Healthcare Consumer Navigator Center is a Healthcare Consumer Advocate Organization that helps consumer navigate the healthcare maze. The following Series “KEEPING THE CONSUMER SAFE; LIVING WITH COVID”.  Our goal is to provide a commonsense approach to living with covid with general healthcare information.

This is now the latest COVID-19 hot button. Today, President Biden announced the administration was buying another 500 million at-home-COVID-19 tests. This was in

Addition to the 500 tests ordered last week. In addition, “high-quality masks are also going to be made available. Here’s the real bonus! All this stuff is “free.” Only politicians can give out millions of dollars of stuff for “free.” When you’re in Washington long enough everything seems to be free. But that’s a topic for another day.

Social media is now full of stories of people unable to find home testing kits in stores, waiting in public testing lines for hours, waiting days/weeks for tests to come back from labs and I am wondering why? Testing seems to be the latest craze in the COVID-19 saga.

When did this craziness happen and why? For me personally, in 2020, the only time I was tested was when my wife and I were traveling to Alaska and a negative test was required to leave the airport in Anchorage. As I think back, other than this trip, I can’t ever recall being tested as a topic of concern. Ironically, we went through the same process of being tested prior to the 2021 trip not because of a State of Alaska requirement but because of a requirement by the lodge we were staying at. As I previously reported, I was tested while at the lodge and was positive for COVID. I was 100% asymptomatic, however, due to airline requirements I needed to quarantine for 10 days before I could fly home. Interestingly, if this happened today, according  to new CDC guidelines, I’d only need to quarantine for 5 days.

I’m repeating myself to illustrate things do change relative to our COVID measures and I’m now wondering when this current craziness will subside? However, here’s something that I believe is very important. I’ve covered this before but not to the extent I now find necessary. On the CDC website is a section titled, “People with Certain Medical Conditions,” which summarizes all the comorbidities which place people at higher mortality risk with COVID. Frankly, in my humble and medically, un-educated opinion, the list most likely covers somewhere around 80% of the US population. So while very accurate it’s pretty much useless in saving lives.

Sometime in early 2021, folks at Griffith University, published an analysis of 375,859 participants from 14 countries. They found “chronic kidney disease was statistically the most prominent comorbidity leading to death.” Other comorbidities were cancer, diabetes or hypertension. As in all medical studies, there are a bunch of caveats and other mumbo-jumbo to protect the study’s authors from litigation, but the essence of identifying just four comorbidities goes a long way toward providing a much more manageable approach to treating a select group of COVID patients differently.

In summary, again I’m not a physician, but feel comfortable in saying if you or a loved one has any of the aforementioned health challenges special attention is important. I strongly recommend consultation with your personal physician. Monitoring symptoms becomes very important. While I personally hate wearing a mask, one might take this added precaution more seriously. In addition, being aware of one’s environment and the people in it is also more important. Consulting with your physician is important regarding being vaccinated and boosted.

Finally, I don’t get the current and overwhelming need for individuals to be tested. I’ll grant the aforementioned group of people should be cautious and careful in monitoring symptoms. We now are fully aware there will be “breakthrough” cases (myself included) of the vaccinated. We also are learning the Omicron version of COVID is different. We are attempting to keep our readers apprised of the most non-political, current, scientifically-based information we can find. It becomes challenging to sift through the information because COVID has become one of the most politicized diseases scientists have had to deal with.

In a future articles, I’m covering symptoms and an alternative view of dealing with COVID-19.

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