How effective is double-masking against COVID-19? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Masks work because they reduce the transmission of virus filled aerosol droplets from infected person to an uninfected person. Question: Does double masking really help reduce the transmission of Covid infection? Answer: Absolutely yes. For nearly 6 months, I have been double masking when I see my Covid positive patients at the hospital or at the monoclonal antibody infusion center. The general public will also benefit from double masking. Masks work because they reduce the transmission of virus filled aerosol droplets from infected person to an uninfected person. The best protection is provided when both persons are masking and each has a double mask or tightly fitting masks. Are cloth masks good?Cloth masks are better than no masks, but surgical masks are better than cloth masks and N-95 are the best in reducing infection. For the general public surgical masks are sufficient, while healthcare workers need N95 masks. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting the...

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What to know about the new variant coronavirus strain | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

What to know about the new variant coronavirus strain | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Question: Do we have the new mutant variant strain in Memphis?Answer: Yes. Over the past months, our local laboratories have been randomly looking at the genetic code of the COVID-19 viruses, a process called sequencing. Over 450 COVID-19 viruses have been sequenced at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Laboratory under Dr. Colleen Jonsson.Last week a variant strain has been found where the mutations are identical to the United Kingdom variant, B117 strain. Now, the state health department is reviewing the data and confirming the findings. Does one sample mutant strain mean that is all we have?No. In fact, we likely have hundreds of this mutant strain in our city. It was only because we were doing surveillance randomly that we picked up on this mutant case, that is why we need to test more for the mutant strains.  What does the new mutant variant strain in Memphis mean to me?This virus strain is 50% more transmissible. That means 10 people may not be spreading the...

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What side effects should I expect after taking COVID-19 Vaccine? | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Vaccine side effects can be lumped into three major categories: Mild such as body ache and soreness in the arm, moderate such as headache  and severe that may cause shortness of breath. "Memphis healthcare professionals overcome difficulties during COVID-19 pandemic" Question: I am planning to get the vaccine, what side effects should I expect? Answer: Good to hear you plan to be vaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from getting the coronavirus infection. At present two vaccines, Pfizer and the Moderna,  are available and they both require two doses. Data on other vaccines will be available soon.  Vaccine side effects can be lumped into three major categories: Mild such as body ache and soreness in the arm, moderate such as headache  and severe that may cause shortness of breath.  Fortunately moderate and severe side effects are very rare. There is no evidence of Bell’s palsy or Guillain-Barre syndrome after the vaccine, most...

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The choice is clear: get the COVID-19 vaccine or the virus | Opinion – Commercial Appeal

Though there are questions raised regarding the vaccines' safety and efficiency, it still remains the best defenses in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccine expert anticipates vaccine distribution to improve, despite rough start. Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Paul Erwin, anticipates vaccine distribution will continue to improve. My nurse refused to get the vaccine. She is young, healthy, smart but skeptical. “I want to wait,” she said to me. “Why?” I inquired. We have an infectious disease practice and over half of our patients are COVID-19 positive. “I want to see what happens as others get the vaccine,” she says. My nurse is not alone. 27% of all Americans and 29% of healthcare workers say they would probably or definitely not get the vaccine according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey in December 2020. My initial efforts to persuade her are not successful, so I delve into the original vaccine study data to see if I can find...

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How does our immune system work to fight COVID-19? A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Our battle against the virus is both an individual and collective effort: our individual immune systems and our public health system. Question: How does our immune system work to fight COVID-19? Answer: Our immune system is our greatest and best defence against the virus. The reason COVID-19 is causing so much infection is because it is a novel virus and our  immune system has not seen this virus ever before. Hence, nearly everyone is susceptible to COVID-19 infection. So, either we will become infected with the virus or be protected by a vaccine from the infection. When our body is infected with the virus or when we are inoculated with the vaccine,  our  immune system works to protect us using B cell and T cells. B cells build antibodies against the proteins for the virus and T cells search and destroy virus particles. At present we can measure antibody level in persons to see if the individual has had the COVID-19 infection in the past and are protected. Studies show that immune...

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Why is there so much confusion over the vaccination at the federal, state and local level? | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

This week Dr. Jain tackles your questions regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and how Shelby County plans to give it out. Question: Why is there so much confusion over the vaccination at the federal, state and local level? Answer: The covid vaccine effort has many moving parts and moving targets. They range from vaccine availability to human behavior of vaccine acceptability, not to mention the distribution, storage and urgency to vaccine.  What are the moving parts and moving targets? The availability of vaccines to states has been increasing and decreasing as much as 40% at varying times, making it difficult for states and local officials to adequately plan vaccination scheduling. The vaccine distribution, due to storage requirement only allows certain providers such as hospitals to give out certain vaccines. Acceptance among health workers and front line workers varies at each hospital and at neighboring counties hence they may be vaccinating a different...

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How many patients will die in Shelby County from COVID-19? | A Q&A with Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

These high numbers of cases are translating to an increasing number of deaths. I along with Dr. Fridtj of Thomas did a rough calculation of the projected deaths in Shelby County for the next two months. As of Dec. 18 over 800 people in Shelby County have died of COVID-19. This number may more than double if we do not take urgent public health action. Question: How can we predict the number of deaths? Answer: First, it is important to recognize Tennessee is experiencing an unprecedented number of daily cases of COVID-19, highest in the United States and in the world. While cases in Shelby county are rising, we are doing much better than our neighboring counties. We rank 89 among the 95 counties for the highest number of cases per hundred thousand population on the Covidactnow.org website. These high numbers of cases are translating to an increasing number of deaths. I along with Dr. Fridtjof Thomas, a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC, did a rough calculation...

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Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Dr. Jain answers your questions regarding the recently distributed COVID-19 vaccines. Question: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Answer: As the vaccine becomes available to our healthcare workers and first responders—I got my shot on Friday—many in the general population are wondering if they should get the vaccine in the coming months? Each person has to evaluate the benefits and the drawbacks of taking the vaccine for themselves and their family members. One way to evaluate the vaccine is to think about it in two categories: safety and efficacy. Then to ask what are the pros and cons of each. Is the vaccine safe?Pros: Yes, the two vaccines available have been tested in over 35,000 people, and no serious side effects noted. The vaccine does cause injection site pain, fatigue, headache, and joint pain, all of which are mild and temporary. Cons: We do not know of the long term safety profile of the vaccine, that will take time to gather the data. However, experience tells us that...

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What do I need to do if I’m COVID-19 positive? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Q: What do I need to do if I am COVID-19 Positive? Answer: One in 22 Americans have become positive for COVID-19. Each day in Shelby County, about 450 people receive news that their COVID-19 test is positive. It is important to know how you can help yourself and others be safe, even when you or a loved one is infected with the coronavirus. To protect others you need to be in isolation. Isolation is a legal action which is described in the Tennessee State Law where the health department or your personal doctor has the authority to place restrictions on you for public safety. What does isolation mean?When you are in isolation, you are restricted from leaving your home, or receiving visitors to your home. You are to avoid contact with others, including family even in the home by wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of 6 feet separation. You need to monitor for fever, a temperature over 100.4, cough or shortness of breath. If you have any such symptoms you need to call your doctor...

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