December 8, 2021, marks the 2nd anniversary of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. After years of living with lockdowns and social distancing, we accept that life with COVID-19 may go on longer than we do. Now nearing the end of the year 2023, we are still dealing with the impact of the deadly virus and its variants.
COVID-19 has impacted our economy and daily lives, especially our interactions with others. We’ve gone from handshakes and greetings to mouse clicks and screen time in hopes of protecting ourselves and the people we love from catching this airborne virus. One thing that has become apparent is we need to stay trim and live a healthy life or be in danger of dying.
As of June 2023, the COVID-19 pathogen has killed more than 6.9 million people across 212 countries. – Worldometer
The question remains: will the deadly germ totally disappear, will it turn into an endemic, or will we face another shut-down? We can help ourselves and others by vaccinating, taking antiviral Covid pills, spacing out, covering up with masks, cleaning, and testing.
Coronavirus Natural Disaster
When the Coronavirus outbreak hit, most people brushed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. What started in Wuhan, China, seemed like it would eventually go away on its own. The harmful virus spread from person to person, town to town, and country to country.
A recent study found that young adults (ages 25 to 44) are likelier to die of heart attacks post-COVID. [Feb 9, 2023 – Today]
We found hope in the rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, which helped bring our lives to somewhat “normal.” However, the infectious disease mutates quickly as it confronts our stronger immunity and new vaccines.
As we are entering the fourth year of living with COVID, here are the key milestones:
- December 2019 – The first case of ‘severe acute respiratory’ syndrome was detected in humans in Wuhan, China.
- January 2020 – The first death was reported as clusters of SARS-CoV-2 were discovered, and Wuhan, China, was locked down.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 4, 2020
- February 2020 – The first Coronavirus death was reported outside of China. Passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise in Japan were quarantined.
- March 2020 – COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by WHO (World Health Organization). Mexico Bariatric Center® halted its surgical operations in Tijuana, Mexico.
- April 2020 – COVID cases pass a million globally. Over 10 Million Americans applied for unemployment. Mexico Bariatric Center® restarted its surgical operations in Tijuana, Mexico.
- May 2020 – COVID crisis drags on World Tourism as well as the Medical Tourism sector. FDA issued emergency approval for Remdesivir to be used as Coronavirus treatment.
- June 2020 – COVID global cases exceeded 10 million, with the highest number of cases in a single day (136,000).
- July 2020 – Moderna starts its vaccine trial on humans – results showed antibody response without serious side effects.
- August 2020 – African continent cases pass 1 million as global cases pass 20 million.
- September 2020 – The world reaches one million deaths, with the U.S. reporting 200,000 people died.
- October 2020 – Half of the world’s workforce is in danger of losing their jobs.
- November 2020 – Pfizer announced the 90% efficacy of its vaccine created with BioNTech.
- December 2020 – The first human receives a COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for emergency use.
- January 2021 – The world passes 10o million cases and 2 million dead. WHO documented the Gamma variant first found in Brazil.
- February 2021 – First year anniversary of African COVID cases. G7 nations donated an additional $4.3 billion to help access tests, vaccines, and treatments.
- May 2021 – Delta variant gets detected in India for the first time. Children 12-15 can get vaccinated.
- June 2021 – California reopens, lifting mask mandate and social distancing.
- July 2021 – The Trump administration pulls out of the WHO organization.
- August 2021 – Global COVID-19 cases top 200 million.
- September 2021 – First booster shots for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson were dispensed.
- October 2021 – CDC expanded booster eligibility.
- November 2021 – A new highly contagious virus strain, the Omicron variant, was found in South Africa.
- December 2021 – COVID-19 is surging (4th wave) again and not going away.
- January 2022- President Biden reveals a strategy to dispatch an extra 500 million swift at-home kits to the American populace.
- March 2022- According to CDC estimates, the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant now constitutes approximately 25% of new COVID cases in the United States.
- August 2022- The CDC drops quarantine and social distancing recommendations for COVID-19.
- September 2022- President Biden declares COVID-19 pandemic over
- December 2022- The CDC reports a new strain of omicron taking over in the U.S.
- June 2023- XBB.1.5, XBB, and XBB.1.16 variants dominating in Nebraska
How COVID-19 Affected Mexico Bariatric Center
In the medical tourism industry, Mexico Bariatric Center® was the pioneer in reopening during the pandemic. Our infrastructure remained intact, although we had to adapt to the new world just as other companies did. Many patient coordinators and support staff work from home at our headquarters in California. It is not easy, but we have grown stronger and improved many of our patient processes through the trials we faced.
Our safety of patients is more critical than ever. MBC implemented countless precautionary measures to offer a greater value for the same affordable price. We continued to perform surgery every day and changed the lives of thousands since the pandemic hit two years back. We also provide live webinars online every month for patients who want to learn about us and ask questions about our #1 bariatric surgeons.
The Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered peoples’ lives, workplace culture, and relationships over the past two years. In early 2020, the entire world was enrolled in a social experiment. We were forced to change our behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19 completely. We have been experiencing massive cultural changes; we all have to cope with the implications, whether we like it or not.
