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.
Much of the bad news this week is about the incompetent vaccine rollout.
See “Drugs” section for more
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But the “Jim Crow Caucus,” the seditious GOP, and Pence take the prize for appalling news:
“The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.” 2/2— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 2, 2021
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Questions and answers about the Mutant Coronavirus: B.1.1.7 or VUI-202012/01
Does it spread more easily?
Yes, it appears this strain is much more transmissible–and may be infecting kids more.
Do people get sicker?
Not that we’ve seen so far.
A big problem is that our health systems are already overwhelmed, with many hospitals with full ICUs. They can’t handle a new wave of patients from this more transmissible strain.
Another problem is that the US lags well behind other countries in sequencing virus samples to detect these mutations–so the cat may well be out of the bag before we even know it.
Can you be reinfected more easily?
That has not been seen thus far. Vaccine-induced immunity seems the same, too.
Will the Covid-19 vaccine protect against the new strain?
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Good overview of the year in Covid science news
Kai Kupferschmidt (@kakape):
“What was new was not WHAT scientists did, but HOW they did it: Research was faster, more collaborative, more open…
“The process of science was rarely as visible as this year. It was like watching open-heart surgery live on TV: messy but vital and riveting.”
…all of this played out in a context that no scientist can afford to ignore anymore: an information ecosystem that helps misinformation and lies spread faster than scientific evidence, weakening our ability to respond to new threats.
still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate, rapid testing.
Drugs and Vaccines:
Just a few drips to manage pic.twitter.com/sqyNrQEFrp— Steph, RN (@Steph_ICURN) January 1, 2021
Note: These drugs are for 1 patient. ICU nurses generally juggle 2-3 patients.
This is part of why I am so concerned about not only a health care worker shortage, but by administrators treating HCWs as interchangeable widgets. You simply cannot replace an experienced ICU nurse with a new nursing grad!
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Roughly 20% to 40% of the L.A. County’s front-line workers who were offered the vaccine declined to get the shot.— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 31, 2020
So many in Riverside County refused the vaccine — an estimated 50% — that officials met to strategize how best to distribute the unused doses https://t.co/yDtTh6ccq2
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We are failing dismally at vaccinations, particularly in light of the new variant, which transmits more easily:
Fauci estimates we need 90% of US vaccinated or previously infected for Herd Immunity:— C. Michael Gibson MD (@CMichaelGibson) January 3, 2021
Grey is the trajectory to achieve this in 6 months through vaccination alone
Orange is 1 yr trajectory
Blue is Actual Number Vaccinated
We have a long way to go in Blue at the bottom pic.twitter.com/JFRY70Kpx3
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Op-Ed: A Better Way to End the Pandemic Quickly
— A strategy to maximize vaccine benefit
Two other experts also suggest vaccinating everybody who can be with 1 initial dose: “Both Pfizer and Moderna report that the efficacy of a single dose is only about 50%. But a closer look at their incidence curves suggests that immunity appears to be maximized about 14 days after the first dose. In the Moderna trial, for example, most of the cases in the vaccine arm occurred during the first 2 weeks following the initial dose. We recognize that the vaccine was developed and tested on the assumption that two doses are necessary. Yet, the trial data suggest that a single dose provides substantial immunity. During this severe pandemic, it seems reasonable to use the available supply to reach as many people as possible in the short term. Delaying the second dose would maximize limited resources and could reduce serious illness and death. A recent projection suggests the U.S. will receive 40 million doses of the two mRNA vaccines by early 2021. A rough calculation suggests that vaccinating 40 million persons with these 40 million doses versus 20 million persons with two doses each could prevent over 100,000 severe cases and save over 10,000 lives.” (This strategy has been ruled out in the US by the powers that be, however.) “By December 30, it is estimated that about 20 million people in the U.S. will have been infected with the coronavirus. That means that 160,000,000 Americans, or nearly half the population, will have immunity, dramatically limiting the need for vaccine.”…”we should not use the limited supply of vaccine for people who do not need it.”
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The UK is opting for this strategy–to vaccinate as many people as possible, delaying the 2nd dose of vaccine. This will provide some protection for more people quickly, important given that the UK variant spreads more easily.
