Coronavirus Tidbits #162 10/17/21

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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.

Recent articles:

Transparency in Communications Is Essential for Trust

A few days ago, my local hospital announced it was on “diversion.⁠” The “explanation” from UPMC was cryptic and unsatisfying. The hospital diverted ambulances to other communities more than 75 minutes away over mountain roads. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/959819 ~ ~ ~

First Drug for Dengue Found to Be Effective in Mice

Researchers at KU Leuven Rega Institute and Center for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), Leuven, Belgium, have identified a new target for treating dengue in collaboration with Jannsen Pharmaceutica, NV. As reported in Nature, the antiviral compound showed strong activity in mice for prophylaxis against dengue and for treatment of the infection. Dengue is a viral infection acquired through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/960589

News 

COVID lesson: trust the public with hard truths

When governments assume that people will panic, that exacerbates the pandemic.

Nature Michael Bang Petersen

Of the many fears during the pandemic, one has been particularly pernicious: governments’ fear of their people. Former US president Donald Trump admitted to playing down the risks of the coronavirus to “reduce panic”. Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, blamed the press for causing “hysteria”. The UK government delayed its lockdown, fearing the British population would rapidly become fatigued by restrictions. And, in my home country of Denmark, the authorities tried not to draw public attention to pandemic preparations in early 2020, to avoid “unnecessary fear”.

But Denmark pivoted to a strategy of trusting its citizens with hard truths. The buy-in that ensued led to low death rates and laid the groundwork for a vaccination rate of 95% for everyone aged above 50 (and 75% for the population in general). In September 2021, my country announced that COVID-19 is no longer classified as a “critical threat”.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02758-2

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Diagnostics:

A new way to prevent COVID-related clots and a biomarker that spots who’s at highest risk

Moderately ill patients hospitalized after a COVID diagnosis and who had elevated blood levels of a protein known as d-dimer, were at especially high risk for dangerous clots. Treating these patients with a high-dose of the blood thinner called low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) significantly reduced the potential for clot formation and death.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-10-covid-related-clots-biomarker-highest.html?

Drugs and Vaccines

A primer on what we know about mixing and matching Covid vaccines

STAT By Helen Branswell

Later this week an expert committee that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hear about the results of a clinical trial that could influence how Covid vaccines are used in this country at some point in the future. The trial, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a so-called mix-and-match trial, testing the Covid vaccines authorized in the U.S. in combinations with each other.

The goal of the trial was to see whether using a different vaccine as a booster shot improves protection. So does getting a dose of Pfizer vaccine after getting a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trigger production of more antibodies than a second dose of the J&J would? Are the messenger RNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna virtually interchangeable, or does switching even there produce a broader set of immune responses?

This isn’t theoretical. The booster shot most vaccinated Americans are in the process of getting or booking may not be the last needed.

https://www.statnews.com/2021/10/12/a-primer-on-what-we-know-about-mixing-and-matching-covid-vaccines/?

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WHO advisers recommend 3rd COVID vaccine dose for highest-risk groups

World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine advisers met last week to discuss and weigh in on several vaccine issues, including a recommendation that people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Vaccine-related developments

The group, called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), said people in the immunocompromised groups should be offered an additional dose in the vaccine series, since they are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination with the standard series and are at high risk for severe disease.

WHO leaders have previously urged countries to postpone broader use of booster doses to free up more vaccine for countries that had much less access to supplies.

SAGE said its third-dose recommendation applies to all vaccines that the WHO has approved for emergency use. They include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/10/who-advisers-recommend-3rd-covid-vaccine-dose-highest-risk-groups

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To Boost or Not to Boost After COVID?

– In those with “hybrid immunity,” booster could be helpful but probably not necessary, experts say 

[This is after natural infection and vax x 2.]

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Molnupiravir Hype Illustrates America’s Failure to Prioritize Prevention

– Vaccination remains the best tool to combat the virus

https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/second-opinions/94957?

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Devices:

Detailed review on Masks

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/10/commentary-what-can-masks-do-part-1-science-behind-covid-19-protection

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‘Astounding’ new study shows using a pulse oximeter saves COVID patients’ lives 

When my daughter returned to school this fall, I sent a care package that was perfect for a college student living through a pandemic. It included cookies, a coffee mug – and a pulse oximeter.

A pulse oximeter is a small device that clips on your finger and measures your blood oxygen levels. Even though my daughter and her friends are all vaccinated against COVID-19, I wanted her to have the device handy just in case she got a breakthrough infection.

Many people first learned about a pulse oximeter in the early days of the pandemic, after doctors warned that some patients with COVID-19 develop a form of oxygen deprivation called “silent hypoxia,” which occurs when blood oxygen levels drop so slowly that a patient doesn’t notice anything is wrong. Often these patients are so ill by the time they get to the hospital that they need to be put on a ventilator.

New research from South Africa shows that using a pulse oximeter to check oxygen levels after a COVID diagnosis really does save lives. For the study, 8,115 high-risk patients were given a pulse oximeter to use at home after COVID-19 was diagnosed. The study focused on the highest-risk patients, including older people, those who were pregnant or those with chronic illnesses like heart disease, hypertension or diabetes.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation/astounding-new-study-shows-using-a-pulse-oximeter-saves-covid-patients-lives/

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In particular, scroll to point 9 (CO2 monitoring) on the #CDC page on Ventilation in Buildings under their COVID guidance. “If unable to get below 800 ppm, increased reliance on enhanced air filtration (including HEPA air cleaners) will be necessary.”

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ventilation.html

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

The number of new Covid-19 cases in children remains “exceptionally high,” with 148,222 cases reported in the week ending October 7, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics published Monday. Children represented nearly a quarter of weekly reported Covid-19 cases, the AAP said. ~ ~ ~

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Healthcare has lost more than half a million workers since February 2020, mainly in nursing and residential facilities. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

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Chiropractors Lead Anti-Vax Charge

An Associated Press investigation found that chiropractors are leading the charge on COVID-19 misinformation by organizing, protesting, and spreading anti-vaccine falsehoods — even selling Facebook ads and leading groups that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for anti-vaccine political causes.

Some chiropractors have long been involved in movements for “freedom of choice” and one chiropractic association took a public stance that questioned vaccinations. Among medical professionals in Oregon (the state tracks data on healthcare provider vaccinations), chiropractors were the least likely of any licensed health professional to have been vaccinated for COVID-19, at just 58%.

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When you see @CNN attacking Biden, don’t forget, they are owned by @ATT, which OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr. testified that AT&T executives were the ones who told him to launch the network.

I don’t support those that support undermining our democracy. AT&T contributes to politicians who support insurrection and disenfranchisement, and also bankrolls OAN. #HangUpOnATT

The CEO of @ATT is #JohnStankey Email him at js9991@att.com OR john.stankey@att.com They fund #OAN that promote and have promoted Vaccine Lies, #ElectionFraud lies, and supported the #CapitolCoup

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A school administrator in Southlake, Texas, advised teachers last week that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have a book with an “opposing” perspective. Listen to the audio recording obtained by @NBCNews: https://nbcnews.to/2YNVugH

Feel good du jour:

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden_/status/1447120236633903105?s=20

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

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Bits of beauty:

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