Coronavirus Tidbits #202 7/24/22

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;

Abortion Laws Deny Treatments Needed for Autoimmune Disease

medscape.com/viewarticle/977431

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Marburg, Monkeypox, And Other Viruses Emerging From Africa

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/07/17/marburg-monkeypox-and-other-viruses-emerging-from-africa/?sh=5b66148b78c7

 

News 

Covid:

More (mostly mild) side effects when flu vaccine given with COVID booster

Self-reported data from nearly 1 million Americans show an 8% to 11% higher rate of mostly mild systemic adverse events after simultaneous seasonal flu vaccine and mRNA COVID-19 booster (third) doses than with the COVID-19 booster alone.

In the study, published today in JAMA Network Open, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Response Team and Emory University analyzed rates of systemic adverse events among 981,099 Americans aged 12 years and older in the week after either simultaneous flu and COVID-19 booster doses or the booster alone from Sep 22, 2021, to May 1, 2022. Volunteers responded to at least one health survey through the CDC's smartphone-based v-safe monitoring system during the study period.

The authors noted that current clinical CDC guidance states that COVID-19 vaccines may be given without regard to timing of other vaccines, including during the same vaccination visit. Authorization of COVID-19 vaccine boosters in the United States coincided with the recommended period for flu vaccination, increasing the odds of simultaneous receipt.

Fatigue, headache, muscle aches most reported

Of the 981,099 volunteers, 92,023 (9.4%) reported having received simultaneous flu and COVID-19 booster vaccination. Of these participants, 59.7% were female, 40.6% were aged 12 to 49 years, 25.8% were 50 to 64, 27.0% were 65 to 74, and 6.6% were 75 or older.

A total of 58.9% of 61,390 participants who simultaneously received the flu vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster and 68.6% of 30,633 of those who simultaneously received the flu vaccine and the Moderna booster reported systemic adverse reactions.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/07/more-mostly-mild-side-effects-when-flu-vaccine-given-covid-booster

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Special report: As the pandemic raged, health care CEOs’ earnings surged

Last week an astronomer said images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope peering deep into the universe left him “gobsmacked.” I thought of that phrase when poring over the out-of-this-world earnings of health care high-rollers. A STAT team — Bob Herman, Kate Sheridan, J. Emory Parker, Adam Feuerstein, and Mohana Ravindranath — today delivers a project revealing that health care CEOs made an average of $15.3 million last year. Salaries made up less than 6% of pay, with the actual realized gains of executives’ stock awards and options making up the lion’s share. The top earner was Regeneron Pharmaceuticals CEO Leonard Schleifer, pulling in an astounding $453 million.

For context, the collective $4.5 billion CEOs pocketed is enough money to cover the annual health insurance of roughly 580,000 individual people. Or choose your own comparator: Teslas? iPhone 13s? Tuition? Single family homes?

Here’s how four sectors shook out:

  • CEOs of biotech and pharma occupied three of the top 10 spots on the compensation list, but also 11 of the top 25.
  • Median CEO pay among 11 providers and insurance companies sat at $30 million, the highest of any sector.

https://mailchi.mp/statnews/tk-tncyc6de8v-617608?e=5c09ee46b1

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In survey, COVID-19 vaccine recipients report changes in menstrual bleeding

A new analysis of reports from more than 35,000 people offers the most comprehensive assessment so far of menstrual changes experienced by pre- and post-menopausal individuals in the first two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Published in the journal Science Advances, the study adds to the evidence that significant numbers of people experience this unexpected side effect.

"Menstruating and formerly menstruating people began sharing that they experienced unexpected bleeding after being administered a COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021," the scientists who led the study wrote. Because vaccine trials typically do not ask about menstrual cycles or bleeding, this side effect was largely ignored or dismissed.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-survey-covid-vaccine-recipients-menstrual.html

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Officials reorganize HHS to boost pandemic response

Plan would elevate ASPR, which plays key role in emergencies, to be an agency on par with CDC, FDA

The Biden administration is reorganizing the federal health department to create an independent division that would lead the nation’s pandemic response, amid frustrations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The move elevates a roughly 1,000-person team — known as the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or ASPR — into a separate division, charged with coordinating the nation’s response to health emergencies, according to seven people briefed on the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.

The reorganization allows the division “to mobilize a coordinated national response more quickly and stably during future disasters and emergencies while equipping us with greater hiring and contracting capabilities,” Dawn O’Connell, who leads ASPR and would run the new division, wrote to staff members Wednesday afternoon. The emailed memo was shared with The Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/07/20/biden-administration-aspr-independent-division/

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Monkeypox:

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New York City pursues one-dose monkeypox vaccine strategy, defying U.S. advice

Flying in the face of CDC and FDA guidance on monkeypox vaccination, New York City — the country’s epicenter with one-third of reported cases — will deliver first doses of vaccine to people at high risk rather than holding back second doses. Second appointments would follow once the city has more supply. It’s an approach also being taken in the U.K. and Canada.

