Coronavirus and Avian Flu Tidbits #298, June 9, 2024

Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.

New post: 

Man Dies After H5N2 Bird Flu Infection. Here’s How It Differs From H5N1

News 

@JPWeiland  June 7th update:
Infections increased modestly again this week (+6%), Hawaii at highest levels in over a year. Continental US at low levels, but west coast and Florida seeing moderate increases. ~200,000 new infections/day 1 in every 168 people currently infected
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  • most of US in "high" transmission category, Spain cases triple, France up 35%, “steady increase” across New Zealand, South Australia hospitals operating in “internal emergency”
  • San Francisco covid wastewater “highest concentrations we’ve ever measured”

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More rare cancers being diagnosed after the pandemic

There has been an uptick in aggressive, late-stage and rare cancers since the pandemic, and some point to COVID-19 as a possible link to the increase, The Washington Post reported June 6.

Since the 1960s, scientists have estimated that 15% to 20% of all cancers originate from infectious agents, such as HPV, Epstein-Barr and hepatitis B. It's possible that COVID-19 could be another infection that promotes cancer,...

A number of small and early studies suggest COVID-19 can induce inflammatory responses that could exacerbate the growth of cancer cells. However, the virus "may be more akin to a stressor — like tobacco, alcohol, asbestos or microplastics," David Tuveson, MD, PhD, suggested in the report.

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/oncology/more-rare-cancers-being-diagnosed-after-the-pandemic.html

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FDA panel supports switch to JN.1 for fall COVID vaccines

[This is being criticized by some experts as the virus has already mutated and KP2 is a growing concern, as are FLiRT mutations...but there should be some cross-protection]

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/fda-panel-supports-switch-jn1-fall-covid-vaccines

Good news: Novavax expects to be ready for the commercial delivery of a protein-based JN.1 COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. in September this fall, pending authorization.

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Novavax presented data showing that mice primed with a NVX XBB shot and boosted with a NVX JN.1 shot produced nAbs equally well against JN.1 and KP.3
@michaelzlin

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Linda Ronstadt lost her capacity to speak and hear after a second bout of COVID earlier this year.” Her speech has come back, her hearing, not so much...

https://archive.ph/pEpWq

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Taylor Swift likely infected thousands with Covid...

Musician (William) in Glass Beach Band retiring d/t Covid risks of concerts.

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Long Covid:

One in 20 people infected with mild Covid in the first wave of the pandemic were left with lingering symptoms up to three years later...

People do not need to have tested positive for the coronavirus to be considered for a diagnosis of long COVID, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concludes.

"mild Covid can still cause health effects even 3 years later…. I want to make it clear that most people with Long Covid had mild COVID-19. In fact, 90% of people with Long Covid had mild COVID-19.” - Ziyad Al-Aly

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The National Academy of Medicine report on #LongCovid is out Long Covid is a complex chronic condition that affects several body systems; it can lead to decreased physical & cognitive functioning, poor quality of life & inability to work: rb.gy/30clis

Summary: https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2024/06/new-report-reviews-evidence-on-long-covid-diagnosis-risk-symptoms-and-functional-impact-for-patients

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Researchers asked people w/ & w/o #longCovid to exercise & performed muscle biopsies: Tissue from people w/ LC had “severe muscle damage, a disturbed immune response, & a buildup of microclots…& immense amounts of cell death, or necrosis.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2024/01/09/1223077307/long-covid-exercise-post-exertional-malaise-mitochondria

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Avian Flu

Huge amounts of bird-flu virus found in raw milk of infected cows

Milk from cows infected with bird flu contains astronomical numbers of viral particles, which can survive for hours in splattered milk, new data shows1,2

...It means that testing milk pooled from all of a farm’s cows is likely to reveal the presence of even a few infected ones,

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-01624-1

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Pasteurization neutralizes avian flu viruses in milk

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/influenza-general/pasteurization-neutralizes-avian-flu-viruses-milk-researchers-find

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H5 influenza wastewater dashboard launches

WastewaterSCAN, a national wastewater monitoring system based at Stanford University in partnership with Emory University, today launched an H5 avian influenza wastewater dashboard today, which shows detections at about a dozen locations, mostly in Texas and Michigan.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/avian-influenza-bird-flu/h5-influenza-wastewater-dashboard-launches

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Finland to offer bird flu vaccine to select groups of people:

groups including poultry farmers, veterinarians, scientists who study the virus, and people who work on fur farms housing animals like mink and fox and where there have been outbreaks.

https://www.statnews.com/2024/06/05/finland-h5n1-bird-flu-human-vaccine/?

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Man in Mexico died of a bird flu strain that hadn't been confirmed before in a human...see my 

Man Dies After H5N2 Bird Flu Infection. Here’s How It Differs From H5N1

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Eleven house mice in the state of New Mexico – where several herds of dairy cattle are infected with H5N1 – tested positive for the avian influenza” telegraph.co.uk/global-health/

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“We could be pool testing every dairy worker. I do believe that there’s undetected cases in humans, because we’re once again only tracking people with symptoms”

thehill.com/policy/healthc

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This is very concerning...and not coincidental. There is still not a single H5 test available anywhere in the world. Therefore, sick people are waiting 6 weeks for diagnosis. Were antivirals offered, if so how late post symptoms? Is this an avian virus or an avian x human reassortant? Who brought it in? Widespread serology done? Weeks to months for more data to be shared? -- @RickABright

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Concerning news out of Austin, TX. The city has reported #H5N1 has been found in their wastewater. I'm not aware of any dairy farms nor processing plants in the city.

