Coronavirus Tidbits #108 12/31/20
News Diagnostics Drugs Devices Epidemiology/Infection control Tips Politics Feel good du jour Comic relief Perspective/Poem Bits of beauty
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.
Mutant Covid found in US now, Japan, and elsewhere.
It’s more infectious–spreads more rapidly, but is NOT more fatal thus far.
“A little less than a year ago, the early response to the coronavirus crisis was stifled by an inability to scale up testing to detect the virus and curb its spread. Now, once again…” we are failing by our lack of surveillance and severe lack of sequencing to detect mutations. – Helen Branswell, Stat
In the meanwhile, even before the impact of the new mutation, which is more infectious, so will => much higher case rates:
California hospitals are overwhelmed, understaffed, and running out of Oxygen!
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Finally read the new update on UK variant B.1.1.7, posted yesterday, which includes a study suggesting the variant is no more (or less) severe than prior virus variants.— Kai Kupferschmidt (@kakape) December 29, 2020
Just a very brief thread (or read the entire document here: https://t.co/eZEQcdeXYw)
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President is golfing and could not be reached for comment. https://t.co/DMGQOluMl9— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) December 29, 2020
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The @ProMED_mail crew thought something bad might be coming, because they’d seen this before: They were also the first to alert the world about SARS, in a bulletin very like this one. Here’s my story from March about them in 2003 and 2020: https://t.co/v5kvJqCmT8— Maryn McKenna (@marynmck) December 30, 2020
still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.
Vaccine rollout is slow, a mess, and was handled shoddily by the administration. A few examples:
As Hospitals Roll Out COVID-19 Vaccines, Health Care Workers Describe Chaos And Anger
as a vaccine “free-for-all” allows colleagues to jump ahead in line despite little risk
Meanwhile, two staffers from each member of the U.S. House and Senate are now eligible for the shot. (Politico)
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NEW: At least three shipments of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Texas with signs that the shots had strayed from their required temperature range, prompting a delay in other deliveries https://t.co/m97FwlfYRQ— Bloomberg (@business) December 30, 2020
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Administration for “Operation Warp Speed” said 20 million doses of vax would be given by end of December–the reality–only ~2 million.
“The logistics of the rollout have been largely left up to states to navigate. States and local public health officials have warned for months that they would need more than $8 billion in additional funding to stand up the infrastructure needed to administer vaccines. The Trump administration instead provided states $340 million”
Translation: Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace
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More Vaccine controversies:
Thought provoking argument by Zeynep Tufekci and Michael Mina that most effective vaccine strategy is to rapidly give as many people as possible the first dose of vaccine and then catch up with the 2nd booster. In the meanwhile, we should be gathering data about how protective 1 dose is (~50%, it appears, and how long lasting that immunity is).
Detailed overview of where we stand re vaccines by Derek Lowe:
Oxford/AZ vaccine’s behavior: “Giving as many people in the UK as possible a single dose of that vaccine with a longer wait until the booster is a gamble, and you wouldn’t want to do it that way if the alternatives weren’t even worse. It’s the right move, unfortunately, and it’s a damned shame it’s come to this.
One per thousand Americans have now died from covid-19.— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 27, 2020
How does that compare with 12 other select countries with >20 million population? pic.twitter.com/lMXLSbOlN1
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Just saw @CDCgov updated guidelines on ventilation in buildings during #covid19 https://t.co/6VsH2S6OGN Guidance includes increasing outdoor air, better filtration, importance of system maintenance, HEPA portable air cleaners, UVGI & more- now we need policy & $$— Paula Olsiewski (@polsiewski) December 20, 2020
Tips, general reading for public:
Wash your hands.
Rinse and repeat.
Congress asked the IRS to report on why it audits the poor more than the affluent. Its response is that it doesn’t have enough money and people to audit the wealthy properly. So it’s not going to.https://t.co/j4kONIWExT— ProPublica (@propublica) December 29, 2020
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China sentences lawyer Zhang Zhan who reported on coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison
A Chinese court has sentenced a former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of “picking fights and provoking trouble”, one of her lawyers says.
The Pudong New Area People’s Court in the financial hub of Shanghai gave the sentence to Zhang Zhan on Monday following accusations she spread false information, gave interviews to foreign media, disrupted public order and “maliciously manipulated” the outbreak.
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Rural healthcare workers are fleeing small-town America, citing pandemic politics and “toxic individualism.” (NPR)
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JUST IN: The Justice Department has declined to charge the Cleveland police officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. The department has closed its investigation.https://t.co/vRt9Q0d78c— NPR (@NPR) December 29, 2020
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You can’t reform this. pic.twitter.com/JIRimYZwFW— Danny Neary (@itsdannyneary) December 28, 2020
Feel good du jour:
If you follow me, you have probably seen my endless posts about trying to find a PlayStation 5 (PS5).— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) December 27, 2020
Originally, I was looking for one for my son. I found one for him two weeks ago.
Since then, I have been looking for one for someone else.
An old friend.
Do read the rest of this sweet thread…
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Incredible drone footage of a massive school of rays off Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) October 6, 2020
via dronesharkapp/ig https://t.co/KS2HgVejip pic.twitter.com/ZlEkjF9Z5u
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This particular one consistently brings me joy (June) #wildlifephotography #wildlife #TwitterNatureCommunity #birds #birdphotography #birder #birding #bird #BirdTwitter pic.twitter.com/5iX089Sgjt— Kelly Flanagan Wildlife Photos (@KFlanaganphotos) December 27, 2020
Here are some things to consider as we get closer to closing the door on one of the most horrible years of our lifetime: 1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner. 2. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people. 3. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors! 4. This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog. It was obvious she thought her dog understood her. I came into my house & told my cat. We laughed a lot. 5. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom. 6. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands? 7. This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home! 8. I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator. 9. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room. 10. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask & ask for money. 11. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him with a 6′ pole” would become a national policy, but here we are! Happy new year!
Valuable thread on racism:
2/ Lay people may think medicine is a panacea of limitless resources, but (especially in a pandemic), that's not true. Medical providers are CONSTANTLY triaging and prioritizing which patient gets which test / drug / family meeting at all times. Prioritizing must be done quickly.— Tamorah Lewis, MD, PhD (@TamorahLewisMD) December 27, 2020
The Queen's Gambit has been viewed by 62 million people. The producer, Allan Scott, is on BBC News talking about how it took 30 years, with 9 rewrites, and every studio he showed it to said that no one would be interested in chess.— Amy Charlotte Kean (@keano81) December 28, 2020
PLEASE PERSEVERE WITH THAT THING YOU'RE MAKING
Bits of beauty:
Hi Judy –
Was wondering what you think about the UK’s mix and match vaccination plan?
Take care and happy New Year!
I’ve been reading more about it…I don’t think it is a very good idea at this point, as we have zero data and not much precedent. However, a well-respected immunologist, Akiko Iwasaki, said this: “The good thing about the mRNA vaccine is that if you prime with it, you can boost with other types of vaccines (viral vectored, DNA, mRNA…etc). In the future, a mixed prime boost vaccine strategies can be tested to provide long term protective immunity. (9/n)”
To be continued…Thanks, Diane!