Coronavirus Tidbits #141 5/23/21

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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.

Still seeking help for our friends in India, or

How this nice Jewish girl ended up starting a GoFundMe for Touch Ministries…

LWH Hospital urgently needs help, so I have set up a GoFundMe for supplies.  Donations are tax-deductible for this charity.


China, Fauci and the Origins of Covid

Did the virus come from a Chinese lab funded by the celebrated doctor’s U.S. government institute?

Before Covid-19 ravaged the world, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded coronavirus research that included work at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The idea was to study the ability of such viruses to attack humans, but could a Fauci-funded experiment actually be the source of the deadly global infection? In an exhaustive account of the viral possibilities published this week by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nicholas Wade argues that the Chinese lab is the most likely source of the world-wide agony.

or (paywalled)

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Healthy young adults who had COVID-19 may have long-term impact on blood vessels and heart health

New research published in Experimental Physiology highlight the possible long term health impacts of COVID-19 on young, relatively healthy adults who were not hospitalized and who only had minor symptoms due to the virus.

Increased stiffness of arteries in particular was found in young adults, which may impact heart health, and can also be important for other populations who may have had severe cases of the virus. This means that young, healthy adults with mild COVID-19 symptoms may increase their risk of cardiovascular complications which may continue for some time after COVID-19 infection.

While SARS-CoV-2, the virus known for causing the COIVD-19 pandemic, is mainly characterized by respiratory symptoms, other studies have recently shown changes to blood vessel function among young adults 3-4 weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (Ratchford et al., 2021).

This has also been observed months after infection in older adults as well (Riou et al. J Clin Med. 2021).

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CDC Change–Now Only Reporting Breakthrough Infection Cases

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently confirmed it is transitioning to reporting ‘only patients with COVID-19 vaccine Breakthrough Infection hospitalized or died to help maximize the quality of the data collected.’

That change in reporting will begin on May 14, 2021.

As of April 26:

The key demographics were Females 63%; People aged ≥60 years 45%; Asymptomatic infections 27%; Hospitalizations 9%; and Deaths 1%.

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Tell all the antivaxxers in your community:

University of Miami researchers report COVID-19 found in penile tissue could contribute to Erectile Dysfunction

First to demonstrate COVID-19 present in penis tissue long after COVID-19 recovery

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers are the first to demonstrate that COVID-19 can be present in the penis tissue long after men recover from the virus.

The widespread blood vessel dysfunction, or endothelial dysfunction, that results from the COVID-19 infection could then contribute to erectile dysfunction, or ED, according to the study recently published in the World Journal of Men’s Health. Endothelial dysfunction is a condition in which the lining of the small blood vessels fails to perform all of its functions normally. As a result, the tissues supplied by those vessels could undergo damage.

“Our research shows that COVID-19 can cause widespread endothelial dysfunction in organ systems beyond the lungs and kidneys.


still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

Organ transplant recipients remain vulnerable to COVID-19 even after second vaccine dose

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers urge people who are immunocompromised to strictly follow COVID-19 safety measures, even after vaccination

In a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers show that although two doses of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID 19 — confers some protection for people who have received solid organ transplants, it’s still not enough to enable them to dispense with masks, physical distancing and other safety measures.

This is a follow-up study to an earlier one published in March in JAMA, in which the researchers reported that only 17% of the participating transplant recipients produced sufficient antibodies after just one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen.

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Mix-and-match COVID vaccines trigger potent immune response

Preliminary results from a trial of more than 600 people are the first to show the benefits of combining different vaccines.

Vaccinating people with both the Oxford–AstraZeneca and Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines produces a potent immune response against the virus SARS-CoV-2, researchers conducting a study in Spain have found.

Preliminary results from the trial of more than 600 people — announced in an online presentation on 18 May — are the first to show the benefits of combining different coronavirus vaccines. A UK trial of a similar strategy reported1 safety data last week, and is expected to deliver further findings on immune responses soon.

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Latin America will be a key beneficiary as the U.S. frees up COVID-19 vaccine doses for export. (Reuters)

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The vaccination rate in Ohio increased 28% after Gov. Mike DeWine announced a $1 million lottery for five lucky vaccinated residents. Maryland and New York also jumped aboard the vaccination lottery train. (The HillReuters)


Op-Ed: What Was CDC Thinking With Its New Mask Guidance?

