Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — June 23, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

301. Vaccines protect against new Delta variant

         Q:  Do the existing vaccines have any effect on the new aggressive Delta COVID?

         A:  The COVID Delta variant (from India) has been found to be up to 70% more infectious than the original coronavirus-19.  And it is also 50% more lethal.  The good news is that all the authorized vaccines are effective to contain this mutation.  Thus, the risk to those unvaccinated is even greater than before, adding incentives for more people to receive their shots.

302. The risk of children being infected with COVID this summer is rare

         Q: How safe is it to let my unvaccinated 10-year-old go swimming this summer?

         A: Many parents are frantic in their worry about how much their unvaccinated children are at risk of contracting the Delta variant of COVID-19.  The reality is more reassuring.  Jennifer Nuzzo, a John Hopkins epidemiologist recently stated, “I haven’t seen data to make me particularly worried about Delta in kids.”  Data shows serious outcomes will continue to be rare in children, she reported.  The New York Times published the following graph using data from the CDC showing the relative risks unvaccinated children ages 5 to 14have for getting COVID.

Deaths per 100,000 population of US children by different causes


Cancer 2.1
Vehicle Accidents 1.9
Suicide 1.5
Homicide .07
Cardiovascular Disease .06
Drowning .05
Flu / Pneumonia .03
Suffocation .02

A child is 100 times more likely to die from a vehicle crash than from COVID-19.

Drowning is more than twice as risky as the pandemic.  Managing risk is always encouraged.  If your child always wears a seatbelt when in a car, wearing a mask when indoors and avoiding packed crowds helps reduce the already very low risk of COVID-19.

303. All school children might be vaccinated before the next school year

         Q:  Can children be vaccinated before school opens in September?

          A:  Among the people unable to be vaccinated in the U.S. are children under age 12.  Anticipating that the Delta variant may become dominant in this country in the next month or two, the FDA anticipates that clinical trials may be completed and approval can be granted for the proper dosage for at least one of the mRNA vaccines as early as August.  This would allow grade school children to be fully vaccinated before school opens.

304. Coronavirus is not mutating more rapidly but is being given more opportunity

         Q:  Is it true that the COVID variants are emerging more rapidly?

         A:  Investigator Kimberly Mas of Vox publications recently pointed out the cause of an increasing number of mutations of the coronavirus is the globally expanding number of people that have become infected.  Mutations have regularly happened since the pandemic began.  As most of these variants die out because they don’t change their ability to replicate.  But the small percentage of mutations that cause it to be more infective increases as the population carrying the virus increases.  This places greater emphasis on countries that produce vaccines to share them with others that cannot.  This will reduce the number of infected people to reduce the new mutations that otherwise would emerge,

305. Bee population reduction countered by a special vaccine

         Q:  Can vaccination help nature restore balance from bee populations that are declining?

         A:  Honeybees have been dying off over the past few years.  This has affected pollination and commercial honey harvesting.  A common pesticide, malathion, was found to be a major cause of this population decline.  James Webb, a student at Cornell developed a pollen-sized chemical that breaks down malathion in the bee’s digestive tract, neutralizing it before it reaches the brain.  The chemical has been named “Beemunity.”  A “clinical trial” was conducted and 100% of the bees exposed to Beemunity and malathion survived.  Of the bees exposed to malathion alone, none survived.  Science can have many applications for vaccines beyond just answering the specific questions it set out to resolve.