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Find a Free COVID Testing Site Near Me Editor's Pick

New service to help you find a free COVID test “near me”. Just put in your zip code and get a list of nearby locations that do COVID-19 testing – at no cost to you. Easy to use. CDC developed the website and calls it a testing locator service. New, January 2023.

How Much are Covid Cases and Vaccinations Changing by County? CDC Data Tracker

How much are Covid cases, hospitalizations, and vaccinations rising (or falling) in your state and county?  The CDC Data Tracker shows county level  “community level”, which reflects new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population over the most recent 7-day period. Each county is classified “high”,  “medium” or “low”. As of January 19, 2023, just 6% of counties in the US have a High Covid level. CDC advises increased precautions – even if fully vaccinated – in areas with High Covid levels. About 31% of counties are at Medium, and most counties (63%) are Low. Consumers can also track vaccination levels by state and by county. Find out the where booster rates are highest. Only 6% of counties have booster rates of 25% or more, of their adult population. Updated at least weekly by CDC. Consumer Health Ratings has switched to reporting COVID-19 Community Level instead of “community transmission” rates. “Community level” considers hospital admissions, rather than cases that are positive.

Vaccine Finder – Best, easiest way to find a Covid vaccine near me Editor's Pick

The Covid vaccine finder from vaccines.gov is the best, easiest way to find a vaccine site near me. Just put in your zip code, and choose which types of vaccine you want – Pfizer, Moderna, and/or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J).  Names and locations of pharmacies, hospitals and other providers will come up. The site tells you whether they have the vaccine in stock or not. CVS, Walgreens, your local pharmacy, and many other providers are included. First dose, second dose and boosters. Authorized by the CDC. This might be the best website government ever created. Editor’s Pick. Another choice is to text your Zip Code to 438829, but the 3 pharmacy sites they list for you might be out of stock. The website gives consumers much more information and lists more Covid vaccine sites. Another option is to call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

What’s your local risk of Covid and Flu, by Zip Code? Editor's Pick

Put in your zip code to see what the latest risk is for COVID and Flu. Site by Kinsa HealthWeather uses Johns Hopkins data and other modeling. Easy to use. Updated nightly.

CDC Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 Editor's Pick

CDC (Centers for Disease Control), our US health authority, provides valuable information on the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Find out what you should know to protect yourself, get situation updates, read information about travel and social gatherings. Read explanations of what the general public should be doing right now, based on updated  conditions in your local community. Find out about getting vaccinated, boosted and staying up to date. Other helpful measures: washing your hands, avoid touching your face, avoid indoor crowds, maintain a six-foot distance between people, when to wear a mask in public, cover your cough, clean and disinfect surfaces, and monitor your own health – making sure you don’t go out if you have any symptoms. CDC is also an authority for healthcare professionals. The virus that causes COVID-19 is  named SARS-CoV-2, for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. This new virus was formerly known as 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

CDC Covid Data Tracker – Variants and Other Trends

The CDC Covid Data Tracker estimates the “omicron” variant XBB1.5 is now the most prevalent in the US, overtaking BQ1.1. As of Dec. 31, 2022, Omicron (including its sub-variants) still comprise 100% of new cases. Newer XBB subvariants of Omicron are growing, as BQ subvariants lose ground. Omicron has been the “variant of concern” (VOC), pushing out the Delta variant, since April. According to the CDC, the Omicron variant causes more infections and spreads faster than Delta and earlier forms of the virus that cause COVID-19. Vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death, including against these variants. CDC’s state, county and community profiles regarding Covid trends can also be accessed from this website, through the “Data Tracker” section.

CDC COVID-19 Vaccines Administered: Percent Vaccinated

CDC reports the numbers and percent receiving Covid-19 vaccinations as of Jan. 12, 2023. CDC reports 69% of the total population have completed the primary series. So far, 229 million people have completed the primary series. The percent who have received the updated bivalent booster is about 16% for ages 5 and up; about 18% for the adult population ages 18 and up. Updated booster rate on age 65+ has risen to 39%.