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Just 2% of SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals carry 90% of the virus circulating in communities


We analyzed data from saliva-based COVID-19 screening deployed on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Our dataset is unique in that all SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals reported no symptoms at the time of saliva collection, and therefore were infected but asymptomatic or presymptomatic. We found that 1) the distribution of viral loads observed in our asymptomatic college population was indistinguishable from what has been reported in hospitalized populations; 2) regardless of symptomatic status, approximately 50% of individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 seem to be in noninfectious phases of the infection; and 3) just 2% of infected individuals carry 90% of the virions circulating within communities, serving as viral “supercarriers” and likely also superspreaders.

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Inadequate Indoor Air Ventilation Creates Significant COVID-19 Risk

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new science brief on May 7, 2021, to reflect current knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 beta coronavirus transmission.

The CDC stated ‘the principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 is through exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious virus, and less from surfaces.’

Furthermore, virus exposure occurs in three principal ways: (1) inhalation of very fine respiratory droplets and aerosol particles, (2) deposition of respiratory droplets and particles on exposed mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, or eye by direct splashes and sprays, and (3) touching mucous membranes with hands that have been soiled either directly by virus-containing respiratory fluids or indirectly by touching surfaces with the virus on them.

People release respiratory fluids during quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing in the form of droplets. These droplets carry SARS-CoV-2 and transmit infection.

Specifically, the largest droplets settle out of the air rapidly, within seconds to minutes. And the smallest, very fine droplets and aerosol particles can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours.

The CDC says to avoid ‘enclosed spaces with inadequate air ventilation and prolonged virus exposure of more than 15 minutes.’

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To prevent next pandemic, scientists say we must regulate air like food and water

Humans in the 21st century spend most of their time indoors, but the air we breathe inside buildings is not regulated to the same degree as the food we eat and the water we drink. A group of 39 researchers from 14 countries, including two from the University of Colorado Boulder, say that needs to change to reduce disease transmission and prevent the next pandemic.

In a Perspectives piece published in Science May 14, they call for a “paradigm shift” in combating airborne pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, demanding universal recognition that respiratory infections can be prevented by improving indoor ventilation systems.

“Air can contain viruses just as water and surfaces do,” said co-author Shelly Miller, professor of mechanical and environmental engineering. “We need to understand that it’s a problem and that we need to have, in our toolkit, approaches to mitigating risk and reducing the possible exposures that could happen from build-up of viruses in indoor air.”

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Russians infected with crossover flu virus suggests possibility of another pandemic

Two virus researchers in China are recommending security measures after seven Russian farm workers became infected with a crossover flu virus last year. In their Perspectives piece published in the journal Science, Weifeng Shi and George Gao, both of whom are affiliated with multiple institutions in China, suggest that the makeup and history of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza virus threaten the possibility of another pandemic.

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Nurses Union Blasts ‘Dangerous’ CDC Mask Guidance

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Can We Spread COVID After Vaccination?

— What are the risks, and what the science says

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Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Exercise can help support recovery of patients with lasting COVID symptoms, study finds

Patients with lasting symptoms of COVID-19 who completed a six week, supervised rehabilitation programme demonstrated significant improvements in exercise capacity, respiratory symptoms, fatigue and cognition, according to researchers at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

The study, which is published in the journal Chronic Respiratory Disease today (Friday 7 May 2021), followed thirty patients who took part in face-to-face exercise rehabilitation classes twice a week over a period of six weeks. The programme included aerobic exercise, such as walking or using a treadmill, strength training of the arms and legs, and educational discussions to support symptom management based upon the information on the Your COVID Recovery platform.


Trust for America’s Health calls for robust public health system funding

America’s historically underfunded public health system played a major role in the nation’s laggard COVID-19 response, according to a new report released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).

And while it’s too soon to calculate with precision, it is likely that the United States might have averted spending much of the trillions of dollars that the COVID-19 pandemic cost if it had invested just a few billion dollars more in public health spending earlier, write the authors of The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2021.

“What the system urgently needs is sustained, predictable funding that allows it to grow and maintain its workforce and invest in modern data systems and all-hazards preparedness planning on a year-in, year-out basis,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of TFAH, a non-partisan public health policy, research and advocacy organization.

And as a reminder—over 50,000 public health positions were cut across the US between 2008 and 2016.

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‘Swept under the carpet’: When health records are held ransom, patients are the hardest hit — and last to know

Health care systems are an increasingly vulnerable — and valuable — ransomware target. When they’re attacked, patients pay a price, too. ~ ~ ~

Providing medications for free leads to greater adherence and cost-savings, study shows

Free access to essential medicines increases patient adherence to taking medication by 35 percent and reduces total health spending by an average of over $1,000 per patient per year, according to a two-year study that tested the effects of providing patients with free and convenient access to a carefully selected set of medications.

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Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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Bits of beauty:


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