Navajo Nation have been trending downward for the explanation that end of August but, in the past week or so, the transferring average continues to be about 47 cases per day, which is fairly excessive, he stated.

The BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron variant continues to be dominant on the Navajo Nation and across the United States, he added.

“Our day by day circumstances proceed to fluctuate,” mentioned Yazzie. “There’s still lots of Covid transmission occurring within our region.”

For that reason, Jim stated vaccinations, boosters and continuing with safety protocols and mitigation strategies are nonetheless very important.

“We don’t actually have a crystal ball to find out the method to plan for the longer term, but we know that we ought to nonetheless contemplate it a precedence,” she mentioned.

Regardless, Nez stated in some unspecified time within the future, his administration will be lifting COVID-19 restrictions on the Navajo Nation.

“It’s going to be on the residents to push back on COVID-19,” said Nez. “The government and frontline workers have accomplished an impressive job, and now our residents should proceed that momentum.”

Jim mentioned that in case you have Covid-like symptoms, it is still necessary to get tested to be able to protect close contacts and so you might get the antiviral treatment Paxlovid or other oral remedies if you’re infected.

‘Not the place we want to be’

Biden’s sudden announcement contradicted his own top COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, who stated “the pandemic isn’t over” in a Sept. 6 White House briefing.

Just last month, the Biden administration extended the COVID-19 public well being emergency declaration by way of mid-October.

This comes as Biden administration officers, including Jha, have been pushing for a fall Covid booster marketing campaign to keep people shielded from the virus by way of the winter.

Even Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responded to Biden’s declaration by saying “we usually are not where we want to be” in order to “live with the virus” in a presentation to the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.

Fauci cautioned that it’s unlikely that the “unusual” and highly transmissible illness can be eradicated and that it might possibly nonetheless mutate to create new COVID-19 variants.

“There shall be more variants,” mentioned Fauci. “How we reply and the way we’re prepared for the evolution of those variants is going to depend on us.”

In his 60 Minutes interview, Biden did acknowledge that the psychological impacts of the pandemic have been “profound.”

“It’s been a very difficult time,” Biden advised host Scott Pelley, including that Covid has “changed every little thing.”

“You know, people’s attitudes about themselves, their families, about the state of the nation, concerning the state of their communities,” stated Biden. “And so, there’s a lot of uncertainty out there, quite so much of uncertainty.”

On the other hand, Biden boasted that beneath his administration 220 million people within the United States have been vaccinated, which represents about 68% of the whole U.S. inhabitants.

On the Navajo Nation, 69.1% of tribal members have acquired their major collection of two COVID-19 shots.

The CDC continues to say that those who are fully vaccinated have decrease threat of severe sickness, hospitalization and dying from COVID-19 and that up to date COVID-19 boosters may help restore protection that has decreased since earlier vaccination.

With flu season on the horizon, Jha also stated that each the flu and COVID vaccinations can be given at the same time if one is eligible and the timing works.

“I really imagine for this reason God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the opposite one for the COVID shot,” Jha acknowledged within the White House briefing.

Four Monkeypox circumstances confirmed

In the city hall, Nez also confirmed a complete 4 instances of Monkeypox have been identified on the Navajo Nation up to now.

“These are amongst people who’ve travelled off of the Navajo Nation,” Jim stated.

Jim stated it’s essential for contact-tracing functions that signs, signs and cases of Monkeypox be reported to NDOH.

“We have been taking a proactive approach to forestall the spread of Monkeypox on the Navajo Nation,” stated Nez. “We just lately secured doses of the Monkeypox vaccines and they’re now available to the Navajo people at every of our health-care amenities.”

According to NDOH web site, vaccinations are only beneficial for shut personal contacts of somebody with Monkeypox to prevent or lessen the severity of disease.

NDOH describes Monkeypox as unfold through “skin-to-skin” contact with infectious rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids, via contact with respiratory secretions, or by touching objects, and surfaces that have been used by somebody contaminated with Monkeypox.

It can take 5-21 days to develop signs after exposure to Monkeypox that will embody fever, fatigue, headache, typically a sore throat and cough, and swollen lymph glands.

Individuals with Monkeypox can expertise rashes on the face, in the mouth, and other parts of the body, together with the genital space in the later phases of the sickness, which is when an individual is most contagious.

There are presently about 24,000 instances of Monkeypox in the United States.

Data suggest that gay, bisexual, and different men who’ve sex with males make up the majority of circumstances in the current Monkeypox outbreak, according to the CDC.

However, anybody, no matter sexual orientation or gender identification, who has been in shut, personal with somebody who has Monkeypox is in danger, the CDC advises.

“We just want everyone to be careful,” stated Nez. “With the Monkeypox, it’s skin to pores and skin, so use the elbows, fist bumps and hand sanitizers as a lot as you presumably can.”

NDOH recommends that in case you are sick with Monkeypox, isolate at home, stay away from folks and pets, and make contact with your health-care provider for testing, care, and therapy.

“Consider the protection of everybody in your family,” stated Jim. “Continue to simply be conscious that there are ailments out there that we still need to keep a watch out for.”

Information: www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov

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