The US is still in a state of emergency for Covid-19 and monkeypox. However, the country has another longstanding and quickly worsening public health concern—mental health. According to mentalhealth.gov, about 20 percent of American adults experienced a mental health issue in 2020. Nearly 1 in 20 Americans live with a severe mental illness.
Covid-19 is likely endemic and will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, it is also becoming milder. Some medical research argues that current dominant variants are less deadly than the flu. Hospitalizations have also steeply declined in recent weeks.
Regardless, President Biden recently announced he is extending the Covid-19 public health emergency for another 90 days. This will place the country under a public health emergency for Covid into early 2023. The U.S. is also under a public health state of emergency for monkeypox.
This comes at a surprising time. On October 21st, there were about 7,100 new Covid-19 cases. Ten months prior, data collectors at Johns Hopkins University reported over 1 million new Covid-19 cases. This reduction occurred despite Covid’s continual mutation into more contagious variants and dramatically curtailing of recommended public health guidelines to prevent disease spread.
A glance at America’s growing waistline shows closing gyms and limiting travel away from home to combat the pandemic has worsened public health in America.
Results from a 2021 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found 61 percent of respondents experienced unwanted weight gain during the pandemic (by an average of 29 pounds). Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds children experienced the most significant weight gain over the past two years, many of which experienced an alarming 1.6 percent increase in BMI.
Losing weight is never easy, often requiring daily commitment to dietary and lifestyle changes. The Food and Drug Administration’s latest effort aims to help.
Even as Covid-19 infections and deaths decrease globally, the World Health Organization warns that “the pandemic is not over.” The Biden Administration seems to feel the same. Earlier this month, the federal government extended the Covid-19 public health emergency again.
Why the concern? As WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus stated, “A new and even more dangerous variant can emerge any time and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.” Covid’s BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants could be an example.
The Centers for Disease Control now tracks the confirmed number of monkeypox cases across the country. As of August 3rd, the agency reports about 6,600 cases across the country. The first confirmed monkeypox infection in the US was reported on May 19th. Monkeypox cases have followed a similar trajectory across Europe.
As cases increased, several states declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Most recently, the Biden Administration issued a public health emergency and enlisted the help of public health agencies to address recent outbreaks.
A US News and World Reports article documents there are now nine confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US across seven states as of May 27th, 2022. Globally, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota estimates 225 monkeypox infections across 21 countries. Suspected global infections (testing for monkeypox is tedious) are higher.
Over two years after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, it seems the end is quickly approaching. Unfortunately, the end of the pandemic appears to be the start of an endemic. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has admitted, “we’ve only eradicated one infectious disease in man, and that’s smallpox. That’s not going to happen with this virus.”
Nearly two years after Covid-19 first reached the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated what many medical professionals have long known, and policymakers have desperately tried to avoid: Covid-19 is likely endemic.