Coronavirus Tidbits #110 1/6/21

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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.

I had this written before yesterday’s predictable–and predicted–seditious scene at the Capitol. I did not redo it and will not rehash it, but will add two telling tweets:

(no details of the methodology of this poll of 1,397 registered voters)

It’s a shame this joyous occasion was overshadowed by the violence, but let’s still celebrate this historic event:

I didn’t know the historical context of Ossoff’s win. This is a good lesson:


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still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

Debate continues on approach to vaccinations. Give 2 doses, as studied, or focus on getting 1 dose into more people as quickly as possible, delaying the 2nd

Here’s a rational proposal to compare and study this relatively quickly:

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More on the timing debate from physicians Bob Wachter and Ashish Jha (pro single dose to more, quickly)

vs. Florian Krammer, another virologist, against single dose:

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Chief Operation Warp Speed adviser Moncef Slaoui suggested giving adults 18-55 two half-doses of the Moderna vaccine to help speed up the rollout. (CNBC)–

FDA says to stick w original 2 dose administration that has been studied.

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But a big problem, besides supply, is that the states are not prepared to administer the vaccines they have on hand. Where was the planning?

Carl Zimmer has a nicely illustrated series of explainers on how the different vaccines work

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine:



(Pfizer’s and Moderna’s work the same way, but require different storage temperatures).

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Excellent thread on improving vaccine distribution. Start here:

Relying on CVS and Walgreens as cornerstones of a vaccine rollout plan is like using a spigot at a camping site to put out a forest fire. We need to be erecting mass vaccination sites, strategically placed across the country.

First, let us discuss breadth. The Trump administration has forged partnerships with ~37 pharmacy companies to help distribute vaccines. As we can see from this @NBCNews analysis, 80% of Americans live within 5 miles of a participating pharmacy chain.

We need more mass vaccination sites. As a geographer, I look at why places are located where they are and how they can best serve communities. Here are my criteria for a possible vaccination site:

– The site cannot disrupt normal function of society (schools less ideal) – High throughput of individuals – Need the ability to hold and monitor for allergic reactions – Cannot cause a superspreader event during vaccination (no tight indoor spaces)

The key here is while pharmacies will be a huge help, we need to increase our reach into “pharmacy deserts.” @JoeBiden has advocated for vaccination mobile to reach rural America, but to enhance reach we turn to one place: the fairground.

Using geospatial analysis to estimate individuals’ proximity to a fairground, convention center or exhibition center, we can see that 45% of Americans live within 5 miles of these locations. These are now often unused and suitable for mass drive-through or walk-in vaccination…

However, in urban areas, convention centers may not be enough. It is for this reason we discuss depth in vaccination: enabling high-capacity mass vaccination sites. For this, we turn to major sporting venues (MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, etc.). This is where depth comes in.

Experts such as @JReinerMD and @PeterHotez have called for these sites to be opened as mass vaccination centers. The federal government should forge partnerships with these organizations (good PR opportunity for them) and start setting then up.

MLB stadiums are critical locations to help address racial and ethic inequities. In counties with stadiums, the average percentage of Black residents is 22%, compared to 9% in counties without stadiums. For Hispanic residents, those statistics are 19% and 11%.

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Lower zinc levels linked to higher risk of death from COVID-19

StudyFinds by John Anderer

BARCELONA, Spain — A recent study is making a strong case for all of us to add a bit more zinc to our diets. Spanish researchers report COVID-19 patients with low levels of zinc suffer from poorer health outcomes and a higher risk of death.

For years, zinc has had a reputation for impeding the replication and reproduction of multiple viruses in the blood. However, the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and zinc is still largely unknown. The study, led by Dr. Roberto Güerri-Fernández from Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona, is providing some much needed clarity.

Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis on a group of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients being treated between March and April of 2020. The team included factors like demography, pre-existing chronic conditions, laboratory results, and chosen treatments. They also looked at the “clinical severity” of each patient’s COVID-19 infection. Importantly, the study measured each patient’s baseline zinc levels upon admission to the hospital.

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Inspiring role model, building trust in the Black community


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Epidemiology/Infection control:

U.S. coronavirus cases crossed the 20 million mark on Friday

it took 200 days to reach the first 5 million cases, 93 days to go from 5 million cases to 10 million, 31 days from 10 million to 15 million cases and only 25 days to go from 15 million to 20 million cases.

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Q&A: Will COVID-19 become endemic?

During a recent WHO briefing, David L. Heymann, MD, chair of WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards, said vaccines and good public health practice will help the world “learn to live with COVID-19.”

“It appears at present that the destiny of SARS-CoV-2 is to become endemic, as have four other human coronaviruses, and that it will continue to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, especially in areas of more intense transmission,” said Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

We asked Heymann to further discuss the potential of COVID-19 to stick around despite the availability of effective vaccines.

Q: Will SARS-CoV-2 become endemic?

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SARS-CoV2 transmission on international flight (Boeing 777)

The virus spread despite 5 of them reporting mask use.

3/Pre-flight testing did not catch the index case infection. Post-flight testing while in quarantine in New Zealand did, underscoring the importance of policy that requires quarantine for visitors.

via @AliNouriPhD

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Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


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Covid cases are 16% higher per capita in the counties Trump solidly won in Georgia & deaths are 37% higher. – Charles Gaba

Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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Bits of beauty:


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