Enter the Mu Variant

No SARS- CoV-2  in the fields, but there are plenty of ticks. Tick borne illnesses experience a spike again in the fall. Watch for ticks if you’re in the woods, please. They will re-emerge over the coming weeks as the weather starts to cool down.

Let’s get started. First, let’s do a COVID update then a review of the state of the newest variant to make the news, Mu.

COVID update

  • The Berkshire case load went up to 219 caseslast week, from 182 the week before. Berkshire County still has a high transmission designation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which then recommends all residents, vaccinated or not, wear masks indoors. 
  • Nationally new cases continue to trickle slightly up. We now average 164K new cases per day, up from 150K per day last week. 
  • The summer surge of cases is stubbornly refusing to decline for the moment. New cases have peaked in many places, but the wave persists as new regions, like ours, experience rising cases.
  • Vaccinations don’t seem be adequate to stop the spread. Data from Israel and elsewhere continues to paint a picture that breakthrough cases are a big part of the summer ’21 wave of cases, even in areas like ours with a large percentage of vaccinated adults.
  • The pundits are rethinking the idea that this has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated, a mantra of recent months.
  • Are we “all in it together” again?

Protecting the Hospitals from overwhelm, however, remains a huge necessity and a good reason to get vaccinated if you are of a high risk designation.

Early Outpatient treatment is the wildcard and is the other way to keep the hospitals safe, so say doctors around the world networking on treatment options. A very large theme of the Pandemic has been and still is: we remain in the dark on a lot of big questions. We simply don’t know a lot about our situation.

I have been very interested in early outpatient protocols even though the traditional science to back them is weak. It’s the same reason we can get behind the vaccine without, for example, initially having any idea how long it would last or the nature of the immunity over time. We have to go with our best guess when our backs are against the wall.

Outpatient protocols using re-purposed medications by their very nature will only have anecdotal evidence. They become good considerations if their risk profile is low. I have kept an eye on the protocols of doctors across the country and around the world. One doctor (Dr Mobeen, USA) describes in his series of over 300 patients very rare incidence of long COVID cases (only 3) after treating early and aggressively with his protocol, which includes ivermectin, low dose steroids, and aspirin. A doctor in Bombay describes a huge case series of over 6,000 cases and has had only a meager 14 deaths! And less than 40 hospitalizations! (Dr Darrell DeMello).

People are treating COVID in the outpatient setting around the world and absolutely are getting results. There are many more doctors working at it with outcomes similarly much better than published norms. They are using various repurposed drugs like ivermectin, blood thinners, fluvoxamine (an antidepressant), Pepcid, antihistamines, monoclonal antibodies, steroids, and others- usually in combination.

In America the medical norm in the outpatient arena is fairly unsupported. It seems to me that most patients are sent home with Tylenol and vitamins, if that, and wait to see if their oxygen levels drop. Or worse yet, the medical culture villainizes the medications that practitioners are using all over the world to treat COVID early. We seem to have all our eggs in one basket. It’s never wise to do that.

Enter the Mu Variant

“WHO Warns New Mu Variant Could Be More Vaccine Resistant (The Hill). The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the Mu SARS-CoV-2 strain, first detected in Colombia, as a “variant of interest” adding in its weekly bulletin that it will be monitoring the variant’s spread. According to WHO, the Mu variant was first detected in Colombia in January 2021.” The early models of the new variant indicate it could evade vaccine immunity. Consistent with the theme, there is much we don’t know.

I’m here to say that even if the variants develop the ability to evade the current vaccines entirely, there are a number of doctors around the world working on the backup plan. They’ve been at it for a year and a half. They’ve gained a lot of experience treating COVID with repurposed drugs and can help the willing and able doctors to make a big difference. Pharma also is looking to generate some novel, early outpatient treatment options. We will be watching closely.

In the meantime, the backup plan is low risk and is ready for our deliberation (despite the recent headlines warning against horse ivermectin, with which I agree). Early diagnosis and management is our goal here at Berkshire Whole Health. Call with any symptoms you think could be COVID.

Keep at it. Don’t forget: healthy habits are the best preventative measure against COVID complications and for life in general. Practicing habits that make you fit and eating whole foods are powerful tools.