Coronavirus Tidbits #188 April 17, 2022

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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 posts:

Run Into a Rabid Animal? What to Know

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971878

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Nontuberculous (Atypical) Mycobacterial Lung Disease Challenging to Treat

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971985

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The Gridiron Club Dinner Was a Predictable Superspreader Event

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/972051

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What’s Causing A Sudden Outbreak Of Hepatitis In Kids In Europe And The US?’

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/04/16/whats-causing-a-sudden-outbreak-of-hepatitis-in-kids-in-europe-and-the-us/?sh=1f4e89de1e4a

 

News 

The 7-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases is 33,691, with 513 daily deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.

Daily case counts are up 22% in the past 2 weeks.

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Going into the holiday weekend…

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New York reports on emergence of Omicron subvariants

The New York State Department of Health today announced the emergence of two Omicron subvariants in New York State, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1. Both variants are sub-lineages of BA.2, which now accounts for 80.6% of COVID-19 infections in New York. The subvariants have been estimated to have a 23% – 27% growth advantage above the original BA.2 variant.

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/new-york-reports-on-emergence-of-omicron-subvariants-81368/

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CDC extends travel mask requirement to May 3 as COVID rises

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is extending the nationwide mask requirement for airplanes and public transit for 15 days as it monitors an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-cdc-mask-requirement-covid.html?

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COVID-19 inflammation-not SARS-CoV-2-may be behind loss of smell

Local COVID-related inflammation, rather than the virus itself, may cause the common early symptom of loss of smell, according to a postmortem study published yesterday in JAMA Neurology.

Johns Hopkins researchers led the multicenter study, which involved examining the olfactory bulb at the base of the brain of 23 deceased COVID-19 patients and 14 matched controls who died of other causes from Apr 7, 2020, to Sep 11, 2021.

lead author Cheng-Ying Ho, MD, PhD, said that COVID-19 decedents had more severe vascular injury and far fewer axons in the olfactory bulb-particularly those with diminished or total loss of smell, “strongly suggesting that these effects aren’t age related and therefore, are linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Ho said she was surprised that, despite nerve and vascular damage in COVID-19 decedents, most had no detectable SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the olfactory bulb. “Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection of the olfactory epithelium leads to inflammation, which in turn, damages the neurons, reduces the numbers of axons available to send signals to the brain, and results in the olfactory bulb becoming dysfunctional,” she said.

In a JAMA Neurology audio interview, Ho said that long-term loss of smell occurs in about 1% of people and may be preventable. “If inflammation is the major cause of the injury in olfactory structures, it is possible that we may be able to use anti-inflammatory agent as the treatment,” she said.
Apr 11 JAMA Neurol study and audio interview
Apr 11 Johns Hopkins Medicine press release

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/04/news-scan-apr-12-2022

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A way to prevent loss of smell and taste from COVID-19

Loss of smell and taste-a hallmark symptom of COVID-19-was not on the minds of a group of Yale School of Medicine researchers when they embarked on a study in the spring of 2020.

The scientists, led by Joseph Vinetz, MD, an infectious diseases specialist, were interested to find out if an oral medication used to treat pancreatitis could reduce the viral load (the amount of virus in your body) of SARS-CoV-2 and improve symptoms in people newly diagnosed with COVID-19.

The study, which is available on a preprint site and has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, ran from June 2020 to April 2021. It showed that the medication, called camostat mesylate, did little to lessen viral load. But, to the researchers’ surprise, it brought a different type of benefit. “The patients who received the drug didn’t lose any sense of smell or taste. That was a ‘wow’ factor,” says Dr. Vinetz.

This matters because loss of smell, known as anosmia, and loss of taste are common COVID-19 symptoms. For many, the senses return as the infection fades. But for others, the effect lingers in varying degrees. (With the omicron variant, those symptoms can still occur, but not as often as it has with other variants.)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-loss-covid-.html

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Vision-Threatening Retinal Condition Linked to COVID-19

– Rates of rare retinal vein occlusion jumped after infection, although overall numbers remain low

https://www.medpagetoday.com/ophthalmology/generalophthalmology/98212?

