Coronavirus Tidbits #119 2/7/21

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 

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How's your day going?

This incompetent rollout of Covid vaccine is inhumane and so unfair to elderly, poor, or those without computer access or skills. One example:

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Controversies continue over testing strategies:

Daily COVID tests have stagnated in the U.S. since a high of 2 million in mid-January, and this is a problem. (The Atlantic)

and

‘A waste of money’: The home Covid-19 test funded by the Biden administration is too costly and complex, critics say

https://statnews.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f8609630ae206654824f897b6&id=de32798250&e=f4c6ea30a0

Drugs and Vaccines:

FDA experts to meet Feb 26 re EUA on J&J vaccine

When Johnson & Johnson reported last week that its vaccine was, on average, 66% efficacious at blocking moderate and severe disease — a figure that ticked up to 72% when just looking at U.S. participants — many researchers sought to remind people that this was a result worth celebrating. The vaccine was 85% effective against severe disease cases no matter the infectious variant, and all the deaths and hospitalizations in the trial occurred among people who got the placebo, not the vaccine.

https://www.statnews.com/2021/02/05/what-scientists-know-variants-covid-19-vaccines/

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Continued debate over timing of vaccines:

Op-Ed: Forget Second COVID Vaccine Doses for Now

— It's far more important to get first doses to as many people as possible

https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/marty-makary/91029?

vs.

Here's Why the U.S. Won't Follow Britain in Delaying Second COVID Vax Dose

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/91056?

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Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial participants given the wrong dose weren't informed about the blunder. (Reuters)

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https://www.kgw.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/vaccine/seniors-blocked-from-signing-up-for-covid-shots-until-monday/283-92a5b423-1696-453c-bd9e-cd3cf6749136?

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(Cumbersome) Data reporting issues at community health centers and other small centers may explain disparities between the CDC's accounting and state reports. (Reuters)

Devices:

Now playing out in an economy near you: Mask Wars, made in America versus made in China. (Reuters)

Dan Izhaky is president of United Safety Technology Inc, a startup that is poised to open a new N95 mask factory; his goal is to make 1 million masks a day...but once the market normalizes Izhaky estimates his masks will cost about 30% more than Chinese masks, or about $1.15 each.

One problem--the machines that make the masks in the factory are imported from China.

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) quickly issued a new statewide mask mandate after the GOP-controlled state legislature repealed the existing one. (AP News)

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Recycling face masks into roads to tackle COVID-generated waste

Circular economy approach to PPE waste aims to cut tonnes of rubbish going to landfill

Researchers have shown how disposable face masks could be recycled to make roads, in a circular economy solution to pandemic-generated waste.

Their study shows that using the recycled face mask material to make just one kilometre of a two-lane road would use up about 3 million masks, preventing 93 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.

Developed by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, the new road-making material is a mix of shredded single-use face masks and processed building rubble designed to meet civil engineering safety standards.

Analysis shows the face masks help to add stiffness and strength to the final product, designed to be used for base layers of roads and pavements.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/ru-rfm020221.php

Epidemiology/Infection control:

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https://twitter.com/Vaccinologist/status/1357316948242157568?s=20

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Excellent article:

WHEN TO REPLACE HAND SANITIZERS, DISINFECTANTS, MASKS, GLOVES

  • Unopened, a bottle of chlorine bleach begins to lose its potency 6 months after its date of manufacture, and will become 20 percent less effective within a year.
  •  a bottle of liquid bleach should contain at least 6 percent sodium hypochlorite, the active disinfecting ingredient. (Some laundry bleaches are only 3%)
  • If you use a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) to disinfect cutting boards, door handles, and other hard surfaces, it will retain its potency for only 24 hours.
  • hand sanitizer will be effective, unopened and maintained at room temperature, for three years.

https://www.almanac.com/when-replace-hand-sanitizers-disinfectants-masks-gloves#

For more by Margaret Boyles, see https://www.almanac.com/users/margaret-boyles

Politics:

Biden admin was knee-capped by Trump's. 20 million vaccine doses still missing. 

"once the vaccine shipments are delivered to the states, responsibility for tracking them has been left up to states’ individual public health systems. The administration then only gets an update once the doses are actually administered and an official record is submitted."

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/30/biden-covid-vaccine-states-463953

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Iowa currently ranks 46th in vaccinations:

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https://twitter.com/roseficke/status/1279137994335649793?s=20

Feel good du jour:

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I love this photo; always cheers me, too.

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Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/56blackcat/status/1357108275389554688?s=20

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https://twitter.com/lunarcrossing_/status/1356714535734956036?s=20

Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

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