How the pandemic has changed people’s lifestyles:
- People are going to the gym more than before the pandemic
- People want more health care at home (video or phone appointments)
- More people are taking care of their own mental health
- More takeout orders over indoor dining
- Going back to the grocery store
- More people going hungry
FeedingAmerica.org reported that in 2021, approximately 53 million individuals depended on food banks, an increase from the pre-pandemic figure of 40 million. This rise in food bank reliance has raised concerns among major food-relief organizations about the ongoing expansion of food insecurity.
The modified post-pandemic way of life has become the “new normal.” We cannot undo the past, return to work, and throw away our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Whether COVID-19 has offered us more freedom or isolation, it’s hard to get back to how it was pre-pandemic. People have realized more essential things in life these past few years than employment.
Workers figured out that they could survive with gig jobs and government handouts. With over 75,000 people dying from the lethal virus, it’s hard to ignore the uncertainty we still face every day we wake up. COVID-19 has given us a wake-up call in appreciating our health – an understanding of how life can end in the blink of an eye.
COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health
Fear of the Unknown and real-life threats create mental health disorders, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Worries and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming for some, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Social distancing, lockdowns, and mask mandates can make this even more difficult psychologically for people with mental illness. Suicidal thoughts/feelings, severe distress, high-stress levels, severe depression, and high anxiety levels are all symptoms that people can experience.
Irrational fear of catching an invisible disease is called Nosophobia!
Here are some suggestions to help ease the tension in coping during this pandemic.
- Ease your fears with facts
- Be kind to yourself and others
- Stay connected
- Concentrate on the positives
- Focus on what you can control
Will the pandemic turn to endemic?
We all have the same question, “when will COVID-19 end?” Many experts in the science community expect COVID-19 to shift its focus over time. The virus will target groups with similar characteristics and demographics rather than going after the entire population.
COVID-19 began as an epidemic. An epidemic actively spreads disease in highly-concentrated locations where new cases substantially exceed expected. Unlike the Ebola virus, SARS-CoV-2 spread globally rapidly, transitioning to the pandemic we currently face today. A pandemic is a globally distributed disease that influences multiple continents. Controlling the spread and improving vaccine rates could shift from a pandemic to an endemic. An endemic affects a specific subset of people, targeting those in distinct regions, demographics, or health profiles.
An endemic is a disease only pertaining to one place or region. For COVID-19 to become endemic, fast immunizations are essential in causing the virus to become extinct in highly-vaccinated areas. Learn More
“The world is unprepared for the next large pandemics,” researchers say. However, scientists are using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to create proteins to fight diseases.
Vaccinations Save Lives
With the continuing rollouts of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, booster shots have become more vital with the emerging strain of Delta and Omicron. Vaccines have been shown to reduce the rate of hospitalization and death.
Children’s rate of infections has increased slightly since the outbreak, but it remains lower than adults. Although variants can affect how the virus spreads among children, COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to reduce the risk of infection and decrease the transmission rate.
“Over 50% of the global population has had at least one shot of vaccination – as of Dec 2021.”
Moderna exec says the company could have the Omicron booster ready in March.
Pandemic Economics (Economy of Fear)
With the holiday season upon us, cold weather and warm gatherings create perfect conditions for the Coronavirus to spread quickly and mutate faster as it transmits from one person to the next. Testing for the strain has become a normality for some as we can do it ourselves. As a result, experts predict that this holiday season could make it difficult for some to obtain COVID-19 at-home test kits.
Broken supply chains, natural disasters, and remote working will be a suitable breeding ground for hackers attacks. Cyberdemic to continue in 2022.
As a consequence of Covid-19, government stimulus, money printing, and supply chain disruptions, inflation has risen to its highest annual rate since June 1982. The inflation rate has exceeded the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% month-over-month since February 2021.
The Consumer Products Index, or CPI, for all items increased to a record 6.8% since December 2020.
The Post-COVID economic recovery has been a bumpy one: labor shortages and interruptions in the distribution channels have all caused high prices of gas, grocery, and nearly anything consumers need to purchase. The U.S. government is taking action to smooth out the financial recovery and ensure growth.
Overlapping Two Pandemics: COVID-19 and Obesity
Obesity has already become a devastating disease worldwide before the invasion of COVID-19. Adults suffering from obesity are more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can lead to severe complications from COVID-19. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk of developing severe chronic diseases. Obesity is also linked to impaired immune function and respiratory problems, making breathing more difficult.
“More than 900,000 adult COVID-19 hospitalizations occurred in the United States between the beginning of the pandemic and November 18, 2020. Models estimate that 271,800 (30.2%) of these hospitalizations were attributed to obesity.” – Center for Disease Control
Medical tourism (weight loss surgery)
Border restrictions have been lifted for fully vaccinated individuals. Canadian and Mexican travelers are now able to enter the United States. US citizens and legal permanent residents are not required to show proof of vaccination. Travelers are still carrying current passports and other documents needed. Be aware that COVID-19 tests are NOT REQUIRED for land travel between the USA and Mexico.
Bariatric surgery during COVID-19. More necessary than you think.
Extra weight has been known to cause health problems, and it has become apparent that it increases COVID-19 complications. An obese individual may already have health conditions such as chronic, low-grade inflammation and hypoventilation. These conditions increase the risk of severe COVID-related difficulties, leading to acute respiratory failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Diets and exercise don’t produce long-term success because hormones play a critical role in weight loss. Bariatric surgery is essential to treat Obesity and help individuals find their way to better health.
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- Pfizer says pandemic could extend through 2023 into 2024, studies three-dose vaccine course for children