Dr. Jerome Adams: Monkeypox health emergency; Paxlovid; COVID-19 surge

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Monkeypox was one topic Thursday of Dr. Jerome Adams, the WISH-TV medical expert and a former U.S. surgeon general, on News 8 at 5 p.m.

What is monkeypox?

The White House announced that the government is declaring monkeypox a public health emergency.

“Well, we currently have public health emergencies for the opioid epidemic and for COVID-19, and now we have one for monkeypox, and it means four things very quickly. No. 1, it means that we have additional awareness of the fact that this is something that is a national concern. The WHO (World Health Organization) actually declared it a public health emergency of international concern a week ago. We have additional authorities meaning we can compel states and health care centers to report data into the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in a more timely manner so you can track the disease. The additional funding that has freed up through these authorities, the Biden administration can now move funding around and actually respond to monkeypox without Congress appropriating funds, and you have additional flexibility. You can reassign staff to different places more easily and you can alter dosing .You heard FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) Commissioner Bob Taylor say today that they’re considering using one vial for five people and currently you can only use it for one person. Those additional authorities through the emergency allow you to do things without going through the full FDA approval process.”

Will monkeypox lead us back to mask mandates, social distancing?

Adams discussed if he thinks monkeypox will lead us back to similar restrictions when COVID-19 began.

“It’s important for our viewers to understand that monkeypox is a very different type of disease than COVID in terms of the way it’s primarily spread. I absolutely do not expect to see any public restrictions. What folks may see is outbreaks, particularly a school, start up again. You are going to see some cases even though it’s mainly in the community of men who have sex with men right now. It’s spread by close personal contact. We’re seeing more cases in women and in kids. You’re going to see cases particularly if people start to gather more closely together in school environments and in sports, and it may cause some games to be canceled while we isolate and track down where exactly the source was, and make sure we’ve got folks appropriately treated, but I don’t think we’re going to see communitywide, statewide, or nationwide, restrictions the way we did with COVID.”

Possibility of another surge of COVID-19

“We’re in the midst of another surge and it’s important for people to understand COVID has not gone away. I’m hearing of more people than ever getting COVID, but many people have protection from vaccinations, from boosting, prior infection, or a combination of all of them, so you’re not seeing as many people going to the hospital. What scares us as health professionals is that the virus has a way of finding the vulnerable and we’re starting to see hospitalizations tick up again. This is why it’s important that if you’re eligible for a booster that you get your booster and that you’re up to date on your vaccines. Particularly for college kids that are going back to school in the fall, if you want to minimize your chances of having a disruption to your school year, then make sure you’re up to date on your vaccines.”

What to know about Paxlovid, rebound COVID cases

Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment, “Paxlovid is an oral antiviral that you can take if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID. It lowers your chances of being hospitalized and or dying by 80% to 89%. If you get diagnosed with COVID, I encourage you to talk to your doctor and ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for Paxlovid. About 6% of people, according to a study of over 92 million people who have taken it, you can have rebound. ‘Rebound’ means that you take the medication, you feel better, you test negative, and then, within another two or three days, you test positive again. That’s not reinfection. That’s because the medication is working so well at suppressing the virus in those initial five days that you test negative and then you stop taking the medication and the virus starts replicating again. There are studies ongoing as to whether or not people should be take taking it for up to 10 days to really eliminate the virus.”