May 6th, 2021

Link to Message from DG Joe Kashi to Members about Covid-19


April 28, 2021 

Here’s the latest Covid information gleaned from medical research reports that is receive daily:
The overall medical context is changing very quickly and not necessarily in a generally positive way due to the new Covid mutations now taking hold. It’s only common sense that Rotarians who are vaccinating children around the world against Polio should protect themselves and those around them against a pandemic at home.
A new study just published in the internationally respected science journal Nature reports new findings that people who were seriously ill with Covid but who did not require hospitalization had a 60% higher death rate in the six months following their illness as well as a relatively high frequency of adverse long-term health consequences, including long-term fatigue,  heart and lung damage, “brain fog”, and a significantly increased chance of later developing auto-immune diseases and a significant chance of being diagnosed with neurological or mental health issues within several months after illness, due to inflammation of the blood vessels within the brain. 
The newer, more contagious and dangerous UK Covid mutation is taking a stronghold in the US and that seems to be driving recently rising rates of infection.  The State of Alaska's Covid reports that I receive indicate a recent doubling of Alaska's infection rate over the past two weeks. 
However, those who have been fully vaccinated are not currently at high risk for serious disease, hospitalization, or death.  Full immunity is believed to occur about two weeks after the second shot and immunity lasts at least six months. Several vaccine makers are already modifying their initial vaccines to effectively immunize against the nasty emerging mutations.  Annual booster shots, similar to yearly flu shots, should be available by Autumn, 2021. Children are much more likely to be infected by the newer UK mutation that’s becoming dominant in the US and is driving the resurgence of serious Covid infections in Europe.  Unlike our earlier experience with Covid, the now-dominant UK mutation infects children and teens more often and more seriously, now making children and teens an important infection source. 
Recent medical journal articles indicate that the UK mutation is about 64%  more lethal than earlier variants of Covid, which also means nastier long-term side effects experienced by many who become infected. 
Preliminary studies show that Pfizer vaccine ( and likely the very similar Moderna two-shot vaccine) is nearly 100% effective in preventing Covid in children 12-15.  Unfortunately,  no Alaskan children are vaccinated yet because the vaccines are only now being tested for safety and effectiveness in children under 16.  It's suggested that most children could be fully vaccinated by the time that school starts in the Fall.
Covid is now seriously raging in many parts of the world and the US State Department has issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning for nearly 80% of all countries, citing “Unprecedented Risk to Travelers”.    Travel is restricted for most countries in Europe, as well as China, Brazil, South Africa, India, and other nations.  CDC says that fully vaccinated Americans can travel in the US at relatively low risk but does discourage such travel because of the very high current infection rates nationwide.
Roughly 1 person in 1,000,000 receiving the Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine develop very rare but potentially serious blood clotting.  American’s are twice as likely to be killed by lightning strikes.  On the other hand, the odds of getting very ill or dying from Covid are far higher by several orders of magnitude.  The odds definitely favor getting vaccinated as promptly as possible

Joe Kashi
DG 2020-2021