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In Minority Communities, Doctors Are Changing Minds About Vaccination https://t.co/gQqgS35Qww. Amazing work done by @EmoryInfectDis faculty @vcantosl & Zanthia Whitley to increase #CovidVaccine uptake among hard hit racial & ethnic minorities.— Carlos del Rio (@CarlosdelRio7) January 1, 2021
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Are you kidding me?? @TitosVodka, say it ain’t so!!! This is so unfair to punish companies who were doing everything they could to help when Americans literally had nothing. What’s next? Fining toilet paper manufacturers because it wasn’t plush enough?https://t.co/WQpoYZ49TU— Emily Porter, M.D. (@dremilyportermd) January 1, 2021
Fortunately, the FDA is rescinding this poorly thought out tax.
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Last week, we had Moderna doses spoiled by not being kept a the proper temperature.
Then 500 doses were ruined deliberately by a WI pharmacist.
A Milwaukee pharmacist has been arrested and accused of "tampering with and causing the destruction" of more than 550 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week.https://t.co/R7WI9Hyo0x— NPR (@NPR) December 31, 2020
This week, administration of the vax is screwed up:
Forty-four people received an antibody treatment instead of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine in an error Wednesday at a vaccination clinic in Boone County, https://t.co/EKAWlXEjOd.https://t.co/dyapqU9Vcp— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) January 1, 2021
Tips, general reading for public:
Wash your hands.
Rinse and repeat.
Watch & RT this animation and see how #location, #proximity and #time can help you make safer choices when you're in an area of widespread transmission. #StaySafe #BeResponsible #SciComm pic.twitter.com/O56NnkId8w— Dr. Melvin Sanicas 🩺🔬 (@Vaccinologist) December 30, 2020
“many leading infectious disease specialists underestimated the fast-moving outbreak in its first weeks and months, assuming that the United States would again emerge largely unscathed. American hubris prevented the country from reacting as quickly and effectively as Asian nations,” Amesh Adalja said.
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Dr. James Phillips — the Walter Reed physician who criticized President Trump for greeting supporters while he was being treated for COVID-19 — has worked his final shift at the hospital.— NPR (@NPR) December 28, 2020
"I stand by my words, and I regret nothing," he wrote on Twitter.https://t.co/cQP3OV7lYd
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This will certainly be deleted. But for a brief moment in time, Walmart was in The Resistance. pic.twitter.com/Xal3bf0F69— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) December 30, 2020
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Early vaccination in prisons, a public health priority, proves politically charged
=> States backing off this plan
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Mitch killed the $2000 Covid stimulus checks approved by the House
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NEW: Incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan tells NPR the Department of Defense hasn't met with the Biden transition team in 11 days and transition officials aren't receiving key information on major issues like COVID-19 vaccine distribution. https://t.co/IlyRMqH3JU— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) December 29, 2020
Trump administration appears poised to do whatever it can to block a successful transition and cripple the Biden administration.
The plans to challenge certification of the election results on Jan. 6th, Pence’s complicity in this, and Trump’s inciting violence at DC protests that day do not portend a good New Year. He’s encouraging his minions to come, tweeting, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!”
“The way he sees it is: Why should I ever let this go?… How would that benefit me?” said one a source who’s spoken to Trump at length about the post-election activities to nullify his Democratic opponent’s decisive victory. https://t.co/5EEVccgDQs— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 2, 2021
Feel good du jour:
The Dogs of 2020 pic.twitter.com/xVQdlkgW1T— WeRateDogs® (@dog_rates) December 30, 2020
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Nothing stronger love than the bond between doggo and an anthropomorphic duck pic.twitter.com/2ubnE5kPEx— ℙ𝕒𝕧𝕝𝕠𝕧 & 𝕄𝕒𝕤𝕝𝕠𝕨 🐶 (@PAVGOD) January 2, 2021
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Astronaut Mark Kelly once smuggled a full gorilla suit on board the International Space Station.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) December 30, 2020
He didn't tell anyone about it.
One day — without anyone knowing — he put it on…pic.twitter.com/NdnncK0I4U
As the New Year begins, we are hopeful. My favorite quote from Greta Thunberg. “The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.” We can do this!— Bradd Silver (@miltsdad) January 1, 2021
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“You and I have known pain, so let us be kind to one another.”— Michael F Ozaki MD (@brontyman) December 31, 2020
Be gentle with yourself…
Bits of beauty:
It's not often in the UK that you get the opportunity to photograph #Kingfishers in the snow, so I've taken advantage of more snowfall today to do just that. Gorgeous little birds. Happy New Year! #birds #birding #nature #wildlife #NatureTherapy pic.twitter.com/tgAH7p2cGX— Jen Coates (@Starlight_Bliss) January 2, 2021
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