Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Getting It Right.

You all have probably heard of the virus outbreak in Provincetown over the Fourth of July, well it is under control while other outbreaks are running rampant around the country. P’town got it right and not only did they get it right but they did it in such a way that the CDC used the information on the virus to change their procedures.

The key is in the word “virus” and the gay community knows how to handle a virus.
I Was Part of the July Fourth Provincetown “Breakthrough” COVID Cluster. It’s Been a Sobering Experience.
My “hot vax summer” has cooled into a season of confusion and dread.
By Joel Rozen
August 2, 2021

Last Thursday, an internal slide presentation leaked from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the delta variant of the coronavirus is even more contagious than previously thought—more communicable than Ebola and the common cold, as spreadable as the chickenpox. While vaccines appear to remain strong against the virus, new evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections may be every bit as infectious as those yet to receive their shots, even if their own cases remain relatively mild. According to a report the agency released on Friday, the CDC’s latest findings were based on a July 4 COVID-19 outbreak in queer mecca Provincetown, Massachusetts, where among a cluster of 469 (with no deaths) at the time of study, an astonishing three-quarters of the infected had been fully vaccinated. As of July 31, the P-Town outbreak had ballooned to 965 cases.

I was one of them.
He goes on to write about the symptoms that he had and how a “Contact Tracer” contacted him.
...it had also offered us gay men a glimpse of an important facet of our history, exemplified most powerfully in the legendary self-advocacy of ACT UP: playing armchair scientist when institutional and social knowledge isn’t there for us, when it breaks down.

Forty years almost to the day after the New York Times first reported on the “rare cancer seen in 41 homosexuals,” here we were again, confused and angry participants in a public health emergency. Many of us began sounding the alarm just after the July Fourth holiday, and by midmonth the Massachusetts Department of Public Health had started collaborating with the CDC to track the new cluster. Around that same time, the CDC began asking for Provincetown positives to come forward with their stories. “I can’t believe we were joking about the ‘Fagbash variant’ a few weeks ago and now we are literally the case study for the variant,” a friend texted me in response to the CDC’s sudden interest, referencing a popular P-Town party. Those of us who reached out, I like to think, pushed our collective understanding of delta a step forward with our reporting.

Indeed, Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center, said as much to the New York Times. “This is one of the most impressive examples of citizen science I have seen,” she said. “The people involved in the Provincetown outbreak were meticulous in making lists of their contacts and exposures.”
It was thanks to that knowledge of what to do when a virus spreads that enabled Provincetown to get the virus under control in less than four weeks… Mask Up! Get Vaccinated!

Massachusetts has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and when they first suspected a breakthrough outbreak Provincetown Select Board and town manager ordered masks be worn inside all buildings. In states like Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas the virus is spreading unchecked. Louisiana and Arkansas just imposed wearing of masks indoors after weeks of inaction but Florida’s governor DeSantis has actually banned cities from requiring masks.

In a commentary in Advocate…
Provincetown, Are You OK?
P-town became a COVID breakthrough hotspot, but Mayor Alex Morse says the gay mecca is getting its groove back.
By John Casey
August 2, 2021

As most of us know by now, the July 4th holiday in P-town really did turn out to be a truly dubious experience. Nearly 1,000 positive COVID-19 cases resulted from large bar and dance crowds of shirtless partying masses of men crammed next to each other.

I recall seeing Facebook and Instagram pictures of some friends who were among the revelers, and I specifically remember uttering out loud, “That looks dangerous.” Sure enough it was. Most of those who tested positive were vaccinated, and the anomaly of this outcome was enough for the CDC to update their mask guidance that now suggests that vaccinated people should wear masks indoors. The CDC found, based primarily on what happened in P-town, that vaccinated people can transmit the virus. But it also found a silver-lining.

P-town, a gay mecca for generations, was thrust into the spotlight. The emergence and virulent presence of the virus was about as welcome as a polo-clad lad at leather weekend, except it was much more ominous. To me, since it involved lots of gay men testing positive in a verifiable petri dish, it had echoes of the early days of the AIDS crisis, when gay men in San Francisco were becoming sick in alarming numbers.

Once again, gay men were at the heart of a virus, that we still do not know much about. I’ve talked to a number of experts during the past year about COVID-19. This is still a relatively new disease, like AIDS was, and were still discovering new nuances and variants each day. Because so many remain unvaccinated, experts are now predicting that the virus might mutate into a variant that will be resistant to the vaccine.
With imposing the mask mandate,
Morse explained that the positivity rates are coming way down from their highest levels. “We peaked on July 15 at 15.1 percent, and as of July 30, the rate has dropped to anywhere between 3-5 percent over the last few days. This past weekend we had rates under 5 percent for three consecutive days, which indicates we are making tremendous progress toward containment. If these rates continue, we will consider easing some of the mandates we instituted after July 4th that worked to ensure the safety of our community.”
Provincetown used scientific proven methods to curb the spread of diseases, they followed the healthcare experts recommendations to limit the spread of a virus, and the people cooperated with wearing masks and with the disease trackers. Massachusetts has a long history of fighting diseases by quarantine and vaccinations, back in 1721 had a debate over vaccination against smallpox and the vaxxers won through the use of scientific research proved that vaccinations worked.

According to the SF Gate the town manager and the Select Board wants people to know...
"The vaccines are working," he tweeted. "Of the 900 cases related to the Provincetown cluster, there have been no deaths, 7 hospitalizations, and the symptoms are largely mild. Our positivity peaked at 15% on 7/15 and was only 4.8% yesterday. The outbreak is contained and Provincetown is safe."

The Provincetown outbreak reinforces what is already known: Vaccinated individuals are at very low risk of severe disease from the delta variant. The CDC estimates that nationally, just 0.002% of vaccinated individuals have suffered severe breakthrough cases.
There is a common thread between the two virus and that is politics.

Back in the 1980s the Republican party politicized the virus, jump forward 40 years and once again the Republicans politicized a virus and it costs hundred of thousands of lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment