A relatively new COVID-19 variant called Mu that appears to be capable of evading current treatments has been detected in almost every state. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new variant of COVID-19 seems to have the ability to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections.
For gay men who are HIV-positive, and especially gay men of color that are positive, a drug resistant COVID-19 variant could be catastrophic for a compromised immune system.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gay men continue to be at highest risk overall for infection by the HIV Virus. Men of African American descent are at the highest risk level within the community, with one in two likely to be infected at some point in their lifetime. Men of Latin American descent are listed by the CDC as one in four, while European Americans are at one in six.
From a report by WHO: “HIV appears to be a significant independent risk factor for [COVID-19] severe or critical illness … and in-hospital mortality.” In lay terms, the end result of Covid-19 infection is worse in people already infected with HIV.
A global look at 168,000 individuals who have faced hospitalization as a result of critical COVID-19 infection confirms that severe disease and in-hospital death are much greater in people living with HIV.
What Does The Future Hold?
From a plague exhausted population both straight and queer the question arises: when does this all end?
While things were starting to look better on the pandemic front in early summer, along came the Delta variant, which has infected countless unvaccinated and even some vaccinated individuals. Studies have shown so far it’s mostly the unvaccinated who end up in the hospital. For most individuals who are vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, symptoms are minor. Those with the Moderna vaccine tend to fare better, if they become infected at all.
On average, the United States is reporting 155,395 new infections each day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 650,000 deaths have occurred nationwide and current statistics estimate 3,000 people are continuing to die every day. The total number of infections and deaths in the United States eclipses every other country in the world.
The death toll and proof that masks and vaccines stop the spread of the virus seems to mean little to anti-vaxxers, right-wing politicians and mask protestors. They continue to cry foul and politicize COVID-19, while patients are filling up hospitals into overflow tents.
Some in the medical field have begun to speculate that COVID is with us to stay and will continue to mutate, eventually requiring annual vaccines that may or may not provide protection from all variants.
As for the Mu variant, the ability to resist treatment has both physicians and the general population concerned it may be the dreaded Alpha Omega strain that researchers have theorized since it was discovered how rapidly the virus can mutate.
While no mandates are currently in effect on a statewide level, Governor Roy Cooper continues to encourage all residents to get vaccinated and wear masks. On September 2, Cooper signed an Executive Order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, which can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death if taken early.
In Mecklenburg County, Mayor Vi Lyles issued a mandate in July requiring all individuals to wear masks for any public indoor settings.
Join us: This story is made possible with the help of qnotes’ contributors. If you’d like to show your support so qnotes can provide more news, features and opinion pieces like this, give a regular or one-time donation today.