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Acute Upper Airway Disease in Children With the Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variant of SARS-CoV-2-A Report From the US National COVID Cohort Collaborative

SARS-CoV-2-positive pediatric UAI rates increased during the Omicron surge. More than one-fifth of children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 and UAI developed severe disease. Given the high proportion of UAI cases during the Omicron period, these results appear to support recent mechanistic reports. A limitation of this analysis is that diagnosis codes will only be present for completed encounters; as such, children who are still hospitalized are not represented, and the frequency of severe disease observed in the Omicron period may be an underestimate.

Children with severe UAI are at risk of cardiac arrest from rapid-onset upper airway obstruction. They may require therapies typically provided in intensive care units, including frequent administration of nebulized racemic epinephrine, helium-oxygen mixtures, and intubation. While the rate of SARS-CoV-2 pediatric UAI is not overwhelmingly high, understanding this new clinical phenotype and the potential for acute upper airway obstruction may help guide therapeutic decision-making.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2791278

Diagnostics:

Rising infections, no more free tests: how ‘living with COVID’ could affect case numbers in England

https://theconversation.com/rising-infections-no-more-free-tests-how-living-with-covid-could-affect-case-numbers-in-england-180598

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Drugs and Vaccines:

Study tracks COVID-19 antibodies over time

The antibodies generated by Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine rise more slowly and decline more quickly than those generated by the Moderna vaccine, according to a new study from UVA Health. The study also finds that older recipients of the Pfizer vaccine generated fewer antibodies than did younger recipients-but this wasn’t the case for Moderna, where age did not appear to be a factor.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-tracks-covid-antibodies.html?

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Fourth Pfizer Dose Averts Most Severe COVID Outcomes in Older Adults

– But expert questions what the ultimate goal of boosters should be

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/98200?

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Already got COVID? Vaccines, boosters up to 68% effective against hospitalization from reinfection, CDC study shows

Immunity from a bout of COVID-19 may provide some protection against the virus, but a new study suggests it may not be enough to keep you out of the hospital.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-covid-vaccines-boosters-effective-hospitalization.html?

Devices:

Keep masking – especially indoors. Covid’s not over!

Long Covid can follow even minor infections.

Epidemiology/Infection control:

People at risk of future heart disease and stroke may be at greater risk for severe COVID-19

New research to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Lisbon, Portugal (23-26 April), suggests that people with elevated risk of developing a stroke or heart attack over the next 10 years (but without existing cardiovascular disease [CVD]) who contract COVID-19, are nearly three times as likely to be hospitalized and require treatment in intensive care, and six times as likely to die from COVID-19, compared to those at low cardiovascular risk.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-people-future-heart-disease-greater.html?

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Brazilian study finds COVID-19 cases and deaths higher in areas with electoral support for President Bolsonaro

In a study to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Lisbon, Portugal (23-26 April), researchers from Sociedade Mineira de Infectologia and Associação Mineira de Epidemiologia e Controle de Infecções show a correlation between the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s denialist attitude to COVID-19 and higher COVID-19 incidence and mortality.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-brazilian-covid-cases-deaths-higher.html?

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Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Wear a good mask.

Ignore certain pundits telling you “We are no longer prioritizing avoiding the virus over living our lives.” Care for the most vulnerable.

Politics:

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GOP

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Voting

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Russia

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Texas

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Florida

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Mississippi

Nebraska

LGBTQ

https://twitter.com/Esqueer_/status/1512571612880588805?s=20&t=Vt6syqt1-XqPDta4wmBkVA

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Khashoggi/Jared

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Amazon, PG&E, corporations

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Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

pretty funny thread

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden_/status/1515397416001970184?s=20&t=kl2-3lIZm6yVeV_SvdrYMQ

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden_/status/1513609813384650759?s=20&t=kl2-3lIZm6yVeV_SvdrYMQ

Perspective/Poem

Excellent thread. Rest here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1511774723335618562.html

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Rana Arab-Jewish women’s Choir – “Had Gadya” / 15th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony

Listen all the way through…or start ~3:30 for a new take on this traditional Passover song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPzG62Y3l4M

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Bits of beauty:

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