No, 73% of US COVID-19 cases aren’t Omicron yet: how the press got it wrong

Something extremely odd happened this afternoon.  The press, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Axios, reported that the CDC had announced that 73% of US COVID-19 cases were now being caused by the Omicron variant, and major public health gurus like Ashish Jha, Eric Topol,

Breaking data: Omicron evades immunity to spread explosively, but is less transmissible than Delta; vaccines still help

Since my previous post about Omicron just eleven days ago when the news first broke of its existence, we’ve learned what the deal is, thanks to amazing feats of rapid research on a number of fronts by scientists coordinating around the globe and working around the clock.  Although much remains to be learned, the broad

Should we be concerned about the new Covid variant

The new Omicron strain of COVID-19 could be really bad, and we may not know how bad for weeks

A new COVID-19 variant has been identified with some very concerning features. Dubbed Omicron, it’s rapidly spreading in the southern region of Africa and an increasing number of countries around the world, and the news has rocked government policy and financial markets over the last two days. Despite the drama, however, we don’t yet know

Healthcare worker injecting a man with a vaccine

Full approval of the Pfizer vaccine will legalize off-label dosing for kids, boosters

Update, 08/23/2021, 3 PM Eastern: In the hours since the publication of this piece, both the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have come out strongly against off-label dosing of children below 12 years old with the Pfizer vaccine.  Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock described it as a matter of “great concern.”  The AAP’s

Case numbers

COVID-19 and the Delta variant: what you need to know in August 2021

Like many of you, we’ve been enjoying a summer with small slices of normality. But, as we predicted, things are quickly getting worse again — some areas are already at the worst levels they’ve been in the entire pandemic — as the Delta variant and bad actors within our society continue to do damage. This

KN 95 mask

As mask mandates return, the FDA gives a thumbs down to KN95 respirators. Here’s what to look for

Mask mandates are making a comeback, even for the vaccinated, as the Delta variant rips its way through the US population. And as mask mandates return, the federal government has raised the bar on which masks are acceptable and which ones are not. The Prepared’s recommendations have stood the test of time (going back to

COVID-19 vaccine

Antivaxxers won’t stop US herd immunity, but vaccine hesitancy might. Here’s the science

Whether the United States will attain herd immunity against COVID-19 is a hot-button issue right now. Vaccine administration in the United States has fallen by almost 30%, from a peak of about 3.5 million doses a day to about 2.5 million, largely due to flagging demand. The New York Times surveyed experts and found a

Do you still need to disinfect packages? Analyzing new CDC advice

Over a year ago, we told you how to disinfect packages from COVID-19. In the interim, some doctors and scientists became aghast that people were doing this. The CDC offered conflicted and confusing advice, which we happily fact checked, and the CDC withdrew. Many of you are still following our package disinfection advice. Now the

Covid-19 has a silver lining. Will society learn the lessons or let this pain happen in vain?

Covid has caused tremendous pain. But it could’ve been so much worse, and it’s frankly dumb luck that things weren’t 100-1,000 times more painful. The (potential) silver lining is that things were juuust bad enough to catalyze meaningful change in the future — such as treating essential workers better and building more local slack in

A woman wearing a valved respirator and talking on a cell phone

New CDC study says valved respirators/masks do just as good of a job as basic masks

The ever-shifting official recommendations about masks over the past year have been frustrating because it seems that science takes a back seat to politics and incompetence. The Prepared said way back in January 2020 that you should get masks for COVID because it was simple science that respirators/masks will protect you and others against respiratory

A doctor holding a stethoscope and respirator

Do you need to do anything different because of the new COVID mutations?

We’re all tired of social distancing, masks, and an overabundance of sanitation. Unfortunately, a new wave of COVID-19 mutations appear to be far more transmissible, and it is possible that variants will emerge for which existing antibodies or vaccines may not give the same protection they do against the currently prevalent strains. Many people have

Key developments for Friday, January 1, 2021

The massive US cyber breach may have started long before last spring. Russia still denies involvement. Wichita, Kansas had a little temblor. It was enough to knock some stuff off shelves, but not enough to damage structures. Although it’s a small earthquake, comparatively, it’s worth mentioning because in preparing a household for an earthquake, you’ll