Coronavirus Tidbits #134 4/10/21

Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit.

WordPress was possessed; hence the delay in getting out the weekend edition. Apologies.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.

News 

19.9% of Americans Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 per CDC

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Study finds link between COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health and neurological conditions

  • Study using electronic health records of 236,379 COVID-19 patients mostly from the USA estimates that one in three COVID-19 survivors (34%) were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection.
  • Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) were the most common. Neurological diagnoses such as stroke and dementia were rarer, but not uncommon in those who had been seriously ill during COVID-19 infection. For example, of those who had been admitted to intensive care, 7% had a stroke and almost 2% were diagnosed with dementia.
  • These diagnoses were more common in COVID-19 patients than in flu or respiratory tract infection patients over the same time period, suggesting a specific impact of COVID-19.
  • Authors say their findings should aid service planning and highlight need for ongoing research.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/tl-tlp040621.php

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366

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Mutations

Around 70% of coronavirus patients tested at a Tokyo hospital last month carried a mutation known for reducing vaccine protection,

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US coronavirus tracking can't keep up with concerning variants

The country has an enormous virus-sequencing capacity, but funding and coordination roadblocks are holding it back.

Nature  Amy Maxmen

As COVID-19 cases surge again in the United States, coronavirus variants are on the rise. But researchers fear that the country is ramping up surveillance of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 too slowly, allowing these variants — which evidence shows1,2 could make vaccines less effective — to spread undetected in one of the countries hit hardest by the disease.

Laboratories supported by the US government have doubled the rate at which they are sequencing SARS-CoV-2 genomes over the past two months. Still, the number of genomes that the country shared in the online genome repository GISAID in March represented only 1.6% of its positive COVID-19 cases that month. And the United States lags behind at least 30 countries in terms of the sequencing it has done throughout the pandemic, according to GISAID data.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00908-0

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine (BNT162b2) to expand the use in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age.

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Chinese COVID-19 vaccine maintains protection in variant-plagued Brazil 

Preliminary results from a large study of health care workers now suggest one dose of CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by a Chinese company, is still about 50% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a Brazilian city where more than three-fourths of new cases are caused by the highly transmissible variant known as P.1.

... suggesting the variant’s mutations have not increased SARS-CoV-2’s ability to evade vaccine-evoked immune responses.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/scienceinsider

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How could a COVID vaccine cause blood clots? Scientists race to investigate

Researchers are searching for possible links between unusual clotting and the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

The very rare occurrence of a mysterious blood-clotting disorder among some recipients of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has researchers scrambling to uncover whether and how the inoculation could trigger such an unusual reaction.

After weeks of investigation, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on 7 April that there is a possible link between the clots and the vaccine. Even so, the clotting disorder — described today in two reports in The New England Journal of Medicine1,2 — is so uncommon that the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh its risks, EMA executive director Emer Cooke told reporters. “These are very rare side effects,” she said. “The risk of mortality from COVID is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects.”

But the finding leaves researchers wrestling with a medical mystery: why would a vaccine trigger such an unusual condition? “Of course, there are hypotheses: maybe it’s something with the vector, maybe it’s an additive in the vaccine, maybe it’s something in the production process … I don’t know,” says Sabine Eichinger, a haematologist at the Medical University of Vienna. “It could be any of these things.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00940-0

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation's new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases,

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CDC updates guidance on cleaning surfaces based on ‘low’ risk for transmission

In most situations, regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent, not necessarily disinfecting those surfaces, is enough to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

The CDC now recommends cleaning and disinfecting any surface within 24 hours after contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Previously, it recommended cleaning or disinfecting indoor surfaces for up to 7 days in these situations, a CDC spokesperson told Healio.

https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20210406/cdc-updates-guidance-on-cleaning-surfaces-based-on-low-risk-for-transmission

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DHS Report: Environment unlikely to affect transmissibility of SARS-COV-2 variants

New research from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has found that the deactivating effects of heat and sunlight are consistent across different variants of the SARS-COV-2 virus – the virus that causes COVID-19.

In a report published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, S&T surmised that increased transmissibility of certain variants is not due to any differences in environmental survivability.

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https://twitter.com/KateClancy/status/1379074874019299329?s=20

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

Texas bans requiring vaccine passports

Texas Governor Greg Abbott today issued Executive Order GA-35 prohibiting state agencies or political subdivisions from creating a "vaccine passport" requirement in Texas.

And Gov. Abbott’s new Order issued on April 6, 2021, limits the ‘conditioning receipt of services' on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

This Order also prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status to receive any service or enter any place.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/vaccine-passports-stiff-armed-florida-and-texas

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https://twitter.com/TheAngryEpi/status/1378837935689146368?s=20

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Feel good du jour:

Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

Kati Kariko's Perseverance:

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https://twitter.com/EUAmbUS/status/1377394503703728131?s=20

Bits of beauty:

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