Hot Topics in IPC: Mid-term Election Week

Infection Control Today, Volume 26, Issue 10

Infection prevention and control personnel don't elect to ever stop. Dr. Popescu tells us what's in the news this week of the mid-term elections.

It’s been a busy week with the mid-term elections. But the future of COVID-19 heavily discussed, and, of course, infectious diseases don’t take a break.

COVID-19

Good news: globally, COVID-19 cases and deaths are dropping in most of the world. Bad news: except in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, which are reporting increasing cases. Last week, the world saw 2.1 million new cases, which is 15% fewer than the week before. Unfortunately, those countries with the most new cases include Japan, South Korea, the United States, Germany, and China. China is still pursuing the “zero-COVID[-19]” strategy, which has many individuals frustrated with continued shutdowns and surges. In the United States, COVID-19 cases are up 7% in the last 2 weeks, with a daily average just over 40,000 cases. Test positivity is 8.8%, and there are roughly 316 daily deaths. Some states in the US are still showing a consider up-tick in cases: the 4 Corners (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah) are all showing at least a 30% increase in cases, with other states slowly climbing up, such as South Carolina, Oregon, Nevada (up 96%!), and Louisiana. Not all states are climbing, though; Oklahoma is down in cases by 25%, similar to Michigan and New Hampshire.

In terms of new research, a new Veterans Health Administration study was released on how Paxlovid may help cut the risk of long COVID-19 and a great article on how annual COVID-19 shots may make our lives easier. If you’re interested in global health news and articles on vaccine equity, here’s a great one on vaccine hoarding and the impact globally.

Respiratory Virus Season

It seems a while since we’ve had to respond to what felt like a true respiratory virus season while tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we’re seeing that now. Some states are reporting influenza test positivity rates upwards of 20%, and significant regions in the United States are seeing H1N1 activity rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HAN alert went out last week as well, giving health care providers strategies for treating, testing, and combating respiratory viruses on the move.

Good News Against Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Two clinical trials for an investigational antibiotic for UTIs were halted earlier than expected due to meeting their goals head of schedule. The British pharmaceutical company, GSK, “said the decision to stop enrollment for the EAGLE-2 and EAGLE-3 trials, which were evaluating the novel oral antibiotic gepotidacin for treatment of uncomplicated UTIs in adult and adolescent women, was based on a pre-specified interim analysis of efficacy and safety data by the Independent Data Monitoring Committee. The interim analysis found that gepotidacin met the combined primary efficacy endpoint in both trials, which included more than 3,000 patients in 12 countries.”

Ebola and Monkeypox Outbreak Updates

The outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has now hit 136 confirmed cases and 53 deaths, with projections as high as 1,200 by April. Most cases have been in the capital city of Kampala and World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus has been vocal about the focused efforts and ensuring support for contact tracing, infection prevention, and community engagement. During this time, cases of monkeypox have slightly gone up as 19 countries report a rise in cases. In general cases are down significantly from the peak in August, but the WHO has reported a 2.5% increase in cases for the last week, most heavily in the Americas and European regions.