Update for March 6, 2021

Update for March 6, 2021

This week the House of Representatives is expected to pass the final version of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, after which the President will sign it and it will become law.

We will not go into the details because it has been widely reported on in the news, but that is the major legislation that has preoccupied Congress the last few weeks.

Their attention will now turn to other important issues, and TSCL will be in the forefront of efforts to make sure the continued viability of Social Security and Medicare are on the top of the lists, as well as the need to lower the costs of prescription drugs.

Now that March has arrived, winter is starting to appear in the rearview mirror, large sections of the country will experience unseasonably warm temperatures this week, Covid-19 vaccinations are picking up, and we are all getting tired of living the way we have for the past year.

So, what should those who have received the Covid-19 vaccines do now?

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Center for Disease Control has New Guidance for those Fully Vaccinated

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), one of the major operating components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has put out new guidance for those Americans who have been fully vaccinated from Covid-19.

(CDC’s mission is to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable, or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.)

The new guidance is as follows:

When You have Been Fully Vaccinated

How to Protect Yourself and Others

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We are still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

What’s Changed

If you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you do not have symptoms.

What Has not Changed

For now if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.

What We Know and What We are Still Learning

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness, and death.
    • We are still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
    • We are still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
    • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We are still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
  • As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

For more information you can go to:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html#print

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Seasonal Flu Not a Factor This Year

According to an article in Statnews.com, “It is looking increasingly like the U.S. may not experience a flu season this year. To date, fewer than 1,600 people in the entire country have tested positive for influenza since the 2020-2021 flu monitoring period began last October; of those, 32 were recorded in the week ending Feb. 27. Most flu seasons, somewhere between 100 and 200 children die from flu; so far this season there has been a single pediatric flu death. Experts believe mask wearing, social distancing, and enhanced hand hygiene practices adopted for Covid-19 control are contributing to the low numbers of circulating flu viruses.”

The U.S. is not the only country with that experience.  Canada and Great Britain have had the same experience.

This is important information because if you or someone you know is or has been sick, it is safer to assume you have the coronavirus and not the seasonal flu, and you should seek immediate medical care.

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Ivermectin is NOT a Covid-19 Treatment

In recent weeks, some cable television programs have been promoting a drug called ivermectin as a “cure” for the coronavirus.  However, ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used on livestock, and while it is authorized for treatment of specific conditions in humans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the drug should not be used to treat or prevent Covid-19.

The FDA says it has received “multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses”

It also says it has not reviewed data to support use of ivermectin on Covid-19 patients though there is some initial research currently underway,

There are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, but it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and bought from a legitimate source.

Some of the side-effects that may be associated with ivermectin include skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization and liver injury (hepatitis).

We urge you to follow the FDA’s advice and do not take any medication promoted as a cure for COVID-19 unless your doctor has approved it.

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Despite the coronavirus emergency, TSCL is continuing its fight for you to protect your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.  We have had to make some adjustments in the way we carry on our work, but we have not, and will not stop our work on your behalf.

For progress updates or for more information about these and other bills that would strengthen Social Security and Medicare programs, visit the our website at www.SeniorsLeague.org, follow TSCL on Twitter or Facebook.