Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates
Because the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving, we will be updating this page regularly.
Covid-19 Delta Variant: Do’s & Don’ts
During this interactive presentation, our expert Dr. Jeff Gelblum will provide great tips to keep you safe during the “Delta Surge”. This presentation is geared toward folks who have already been vaccinated and are concerned about avoiding breakthrough infection. We will give helpful tips about what to do if you are exposed. Don’t miss this important update.
The B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.617.2 (Delta), and P.1 (Gamma) variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. The more a virus spreads, the more chance it has to mutate. New variants emerge when mutations occur in the genetic code of the virus. These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
Alpha Variant (B.1.1.7)
First identified in the United Kingdom, and later found in the U.S. in December 2020, alpha is considered a variant of concern by the CDC, which noted it might have increased severity based on hospitalization and fatality rates.
Beta Variant (B.1.351)
First identified in South Africa, this was detected in the U.S. at the end of January 2021. This is also considered a variant of concern by the CDC.
Delta Variant (B.1.617.2)
The Delta variant is the greatest threat in the United States. Delta is more dangerous in many ways. It has an incubation period of four days, rather than six, making people contagious sooner. When the pandemic began, people spread the original coronavirus to an average of two or three people. Today, people infected with delta infect six people, on average.
Delta outbreaks tend to last 10 to 12 weeks, as the virus “burns through” susceptible populations. If the United States continues to follow a pattern seen in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, infections could rise from the current seven-day moving average of 42,000 cases to 250,000 a day.
Gamma Variant (P.1)
Brazil was the first place this was detected, and it’s also been recorded in Japan. The CDC considers the gamma a variant of concern; it was first detected in the U.S. in January 2021.
August 23: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
A new CDC study finds the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) reduce the risk of infection by 91 percent for fully vaccinated people. This adds to the growing body of real-world evidence of their effectiveness. Importantly, this study also is among the first to show that mRNA vaccination benefits people who get COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated (14 or more days after dose 2) or partially vaccinated (14 or more days after dose 1 to 13 days after dose 2). Read the full article
The delta variant continues to fuel the rapid spread of coronavirus cases in Florida, and now emergency rooms and ICUs are overwhelmed and overcrowded with COVID patients.
Medical professionals have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID for a year and a half, but they said this time around the virus is deadlier.
"Doctors are mentally and physically exhausted. I personally held hands with nurses and physicians. I have friends who talked about leaving healthcare -- we're exhausted, " said Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist at First Choice Neurology and director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center.
FLORIDA VACCINE LOCATOR BY COUNTY OR CITY
Florida Health Vaccine Locator
FLORIDA COVID-19 VACCINATION PLAN
Provided by the Florida Department of Health on October 16, 2020
Read our Vaccine Blogs:
Emerging COVID-19 Variants
South Florida Hospitals Begin to Vaccinate the Senior Community
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness.
Recommended for people aged 16 years and older.
Number of shots: 2 shots, 21 days apart
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness.
Recommended for people aged 18 years and older.
Number of shots: 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
Moderna vaccine was 66.3% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness.
Recommended for people aged 18 years and older.
Number of shots: 1 shot
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot
According to the CDC, people can start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning in the fall, 8 months after they received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, subject to authorization by the FDA and recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Once the FDA authorizes a booster dose, the first people to get a booster includes healthcare providers, residents of long-term care facilities, and other older adults.
COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, with the Delta variant, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease.
When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
The CDC states the following for vaccinated individuals (updated July 27):
- Updated information for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States.
- Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Added information that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
- Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
- To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
- You should continue to wear a mask where required by law, rules, regulations, or local guidance.
- You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
- To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death.
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
- Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
- If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
- People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.
Preparing for Vaccination: What you need to know
What You Need To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines
Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
How mRNA Vaccines Work
What Happens After Your COVID-19 Vaccination
Covid-19 Long Haulers
Do you suffer from COVID-19 Long-Haulers? Symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and brain fog, or difficulty thinking clearly. Thousands of Americans who had a mild case of COVID-19 are battling a wide range of health problems. Evidence shows that at least one-third of people who have COVID-19 experience neurological complications.
Is Covid-19 a Neurological Disorder?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Call your doctor’s office prior to reporting in person for an evaluation. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Doctors have observed neurological symptoms, including confusion, stroke, and seizures, in a small subset of COVID-19 patients. These neurological syndromes join other unusual symptoms, such as a diminished sense of smell and taste as well as heart ailments.
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you develop emergency warning signs for Coronavirus (COVID-19) get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Those with mild cases of COVID-19 appear to recover within one to two weeks. For severe cases, recovery may take six weeks or more. About 1% of infected people worldwide will succumb to the disease.
As of May 30, 2020, among COVID-19 cases, the most common underlying health conditions were cardiovascular disease (32%), diabetes (30%), and chronic lung disease (18%). Hospitalizations were six times higher and deaths 12 times higher among those with reported underlying conditions compared with those with none reported.
Adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Revisions were made on December 23, 2020, to reflect recent data supporting an increased risk of severe illness.
