Two recent announcements, one from the Phillies and another from the White House, are clear warnings that the COVID-19 public health emergency is not over notwithstanding some recent progress against the pandemic.
On Sunday, the Phillies announced that two of their starting pitchers, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin, were placed on the COVID-19 injured list. According to MLB’s health protocols, a team places a player on such a list when the player tests positive for COVID-19, show symptoms of the disease, or are identified as having close contact with someone who had the virus.
According to MLB’s health protocols, a team places a player on such a list when the player tests positive for COVID-19, shows symptoms of the disease, or is identified as having close contact with someone who had the virus.
Wheeler and Eflin could join the Phillies later in the trip, but it is unlikely. Major League Baseball’s Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee can reinstate a vaccinated player from the COVID-19 Injured List if they consider the player to no longer be infectious. If the player is not vaccinated, he cannot return to action until he submits two negative PCR tests. A PCR test detects the presence of fragments of the virus even after the patient no longer shows symptoms. The Cleveland Clinic considers the PCR the gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19.
On the same day that the Phillies announced their COVID-19 Injury List woes, the White House’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, called the nation to remain vigilant against the disease: «this virus continues to evolve, and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter». In other words, the pandemic surged during the last two winters and is likely to surge again this year.
Some critics are dismissing Dr Jha’s comments as advocacy to push President Biden’s request for additional money from Congress to continue funding the nation’s battle with the virus. The President is asking for an additional $22.5 Billion to bolster vaccination uptake for the unvaccinated, provide another booster for those who already have three shots, assure that the country has enough medicine for those who get the disease, and secure free tests for those who experience symptoms.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, it may be less deadly but now is not the time to let our guard down. At the national level, we need to keep the country’s response well-funded and ready. At the personal level, we need to make sure that we and our loved ones are fully vaccinated, wear a mask in public when in doubt about safety, and if not feeling well, stay home to stop any further spread of whatever disease you may have.
Beware of disinformation. The liars that claim that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu, cannot erase the more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths in the US so far. This is the same group that falsely claimed that President Obama was not born in the US, climate change is a hoax, and Trump was going to be reinstated to the White House. Lie after lie and people die.
Wishful thinking may help some people believe that the Phillies still have a chance of making the playoffs this year, however, it does nothing to deal with a deadly virus that basic science knows will keep replicating and evolving.
It is better to be safe than sorry.