Coronavirus Tracker for COVID-19 Cases: Johns Hopkins Map Editor's Pick

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracker maps confirmed COVID-19 cases across the globe. The dashboard shows number of cases and deaths from the coronavirus pandemic that started in late 2019. As of Jan. 5, 2023, 3:21pm, 663 million coronavirus COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Thursday’s cumulative confirmed cases in the US topped 101 million. For the week ending January 1, 2023 (post-Christmas), cases were 380,000 (preliminary), down 17% from the prior week. The last big wave of cases lasted 7 weeks from Christmas 2021. The highest US record during the pandemic was 5.6 million weekly cases in the US, January 16, 2022. The US had more than 1.7 million cases in the past 28 days, ranking #3 in the top 10 countries worldwide, behind Japan and South Korea. The US ranked first on deaths, with 11,630 deaths in that time period.

There have been 6.7 million COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide. The US reports the world’s highest death toll, 1,095,819 deaths as of Jan. 1, 2023. Since April of 2020, the US has led the world in number of deaths due to COVID-19. It exceeded 100,000 deaths on May 27, 2020; reached 200,000 deaths by Sept. 22, 300,000 on Dec. 14, 400,000 deaths on January 19, 2021, 500,000 on February 20, 600,000 on June 15, 700,000 on October 1, 2021, 800,000 on December 1, and 900,000 deaths on about Feb. 4. It reached the milestone million deaths in mid-May, 2022. Preliminary count of weekly deaths were 2,568, a decrease of 3% from the prior week. We should expect additional US deaths to occur as cases and hospitalizations continue, particularly from those unvaccinated. The world reached a death toll of 6 million on March 7, 2022, adding 1 million deaths in just over 4 months. Over 13 billion doses of vaccine reportedly have been administered worldwide.

The US is at 332 deaths per 100,000 population, with a case fatality rate of 1.1%. Brazil has the second largest number of reported deaths, with 327 deaths per 100,000, and a case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.9%. Mexico’s CFR is 4.6%, with 259 deaths per 100,000.  Coronavirus disease is named COVID-19. This tracking tool provides a quick snapshot of how the COVID-19 disease caused by Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (formerly called 2019-nCoV) is spreading.

FDA Updates on Coronavirus Disease COVID-19

The FDA, the federal Food and Drug Agency, provides updates on COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. The FDA regulates lab testing, drugs requiring approval, medical devices (like N95s and other personal protective equipment PPE) and vaccines. They post regular updates, sometimes multiple times per day. In addition, the FDA has listed a few of the likely many fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease.

How Risky is it to Attend a Group Event during Covid Spread?

Note: This tool was not operational on Jan. 5, 2023.

How risky is it to attend a group event (of any size) while COVID-19 is still around? This tool from Georgia Tech lets you check any county in the US. The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event. You can check any group size from as few as 10 people, to 10,000 people. You can adjust the default level of 50. The tool uses real-time COVID19 data from the COVID Tracking Project. A new option of finding out where vaccinations are lower, has been added to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool in 2022. New features, while helpful, may be slowing down the loading time.

Resources on Coronavirus for US Hospitals – AHA

Numerous resources about handling coronavirus (COVID-19) cases for US hospitals, from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

RESP-NET to Track COVID and Flu Hospitalizations

New tracking tool, RESP-NET, by the CDC tracks trends in hospitalizations for flu and COVID-19. RSV hospitalizations also shown. Data comes from surveillance of what’s happening in 13 states. Can segment by age, sex, race. Launched in January 2023.

World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Reports: Coronavirus

Track the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with weekly situation reports by the World Health Organization (WHO). The pandemic is now in its 3rd full year, 2022.