COVID-19 is a new disease. Currently, there are limited data and information about the impact of many underlying medical conditions and whether they increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know at this time, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- Liver disease
- Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
How is COVID-19 Diagnosed?
Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.
A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms, as well as recent travel and contact with sick people. If your doctor thinks you may have COVID-19, he or she will work with your local health department on testing. Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider. COVID-19 is diagnosed by a viral test:
- A cotton-tipped swab is wiped inside your nose or throat. A nose and throat swab is used to check for viruses in your nasal mucus.
- A small sample of mucus coughed from your lungs (sputum) is collected if you have a cough. A sputum culture is performed to check for the virus.
If you test positive for COVID-19 by a viral test, know what protective steps to take if you are sick.
If you test negative for COVID-19 by a viral test, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing.
An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection.
An antibody test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1-3 weeks after infection to make antibodies. We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.
How is COVID-19 Treated?
There is currently no medication to treat COVID-19. Supportive care treatment is done to help your body while it fights the coronavirus. Supportive care may include:
- Rest. This helps your body fight the illness.
- Stay hydrated. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquids each day. This includes water, sports drinks, soft drinks without caffeine, juices, tea, and soup.
- Take pain medicine (acetaminophen and ibuprofen). They help ease pain and reduce fever. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
For severe illness, you may need to be hospitalized. Your care during severe illness may include:
- IV (intravenous) fluids. These are given through a vein to help keep your body hydrated.
- Oxygen. Supplemental oxygen or ventilation with a breathing machine (ventilator) may be given so you get enough oxygen in your body.
Complications from COVID-19
In many cases, this virus can cause an infection (pneumonia) in both lungs. In some cases, it can cause death. Certain people are at higher risk for complications. This includes older adults and people with serious chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
Since COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, information about it is changing constantly.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
The virus spreads easily between people
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person-to-person without stopping. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
Based on what we currently know, the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people. Stay at least 6 feet away.
- Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, elbow or sleeve, and be sure to discard used tissues into the trash.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Stay home from school, work, or public gatherings when you are sick.
About Contact Tracing
- Trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Notify them of their exposure.
- Support the quarantine of contacts. Help ensure the safe, sustainable, and effective quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission.
- Expand staffing resources. Contact tracing in the US will require that states, tribes, localities, and territorial establish large cadres of contact tracers.
- Use digital tools. Adoption and evaluation of digital tools may expand the reach and efficacy of contact tracers.
Recorded Coronavirus COVID-19 Videos (English)
COVID-19: Roadmap to Reopening
COVID-19: Roadmap to Reopening
Episode 1 - Re-engaging Older Loved Ones
Dr. Jeffrey Gelblum talks about the components of infectivity (Ro). He explains how we start to re-engage with our older family members.
Videos grabados de Coronavirus COVID-19 (español)
Keith Mortman, MD talks about a virtual reality rendering created to see inside a COVID-19 patient's lungs at the George Washington University Hospital. The patient is in his late 50s and the only underlying medical condition he has is high blood pressure. He was intubated and connected to a mechanical ventilator. There is rapid progression, and damage to the lungs. Young people are now becoming infected with COVID-19. Some are asymptomatic carriers and may not shows signs or symptoms of the disease. They can pass the virus on to other people they come in contact with.
Active Cycle of Breathing Technique (ACBT) for Respiratory Health
Presymptomatic coronavirus patients can spread the disease 1-3 days before showing signs
A new Centers for Disease Control report suggests that nearly 40% of Americans hospitalized (at the time of the report) were between the ages of 20 and 50. Numbers are changing fast as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country, but the report’s findings are clear: Younger people must take this outbreak seriously, even if they feel healthy and immune to its effects.
Face Masks - Cloth Masks, Disposable Masks, N95 Masks
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has suggested that people who wear contact lenses should switch over to glasses during the coronavirus outbreak.
Routine eye care procedures may be delayed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but treatment for eye emergencies is as important as ever. Don't delay calling your ophthalmologist or another medical doctor if you have an urgent eye issue. Here's how to tell.
Download a printable version of this article in English (PDF).
Descargue la versión en español (PDF).
A Message from our Doctors about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Infusion, Physical Therapy, and Teletherapy during COVID-19
TeleHealth and TeleVisit
Telehealth or televisit is a service provided by practitioners at First Choice Neurology. We offer a free, secure, and easy-to-use app Healow, for our patients to communicate with their doctor remotely (from your home) and manage your health care.
A televisit is the same as an office visit, except you are seeing your doctor virtually. Telehealth visits are covered by your insurance carrier as a routine visit with your doctor.
The physicians of First Choice Neurology have pioneered the use of Telehealth to enable patients anywhere in the world to access their neurology doctor without ever setting foot in a physical office. This is a great tool for patients who are traveling out of town, busy at work, feeling sick, lacking transportation, or just wishing to stay at home.
The cutting-edge platform permits the doctor to conduct a face-to-face virtual office visit on a remote basis from his desktop to your online device. It is simple to schedule.