College of
Human
Medicine

Dean's Update | April 2, 2021

Friends,

The COVID-19 outbreak around us is real, and the surge is big enough and bad enough that I am not going to write about anything else today. 

Local hospitals and emergency rooms are filling up. This time around, the patients are younger compared with the October 2020 - February 2021 surge, but the rate of increase in cases and the test positivity rate (17% in Ingham County) is very much as bad as before.

With the oldest people already vaccinated, the people most at risk and being hospitalized are younger. We can hope that this younger population will better survive the virus than older people, but with hospitalizations increasing rapidly, and some hospitals seeing an increase in ICU admissions, we should be worried about “impending doom.

If you are a clinician, please consider arranging outpatient monoclonal antibodies for your high risk COVID-19 patients (BMI>35, DM, immunocompromised, etc.) to possibly reduce the rate of hospitalization. You can find out where these therapies are available here. Monoclonal antibodies are not a cure for COVID-19.

This surge is complicated by local increases in the B.1.1.7 variant that swept the UK earlier in the year. Michigan is one of the states with the largest number of cases due to the B.1.1.7 variant, which will be the dominant version of the virus in our communities by the time you read this update. Worse, articles in Nature and the BMJ in the last fortnight strongly suggest that the B.1.1.7 variant is significantly more deadly than the prior variants in our community

Fortunately, the vaccines are very, very good. And, there is every reason to believe the available vaccines are protective against the variants in our communities including B.1.1.7.

Please. Get. Vaccinated.

The vaccines are incredibly safe, and you can sign up for a vaccine. Our health partners are beginning to vaccinate everyone over age 16 and there is more and more vaccine available. The only people who will die of COVID-19 are those who are not vaccinated.

Wear your mask, wash your hands, spatially distance, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, get vaccinated.

Serving the people with you,

Aron

Aron Sousa, MD FACP
Professor of Medicine
Interim Dean