Other Helpful Listings

American Lung Association (lung.org)

American Lung Association (lung.org) site includes extensive references for chronic lung disease such as asthma, COPD emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as lung cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other factors, such as smoking, that affect the lungs. Special feature on e-cigarettes and vaping. The organization also maintains a HelpLine staffed by Registered Nurses and Registered Respiratory Therapists to answer your lung health questions at 1-800-LUNGUSA (or 800-548-8252). Or submit a question via online chat to the ALA. Regarding Covid, here’s what the Association says: “The majority of people recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, but it can be life-threatening. Currently, four COVID-19 vaccines are widely available for everyone 6 months of age and older.” The American Lung Association has also developed a Support Community for Long Covid.

CDI (c.diff) Infections in US Hospitals Decreased in First Year of Covid-19

Study of CDI (c. difficile infections) in US hospitals showed CDI declined during year 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers compared pre-COVID (April 2019 to March 2020) with COVID (April 2020 to March 2021). CDI prevalence went down significantly from 12.2 CDI cases per 10,000 encounters, to 8.9 per 10,000. Inpatient costs however were about $2,000 higher per case – up about 19%. Inpatient mortality was also higher – 7.4% compared to 5.5% in the pre-Covid period. Study was based on a sample of hospitals from the Premier Healthcare Database. Published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases, August 2022.

Covid 19 Surge Capacity: Converting Hotels for Coronavirus Patients (ASHE)

Surge capacity resource for hospitals looking at converting hotels in order to serve more coronavirus COVID-19 patients. Prepared by ASHE, the American Society for Health Care Engineering, through the American Hospital Association. This “COVID-19 Response Concept Study” identifies the types of patients suitable to this setting. It lays out a 10 to 14-day timeline to take advantage of hotel ballroom space for patient wards and guest rooms for for patients or staff. Conference rooms and meeting spaces become medication areas, mini-labs,  nursing support and command center. Paper records may get chosen in lieu of unfamiliar (or impractical, given the timing) electronic record systems. This short resource guide covers a wide spectrum of dimensions. Very helpful overview, published April 2020.

Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care highlights the wide variations in how health care is delivered across the United States. The project is run by Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School. Online tool provides comparisons by geographic region (state, HSAs-Hospital Service Areas, or HRR-Hospital Referral Region) for Medicare healthcare use (data through 2015). While the tool is relatively easy to use, the conceptual understanding of the reports requires technical sophistication. A old timelapse map of the growth in COVID cases across the US during 2020 is also shown.

Factors Expected to Impact Health Insurance Premiums 2023 – AHIP

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) identifies factors that are expected to impact premium costs for individual plans in the Health Insurance marketplace for 2023. AHIP did not project increases for 2023. Instead, they identified factors such as increases in medical prices, increases in utilization, inflation, Covid-19, and insurance subsidies to make insurance more affordable. Published July 2022.

Hand Washing Hand Hygiene Video (one minute) Editor's Pick

Hand Washing, Hand Hygiene video by the CDC. Take one minute to view the online youtube video for proper handwashing technique and guidelines to help prevent infections. CDC epidemiologist presents the basics – really fast. People often miss washing the thumb and index finger, as well as the finger tips on both hands. Plan to wash and scrub for 20 seconds, about as long as it takes to hum your favorite school fight song.

Travel and Health | CDC

Extensive site by the CDC that covers travel injuries and illnesses abroad, vaccinations, health warnings and precautions, cruise ship and air travel, advice for pregnant women. See travel notices for COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic. While CDC does not generally issue advisories for domestic travel, it has written recommendations for travel inside the US. The website allows search by international destination location. Useful for missions and disaster relief, as well as avoiding unnecessary travel. Sections for Cholera, COVID-19, Ebola, Measles, Polio, Yellow Fever, Zika and any new outbreaks CDC is monitoring

What Variants of the Coronavirus Should I Watch?

What coronavirus variants should I watch and what are they called? As of December 1, 2022, just one was listed by the World Health Organization (WHO):  Omicron  including its subvariants and sublineages. Omicron is overwhelmingly dominant in the United States, at present. WHO tracks and designates “variants of concern” using common names and number labels. Previous variants of concern Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma,  and others are also tracked and highlighted at this SARS-CoV-2 site.

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