CDC Says Monkeypox Is Unlikely To Be Eradicated Anytime Soon

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic transmission of the monkeypox virus is unlikely to be eliminated anytime soon.

The CDC said the virus’s spread has slowed but is likely to continue for years. In August, daily infections peaked at more than 400 cases a day. Now the agency reports fewer than 150 cases a day.

The decline in cases is due to vaccines becoming more accessible and the public becoming more knowledgeable about how to avoid infection. Immunity has also likely increased within the most impacted group, which is men who have sex with other men.

The disease is spread between people during close contact, most commonly through sex. Monkeypox is usually not fatal, but it causes those infected to get painful blisters all over their body. At least two people have died from the disease.

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Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health officials, told CNN that people with compromised immune systems should be most cautious.

“These few deaths – whether or not they’re fully attributable to monkeypox or people died with monkeypox – they likely wouldn’t have died if they didn’t have some of these underlying conditions or their bodies weren’t already compromised.”

We currently have the most monkeypox cases worldwide, with more than 24,000 cases reported across 50 states. The Biden administration declared a public health emergency earlier this August when cases were highest. The declaration helped allocate more resources to testing, vaccinations, treatment and community outreach to stop the spread of the virus within the U.S.

The Jynneos monkeypox vaccine has been administered to more than 684,000 people. The CDC believes the virus will continue to spread mainly among men who have sex with other men, but anyone can catch the virus through close contact with someone infected. So far, 29 children and 408 women have also caught the virus.

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Within the reported cases, 75% of patients reported having male-to-male contact, but that number has decreased over time. The CDC says the decline may be due to missing data rather than a change in the transmission pattern of the virus. However, more than 90% of infections are still among males.

The outbreak could start spreading among the U.S. population through other forms of contact, but no country with infected populations has found a significant spread outside men who have sex with other men.

Marc Lipsitch, director of science in the CDC disease forecasting center, told The Associated Press that the disease is still a continuing threat.

“It’s in many geographic locations within the country. There’s no clear path in our mind to complete elimination domestically.”

The virus is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa and was mainly transmitted through contact with infected animals until May. If the U.S. animal population gets infected, it could also spread quickly among people in the future. The CDC is still learning which species of animals can get monkeypox.

The agency cannot predict the number of people who may get infected with the virus. However, it believes the number of cases will continue to decline over the next several months.

African American Friends Wearing Masks

CDC Report Claims Systemic Racism Has Made Covid-19 Deadlier For Black Americans

According to an internal agency report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black Americans are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus due to issues of fundamental racism.

Woman Wearing Protective Face Mask

CDC Sets New General Guidelines For Covid-19 Protection 

The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for navigating the Covid-19 pandemic as a means of updating and further emphasizing the importance of wearing a mask. The CDC made it clear in their guidelines that wearing a face mask doesn’t just protect you from the coronavirus, but everyone around you as well. 

“Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”

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Out of all of the policies that America has enacted right now as a means of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus, facial coverings and mask wearing is the number one way to prevent the spread of this disease when in a public setting. There have been multiple case studies that suggest the US can get their coronavirus numbers way down in a matter of weeks if every person wore a mask at all times when in public and only left their house for essential errands. 

“The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer,” the CDC continued in their statement, explaining that “the relationship between source control and personal protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”

Basically, the combination of you personally choosing to wear a mask every day when out in public and the general understanding that everyone else will do the same, will lead to a major decrease in new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. It isn’t even an argument, as we’ve seen from a slew of other countries who had strict mask mandates that it truly does work in getting the numbers down. 

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“Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns,” the CDC continued; for reference 150 microns is roughly the width of a single strand of human hair. 

The agency continued to discuss how masks have various degrees of effectiveness based on the type of mask it is. “Multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron,” they said. 

The CDC went on to discuss how if you’re looking to order masks online, see if you can find ones made up of materials like polypropylene, which works as a binding tool for cloth particles that will further improve the effectiveness of how well your mask filters out air. Silk masks are a prime example of this, as the material works to “repel moist droplets and reduce fabric wetting to maintain breathability and comfort.”

