Coronavirus Tidbits #122 2/18/21

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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.

New post: 

Covid-19 Vaccines And Autoimmune Disease

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/02/17/covid-19-vaccines-and-autoimmune-disease/?sh=6431ccdc4892

News 

Thousands of the world’s most trusted brands—including Pepsi, Starbucks, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott, and even the CDC—have funded COVID-19 misinformation, including Chinese and Russian propaganda websites

Throughout the pandemic, many of the world’s largest and most trusted brands have been financially supporting misinformation about COVID-19, placing thousands of programmatic advertisements on websites that have published falsehoods and conspiracy theories about the pandemic, undermining public health efforts.

From February of 2020 through today, 4,315 brands ran over 42,000 unique ads on websites flagged for publishing COVID-19 falsehoods at NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center, likely accounting for millions or tens of millions of ad impressions financed by ad dollars spent on those websites.

https://www.newsguardtech.com/special-report-advertising-on-covid-19-misinformation/?utm_source=

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

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Black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries were less likely to say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine

than white recipients despite being more likely to recognize COVID-19’s increased severity compared with influenza, a survey showed.

“These are not knowledge differences — this is not a lack of awareness. It is clear that minority communities are very aware of the nature of and the impact of the virus on their communities and themselves. This is less about knowledge and more about trust,” Felicia B. LeClere, PhD, a senior fellow in the health care department at NORC at the University of Chicago, told Healio, adding that messaging to mitigate this difference is “best done by health care workers who are on the front lines.”

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20210216/survey-finds-key-groups-less-accepting-of-covid19-vaccine

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https://twitter.com/onisillos/status/1360962219937259522?s=20

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Devices:

A Novel Treatment for Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia

high-frequency percussive ventilation (HFPV) therapy, which combines mechanical ventilation with high-frequency oscillatory ventilation.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/casestudies/infectiousdisease/91217?

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Mutations growing

“We know now that, or we estimate now that about 4% of disease in this country is related to B.1.1.7,” she said. “And we have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March.” – Rochelle Walensky

Public health officials warn the U.K. variant is more transmissible and argue the new strain, as well another identified in South Africa and a third from Brazil, underscores the need for the American people to get quickly vaccinated.

Walensky said pharmaceutical companies are adjusting their science to neutralize the B.1.1.7 variant, and the CDC is watching the epidemiology with people who have already received their coronavirus vaccines.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rochelle-walensky-cdc-director-uk-strain-coronavirus-face-the-nation/

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A key message re vaccines and the mutations

Angie Rasmussen: “All the data that we have so far suggests that even in situations where the vaccines might not protect completely against symptomatic COVID; they all seem to remain effective against severe COVID-19. And that’s really the most basic and most important thing that we want these vaccines to be able to do.”

[Also, mRNA vaccines will be easier to modify for new variants…and we may end up looking at mixing diff types of vaccines to boost activity]

https://www.medpagetoday.com/podcasts/trackthevax/91225?

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Israeli who was infected with the novel coronavirus in August was found to be reinfected with the South African variant.

four months after recovering from a first episode of COVID-19,

However, there have been reports of cases of reinfections even in people who have antibodies against the virus, with some cases being more severe with the reinfection.

https://www.jpost.com/health-science/patient-reinfected-with-south-african-covid-variant-in-serious-condition-658907

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab129/6132402

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Lack of sequencing to identify mutations in US is a huge problem

We do very little genomic testing. Martin Makary MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief, MedPage Today, suggests:

In addition to random sampling, we should order gene sequencing for all COVID-19 cases that meet any of the following criteria:

  1. Any COVID-19 re-infection
  2. Any COVID-19 death in a healthy person under age 50
  3. Any COVID-19 infection acquired after recent travel overseas
  4. Any COVID-19 infection that tested negative and later tested positive during the same sickness
  5. Any COVID-19 infection in which antibody therapy was ineffective and the patient’s condition worsened
  6. Any atypical COVID-19 infection

https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/marty-makary/91237?

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Neg covid test 72h prior along with DAILY testing at the conference (all were negative) did NOT prevent this from being a super spreader event… PSA: being indoors sans mask is NOT magically made safer because of a negative test result…24 people were infected.

 

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

History repeats:

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Christian Groups Turn Anti-Vax

Misinformation about COVID vaccines has been fueled in part by Christian groups, leaders, and social media influencers who are promulgating falsehoods that the vaccines contain fetal tissue and microchips, or are cultivating connections between vaccine ingredients and the devil, the Washington Post reports. Still others are making references to the Book of Revelation concerning vaccination and masking efforts.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/16/covid-vaccine-misinformation-evangelical-mark-beast/

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Doctors bring the fight to anti-vaxxers online

Health care workers are organizing online networks to promote Covid shots, strategically aiming to drown out vaccine opponents active on those sites.

“It’s turning into a military campaign, in terms of how we have to treat the opposition,” said an anesthesiologist who helped organize #ThisIsOurShot, a grassroots social media campaign created by doctors and nurses to drown out anti-vaxxers. (Politico)

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/15/social-media-anti-vaxxers-468946

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Anatomy of a Conspiracy

Leaders of many nations deliberately spread misinformation about the origin and spread of SARS-CoV-2, deflecting blame onto rivals in a geopolitical game of gossip-mongering, according to a joint investigation conducted by the Associated Press and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.

https://apnews.com/article/pandemics-beijing-only-on-ap-epidemics-media-122b73e134b780919cc1808f3f6f16e8

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Feel good du jour:

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The people of Kalkan in Turkey look after their strays so well. Always food and drink left out both in and outside of shops. They are chipped too and just happy living their lives roaming the town- it’s lovely

Ikea is apparently doing this in the UK, too.

Comic relief:

This whole thread is pretty funny. Start here:

Whole thread is here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1361778280521605122.html

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Perspective

I have serious ethical concerns about Covid vaccine challenge studies.

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Armed with a camera, a young ER doctor captures the faces of the COVID war

A Los Angeles emergency medicine doctor’s photos captured “that moment of calm right before the intubation, and the gravity of the situation” of hospital workers treating people with COVID-19. (Los Angeles Times)

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-15/los-angeles-county-usc-doctor-covid-photographer

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Bits of beauty:

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