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Dairy cows infected with avian flu in five U.S. states have died or been slaughtered by farmers because they did not recover. A farm in Michigan killed about 10% of its 200 infected cows after they too failed to recover from the virus,

Some cows on other farms died of secondary infections after the virus weakened their immune symptoms.

[So much for it being mild].

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/cows-infected-with-bird-flu-have-died-five-us-states-2024-06-06/

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#H5N1 virus from the Texan human case in ferrets:

caused 100% fatality in exposed ferret’s. Spread efficiently between ferrets by direct contact. No evidence of respiratory droplet spread (like seasonal flu).

1 of 3 ferrets in a nearby, but separate cage, contracted the disease (presumably by droplet spread).

“with shared air but without direct contact (…) 1 of 3 ferrets became infected.”

Rick Bright: Ferrets are the animal model used frequently for human infection. The fact that they got so severely ill, virus infected most of their internal organs and brain, and they died, is a strong signal that every effort to stop this virus from spreading should be considered seriously.

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Other:

Emerging sexually transmitted fungal skin infection, Trichophyton

Image

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/fungal-infection/report-describes-emerging-sexually-transmitted-fungal-infection

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Lyme:

in California, Ixodes pacificus ticks, a.k.a. the western black-legged tick, when very young usually feed off the blood of small mammals like rodents, and thus get infected by & transmit Lyme borreliosis, but...

Once the ticks get older, they feed off blood of the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis). And... the western fence lizard produces a blood complement (a protein) that is borreliacidal, i.e. it kills Borrelia burgdorferi — within an hour.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9488334/

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs:

Devices and Masks:

N95 Masks Nearly Perfect at Blocking COVID, Study Shows

UMD researchers and colleagues tested a variety of face masks and respirators to see which most effectively blocked the virus that causes COVID-19. The winner was duckbill N95 respirators.

Any common face mask provides significant protection against the virus that causes COVID-19, but N95 masks are most effective at slashing the amount emitted by infected people, according to a University of Maryland-led study released Wednesday.

So-called “duckbill” N95 masks scored highest in the study, which measured the exhaled breath of participants who were tested both masked and unmasked to measure comparative outputs of SARS-CoV-2. The inexpensive masks, which have two head straps and a horizontal seam, captured 98% of exhaled virus, according to the study published in eBioMedicine.

The researchers also found that—in what might come as a surprise to many—cloth masks outperformed the specific brand of KN95 mask that was tested. Surgical masks brought up the rear in performance out of the four types, but even they blocked 70% of the virus, the tests showed. (To reflect the general public's use of masks, study volunteers were not fit-tested for their masks or trained how to properly wear them.)

“The research shows that any mask is much better than no mask, and an N95 is significantly better than the other options. That’s the No. 1 message,” says the study’s senior author, Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health and a global expert on how viruses spread through the air.

The results also suggest that N95 masks, also known as respirators, should be the standard of care in nursing homes and health care settings when respiratory viral infections are prevalent and transmission risk is elevated, the researchers said.

https://today.umd.edu/n95-masks-nearly-perfect-at-blocking-covid-umd-study-shows

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate

Vaccinate

Mask

Politics:

GOP:

SpeakerJohnson has named Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) to the House Intelligence Committee. The Intel Committee oversees the entire intelligence community and gets some of the most sensitive intelligence about the U.S. and its allies.

Perry will have oversight over FBI counter-intel programs. Perry is suing DOJ after FBI agents seized his cellphone as part of the Jan. 6 criminal investigation into Trump.

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If you want to identify today's Fascists this is a good indication. Hostility to officers who tried to block an overthrow of the govt. is a sign...
Heartland Signal:
Pennsylvania Republicans jeer, leave statehouse floor in protest of officers who defended Capitol on Jan. 6
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The G.O.P. Push for Post-Verdict Payback: ‘Fight Fire With Fire’

Republican leaders in and out of government are publicly pushing to prosecute Democrats as legal retribution for Donald Trump’s felony conviction.

Gift link: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/05/us/politics/trump-conviction-gop-revenge.html?u2g=i&unlocked_article_code=1.xk0.-c_5.KUPn9LObLk0C&smid=url-share

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Contraception:

All nine Republican senators running for reelection this year just voted against the right to contraception: John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn. Kevin Cramer, Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer, Josh Hawley, Pete Ricketts, Rick Scott, Roger Wicker. So much for the party of "freedom."

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SCOTUS:

Image

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Florida: 

#DeSantis high court majority: DeSantis can easily oust people's elected prosecutors, by @chrisgeidner

https://www.lawdork.com/p/desantis-worrell-florida-supreme-court?

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Louisiana:

Governor elect Jeff Landry wants to withhold funds until women seeking abortion are prosecuted.

New Orleans S&WB was counting on $29M from the state for its new power complex. It got $0.

https://www.nola.com/news/politics/new-orleans-swb-state-funding-power-station-latoya-cantrell-jeff-landry/article_fae782a0-22c3-11ef-b0a5-4377c09a1307.html?

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Sweden:

@WATERSHED_i
Sweden bans bottom trawling in all its waters, in a move that could allow the seabed to heal & wildlife to replenish. Conservationists say bottom trawling tears up the seafloor habitat fish need to live & breed - destroying generations of ocean life.

Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

 

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