Cloth masks in general are extremely protective in terms of blocking large droplets and the exhalation of finer droplets. Most cloth masks can block up  to 70% of all fine droplets, and according to the CDC in some studies they’ve performed on par with surgical masks.

Hand Sanitizer

How Effective Is Hand Sanitizer?

Coronavirus and flu-season in general has the world in a state of panic. Constant news updates and an over-saturation of illness related social media content is creating a lot of unnecessary worry, and the spreading of a lot of misinformation. As further developments continue to be made public, there is one fact that’s remained completely true; washing your hands and disinfecting commonly used surfaces is still the number one way to prevent the spreading of a virus/bacteria. However, many are also turning to hand sanitizer when out in public settings. Hand sanitization products aren’t as effective as actual hand-washing, but there’s still multiple benefits for those of us constantly on-the-go who find ourselves in multiple public settings throughout a given day. So what are the exact benefits of hand sanitizer and why isn’t it just as effective as hand-washing? 

The most commonly known fact about hand sanitizer is that its key ingredient is alcohol; specifically propanol and isopropanol are the kinds of alcohols found in disinfectants. Alcohol is known for its ability to kill disease-causing agents on surfaces known as pathogens. Pathogens typically carry things like the common-cold or flu, and when exposed to alcohol, they break down into smaller proteins that aren’t harmful. 

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According to a study published in the journal of Clinical Microbiology Reviews, solutions with as little as 30% alcohol in them can kill certain pathogens. However, most hand sanitizer’s or disinfectants are made up of at least 60% alcohol, as it’s been proven that this percentage of certain propanol can kill a wider variety of bacteria and viruses. Hand sanitizer is also so effective because the bacteria that it targets can’t develop an immunity to it, so once it’s broken down, it will stay that way. 

“But alcohol doesn’t work for all germs, such as norovirus. Hand sanitizers also don’t remove harmful chemicals like pesticides or heavy metals, nor does hand sanitizer work well on especially dirty or greasy hands. So, soap and water still win the contest overall. There are a few small-scale studies demonstrating that an alcohol-free hand sanitizer containing benzalkonium chloride is just as effective and even more effective than alcohol at getting rid of bacteria. However, hand sanitizer without alcohol may not kill as many germs and may only reduce the growth of germs rather than killing them outright,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says

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Research on hand sanitizer has also shown that it’s a “shelf-stable” chemical, meaning as long as it’s kept in a sealed container at room temperature, it won’t expire for a very long time. The FDA requires all of it’s regulated products to have an expiration date on it’s packaging, but that doesn’t mean that your hand sanitizer will just stop working once you reach that date, in fact, it will likely keep working effectively until you finish the bottle, assuming you use it frequently. 

A common misconception about hand sanitizer is that it contains toxic qualities due to the high alcohol percentage, as well as its extensive ingredient list that the common individual likely won’t understand. According to the Hazardous Substances Database, however, all the alcohols that are put into hand sanitizer’s are considered to be completely safe when applied to the skin, and shouldn’t cause any sort of toxic reaction. 

Alcohol in general when applied topically does have some dehydrating qualities to it, hence why some of us are more susceptible to breakouts of dry skin and irritation on our hands after using hand sanitizer. After some regular use, your skin should begin to develop a sort of “immune response” to the sanitizer, in the sense that it won’t be as sensitive to its drying qualities.  

While hand sanitizer may be an efficient way at preventing the spread of certain bacteria’s and viruses, it’s not 100% effective. The CDC still recommends hand-washing as the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. When it comes to the coronavirus especially, don’t reach for the tubs of hand sanitizer next time you’re shopping, and instead pick up a refillable hand soap container and one of the larger bottles of liquid soap. While hand sanitizer may be easier, your body will thank you in the long run for remembering to keep up with good hygiene.