The vaccine, Jynneos, is designed to be given in two doses, 28 days apart. It’s offered to people who are known contacts of monkeypox cases and men who have sex with men who are at high risk because they have multiple sex partners or partake in anonymous sex. For that latter group, “you just need a higher level of protection than one dose will give you,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told STAT’s Helen Branswell. “That’s really why we’re advocating for two doses.”

https://mailchi.mp/statnews/tk-tncyc6de8v-617608?e=5c09ee46b1

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Other:

63% Increase in Zoonotic Outbreaks in Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported Africa is facing a growing risk of outbreaks caused by zoonotic pathogens, such as the monkeypox virus, which originated in animals and then switched species and infected humans.

There has been a 63% increase in zoonotic outbreaks in the region from 2012-2022 compared to 2001-2011.

The WHO analysis published on July 14, 2022, found that between 2001-2022 there were 1843 substantiated public health events recorded in the WHO African region.

Thirty percent of these events were zoonotic disease outbreaks.

While these numbers have increased over the past two decades, there was a particular spike in 2019 and 2020 when zoonotic pathogens represented around 50% of public health events.

Ebola Virus Disease and other viral hemorrhagic fevers constitute nearly 70% of these outbreaks, with dengue fever, anthrax, plague, monkeypox, and a range of other diseases making up the remaining 30%.

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2022/07/17/63-increase-zoonotic-outbreaks-africa

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Polio - NYC

 

Diagnostics:

Drugs and Vaccines

Pfizer vaccine 83% effective against hospital Omicron illness in kids 5 to 11

In 5- to 11-year-old children, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were 36.8% effective in preventing all SARS-CoV-2 infections, 63.5% against test-confirmed cases, and 82.7% against hospitalization amid the Omicron variant surge in Singapore, finds a real-world study published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Jul 20 NEJM study

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/07/covid-19-scan-jul-21-2022

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As new variant spreads, a crucial drug to protect the most vulnerable goes vastly underused

https://www.statnews.com/2022/07/22/evusheld-covid-drug-for-immunocompromised-underused/?

If you are immunocompromised, ask your doc about EVUSHIELD!

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Monoclonal Antibody Bebtelovimab effective vs variants 

Calls for key Covid drug #Bebtelovimab to be made available outside US - effective vs BA.4 and BA.5 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-key-covid-drug.html via @medical_xpress #Monoclonals

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Devices and Masks:

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

High blood pressure tied to 2.6 times risk of severe COVID

Risk factors for hospitalization included hypertension, older age, chronic kidney disease (CKD), heart attack (myocardial infarction [MI] or heart failure [HF]), and a longer interval between the last vaccine dose and infection.

Hypertension, which carried a 2.6-fold increased risk, superseded all other risk factors in importance—even after excluding patients with CKD, MI, or HF and those taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). Other previously identified risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as obesity and diabetes, weren't as strongly linked to hospitalization amid Omicron.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/07/covid-19-omicron-patients-high-blood-pressure-doubles-risk-hospitalization

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CDC stops tracking COVID cases on cruise ships

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-cdc-tracking-covid-cases-cruise.html?

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Long Covid:

Monkeypox:

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Mask.

Vax.

Politics:

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Covid:

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Climate:

Public Health:

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GOP:

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Jan 6/Cheney

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Guns:

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Antisemitism:

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White Christian Nationalism:

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Abortion/Contraception:

https://twitter.com/sarah_t_agate/status/1548455358925905920?s=20&t=zrh1dSExKboTE6OURyGEkw

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LGBT:

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Alabama/Child labor:

Missouri:

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Pennsylvania/Oz:

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https://twitter.com/MeidasTouch/status/1549860966266851330?s=20&t=zrh1dSExKboTE6OURyGEkw

Puerto Rico:

South Carolina:

Texas:

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Ukraine/Russia/Other:

Jewish doctors secretly documented the medical effects of Nazi starvation policies in book recently rediscovered

Exactly 80 years ago, a group of starving Jewish scientists and doctors in the Warsaw Ghetto were collecting data on their starving patients. They hoped their research would benefit future generations through better ways to treat malnutrition, and they wanted the world to know of Nazi atrocities to prevent something similar from ever happening again. They recorded the grim effects of an almost complete lack of food on the human body in a rare book titled "Maladie de Famine" (in English, "The Disease of Starvation: Clinical Research on Starvation in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942") that we recently rediscovered in the Tufts University library.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-jewish-doctors-secretly-documented-medical.html?

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Feel good du jour:

Nephrologist Donates Kidney to Patient

— Transplant nephrologist was perfect match for patient-turned-friend

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/99852?

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https://twitter.com/kacungira/status/1548136669076869120?s=20&t=zrh1dSExKboTE6OURyGEkw

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Comic relief:

Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

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