Covid-19 Information

Revised 5/10/2024

Summary

Covid is still circulating in NYC.  The good news is that there has been a steady drop in hospitalizations, and wastewater levels of the virus are at their lowest point since the summer of 2023.  There are new variants, and NYC is seeing more cases of KP.2, one of the “FLiRT” group of variants.  The thought (the hope) is that these variants, with new mutations on the spike protein, will only lead to a small rise in the number of infections (called a “wavelet”) rather than a large wave.

A reminder: all higher risk individuals, including people age 65+ and immunocompromised individuals, are eligible to get a second monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccination (Fall 2023 version) this Spring.  If you are going to get a booster, you should do so before the end of June.  A newly formulated booster will be available this Fall.

The protein-based “Novavax” vaccine seems to have the lowest incidence of side effects.


Booster Vaccination

In September 2023, a new Covid vaccine was released.  This vaccine booster targets the Omicron XBB strain.  The booster has been shown to protect you from getting Covid, if you are exposed, for only 6 to 8 weeks post-injection.  However, the booster has also been shown to decrease the severity of any Covid infection you do get (and do this for up to 6 months).  Finally, the booster will likely decrease your chance of getting long-Covid.  If you had a Covid infection this fall, you are only protected for 2 to 3 months from getting infected again.  You can safely get the new booster as soon as 2 months after a Covid infection.

Here are 2 articles, by epidemiologist Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, about the Covid booster:

  1. Notes from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice:  CLICK HERE
    Summary:
    “Everyone over 6 months is eligible for an updated Covid-19 vaccine this fall.  I strongly agree, as the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks across all age groups.”
  2. Information on the Novavax vaccine, which is made with traditional vaccine technology, and likely has a lower chance of giving you side effects, as compared to the mRNA vaccines.  Article includes updated Fall 2023 Vaccine ChartCLICK HERE

Where to Get a Covid Booster Vaccine

  1. BioNTech/Pfizer  (mRNA)
  2. Moderna  (mRNA)
  3. Novavax  (traditional)
  • The Novavax Covid vaccine only contains protein (similar to flu or other vaccines). 
    As a result, it has must fewer side effects as compared to the mRNA vaccines. 
    In NYC, only RiteAid has the Novavax vaccine.
     
  • For general information, see the NYC.gov vaccine page 

Information for Patients, Prior to Your Appointment

The use of face masks in our office and medical office building is optional, unless you are recovering from Covid*.  However, let us know if you want me and my staff to wear a face mask.  We will gladly do so.  We will provide you with a paper mask, if you need one.
Masks with an exhalation valve should not be used, as they do not protect others from Covid-19. 

We are still screening all patients for Covid-19. 
Prior to your visit to our office, please answer these questions:

  1. Have you tested positive for Covid in the last week?
  2. Has anyone in your household (or any person who you have been in close contact with) tested positive for Covid or developed symptoms of Covid in the last week?
  3. Do you have a fever?  If you are not sure, take your temperature with a thermometer before you leave for your appointment.  You have a fever if your temperature is higher than 99.5 F.
  4. Do you have any symptoms of Covid: headache, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, persistent cough, fever, chills, loss of sense of taste or smell? 

If the answers are all "no" you do not need to inform us.
If the answer to ANY question is “yes” then you should contact us.

* If you are 6-10 days after the onset of Covid symptoms, and if you wish to come for your appointment:

  1. You must be asymptomatic.
  2. You must have tested negative (with an at-home Covid test).
  3. You must wear a well-fitting N95 or KN95 mask at all times when you are in our office. 

Information on Home (Rapid, Antigen) Tests for Covid:

  • If you do NOT have Covid symptoms, but want to be sure you are not carrying the virus after an exposure:
    • Two home tests, 48 hours apart, detect ONLY 63 percent of infections.
    • Three home tests, each 48 hours apart (i.e, over 5 days), detect 79 percent of infections.
    • That’s better, but still not so great. If you want to be sure that you are negative, you’ll need to get a lab (PCR) test.
  • If you have Covid symptoms, two home tests, 48 hours apart, detect 93 percent of infections.

Reference:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35982680/ (August 6, 2022; not yet peer reviewed)


Covid-19 in NYC

You can read a summary of information on all aspects of Covid from the NYC Department of Health:  CLICK HERE.

“Masks are still effective tools to reduce the risk of spreading or being exposed to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Masks protect you and others by reducing the amount of droplets that enter the air when someone coughs, sneezes, talks, sings or breathes.”


Test Postive for Covid-19?  Isolation Information

The CDC has issued guidelines on how to isolate if you test positive for Covid:  CLICK HERE.