Coronavirus Tidbits #107 12/27/20

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News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty

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.

News 

Horrifyingly, we have reached the point where 1/1000 in the US has died of Covid.

Why? Mostly failed leadership…

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For a fine example of Science Communication, see Dr. Ian Mackay’s post on the evolution of the Swiss Cheese model of infection:

I particularly like the addition of personal and shared responsibilities and the misinformation mouse that has been eroding the other layers.

https://virologydownunder.com/the-swiss-cheese-infographic-that-went-viral/

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs:

Pfizer and BioNTech today announced an agreement with federal officials to  supply 100 million more vaccine doses.

expect to deliver the full order to Operation Warp Speed (OWS) by Jul 31,  2021. 

Based on the original agreement announced in July, the government will pay $1.95 billion for the extra 100 million doses. 

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UNC Study: COVID-19 Mutation Spreads Faster, But Treatable by Same Vaccine

According to the research published in Science magazine, patients with this strain carry the virus more in their upper respiratory tract and were reported to show increased infectivity. The report says D614G has now become the most prevalent version of COVID-19 in the world because of how effectively the mutation causes transmission.

https://chapelboro.com/news/coronavirus-covid-19/unc-study-covid-19-mutation-spreads-faster-but-treatable-by-same-vaccine

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement seizes fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine websites

The domain names, mordernatx.com and regeneronmedicals.com, purported to be the websites of actual  biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus, were, in fact, spoofed websites used to collect personal information of individuals visiting the sites for fraud, phishing attacks, and/or  deployment of malware. 

homelandprepnews.com/stories/59458-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-seizes-fraudulent covid-19-vaccine-websites/

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New CDC Guidance on who should receive the Covid Vaccine

[Key is that we don’t have enough experience with the vaccine–but this is the same pattern that is seen with every drug that comes to market. That’s why there are recalls after approval, once the drug gains widespread use. At this point, I think that the best I can say is that the risks of death or long-term disability from Covid are so high that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks…and I say this as someone at higher risk of a problem w the vaccine.]

Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. The following information aims to help people in the groups listed below make an informed decision about receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

People who have weakened immune systems

People with HIV and those with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses  or medication might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data:

  • Information about the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people who have weakened immune systems in this group is not yet available.
  • People living with HIV were included in clinical trials, though safety data specific to this group are not yet available at this time.

People with weakened immune systems should also be aware of the  potential for reduced immune responses to the vaccine, as well as the need to continue following all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19 (see below).

People who have autoimmune conditions

People with autoimmune conditions may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for them. Individuals from this group were eligible for enrollment in clinical trials.

People who have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome

Persons who have previously had GBS may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been reported following vaccination among participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. With few exceptions, the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) general best practice guidelines for immunization do not include a history of GBS as a precaution to vaccination with other vaccines.

People who have previously had Bell’s palsy

Cases of Bell’s palsy were reported in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider these to be above the rate expected in the general population. They have not concluded these cases were caused by vaccination. Therefore, persons who have previously had Bell’s Palsy may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

After vaccination, current guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be followed

Until experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, people who decide to get vaccinated should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19 after they are vaccinated. That means:

  • Wearing a mask
  • Staying at least six feet away from others
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Following CDC travel guidance
  • Following quarantine guidance after exposure to COVID-19
  • Following any applicable workplace guidance

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/underlying-conditions.html

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Full or nearly full ICUs 

The number of hospitals with full or nearly full ICUs has doubled nationwide since the pandemic began,  and currently, more than two in five US hospitals with ICUs have 85% or higher occupancy levels,  according to a New York Times analysis of hospital data.

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More than 2,900 healthcare workers have died

in the pandemic since March, according to the  latest analysis from Kaiser Health News and The Guardian.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/12/us-procures-more-pfizer-vaccine-covid-surge stretches-hospitals-icus

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Three new variants of the coronavirus have been detected in recent weeks,

spreading to at least 13 countries worldwide. However,

none of the variants so far has been found to be more fatal, or more likely to be able to evade vaccines or treatments.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/26/which-countries-have-reported-new-variants-of-covid-19

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Good explainer about mutations: 

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No surprise: The same pattern was seen with SARS

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

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On the stingy proposed “stimulus” of $600/year:

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Why Georgia Senate race is critically important – 1 part

If Dems don’t win Georgia, Mitch will continue as a sole dictator, blocking everything the Dems hope to do.

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The hypocrisy burns:

Christmas spirit

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Feel good du jour:

Sweet story:

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And another story re kindness:

Comic relief:

Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

 

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