Coronavirus Tidbits #220 11/19/22


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.

With Twitter taking a nosedive and likely to soon be destroyed by Musk, the format here will likely be evolving. There will be no embedded tweets and fewer pictures to break things up. I will take screenshots of some tweets for visuals for now, but formatting probably won't be uniform.

Please let me know how these changes are working for you. It's a nightmare for me--Twitter is THE best place for real time infectious disease news and misc news, especially that not covered by mainstream press.


@Bob_Casey   Nov 16
Since coming to Washington, @ReverendWarnock has delivered results for the people of Georgia. His character, integrity, and heart of service distinguishes him in this race. And, let's be clear: winning Georgia is CRITICAL. Here's what it means if we have a 51-49 Senate
1. Committee power. In a 50-50 Senate, we govern with a power share agreement, where Committees have an equal number of Democrats & Republicans. That means nominees (like judges) can deadlock and cost floor time to break ties. No ties = faster legislative & confirmation process.
This also means that if Republicans boycott Committees, we can't even take votes to begin with, since we need a simple numerical majority to be able to conduct Committee business. This literally happened earlier this year on the Banking Committee.

How to help reelect Senator Warnock:

From a trusted friend there: We present a selected list of some of the many Georgia-based organizations that are doing critical runoff election work *right now* across the state specifically to *get out the vote for the runoff*, with a special emphasis on organizations that focus on and are led by women and people of color. Even a small-dollar donation will make a difference.

Please click on the public Facebook post ( to see details.

NOPE Neighbors also recommends:

The Black Male Initiative Fund

Black Voters Matter

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR)

New Georgia Project

Fair Fight



New-onset diabetes risk higher in recovering COVID-19 patients

People recovering from COVID-19 are at higher risk of a new diabetes diagnosis, a research team from Beijing reported this week in BMC Medicine. Their findings come from a meta-analysis of nine studies that included nearly 40 million participants, the largest of its kind.

They note that an increased risk of diabetes has also been found for other viruses, but their analysis shows a 20% higher risk of developing diabetes following COVID compared to patients with other upper respiratory viruses and an 82% increased risk compared to the general population.

Possible mechanisms include the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on pancreatic cells and the cytokine storm in those who have an exaggerated immune response to the virus, which might promote insulin resistance.

The researchers wrote that their findings reinforce the need for clinicians to pay attention to patients' glucose metabolism in the post-acute phase of COVID-19, especially in the first 3 months following infection.

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U.S. COVID public health emergency to stay in place

WASHINGTON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The United States will keep in place the public health emergency status of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing millions of Americans to still receive free tests, vaccines and treatments, two Biden administration officials said on Friday.

The possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases and the need for more time to transition out of the public health emergency to a private market were two factors that contributed to the decision not to end the emergency status in January, one of the officials said.

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Hospitalized or Not, COVID Symptoms Persist in Many After 2 Years

— Fatigue, pain, and memory loss cited most frequently

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Second year of pandemic deadlier for middle aged than the first, analysis finds

The first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in mortality rates, both from COVID-19 and other causes, but the groups hardest hit shifted between the first and second years, according to an analysis of publicly available data.

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Association between diabetes medication and less severe cases of COVID-19

Published in PLOS ONE, a study led by the University of Minnesota Medical School studied adults with type 2 diabetes who were taking metformin, a commonly prescribed diabetes medication. Researchers found an association with less severe cases of COVID-19 for those prescribed metformin. These findings were part of an observational study that analyzed electronic medical charts and compared adults who were taking either metformin, a sulfonylurea or a DPP-4 inhibitor.

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AmerAcadPeds asked @POTUS to declare emergency 

"Infants 6 months & younger are getting hospitalized w/ RSV at more than 7x rate observed b4 the Covid-19 pandemic in 2018, according to data from @CDCgov."


Study describes #monkeypox in women; As much as 25% of infections in women were not linked to sexual transmission

CDC warns of #Tpoxx resistance   @CIDRAP

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Alcohol hand rubs are Efficient at Inactivating Monkeypox Virus (WHO Recommended Hand Rub Formulations and Alcohols)

Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 29, Number 1—January 2023


3 Ebola vaccine candidates will be shipped next week to Uganda for a clinical trial,

@WHO chief @DrTedros said yesterday; there’s no proven vaccine for the Sudan strain of Ebola, which is fueling #Uganda’s current outbreak.
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To beat Ebola in Uganda, fund what worked in Liberia

Nature  Mosoka P. Fallah  15 November 2022

When Ebola reached Kampala, the capital of Uganda, in September, I was reminded of a spine-chilling phone call I received in August 2014. “Leave everything and come down: Ebola has entered West Point.” West Point is a poor, densely populated peninsula, home to 70,000 people, in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. From there, we feared the disease could explode across the country.

How did we eventually get to zero Ebola cases in Liberia? By using some unconventional approaches. We supplied illicit drugs to gang members and food to armed robbers so that we could trace their contacts in West Point. Above all, we learnt that mobilizing communities to help themselves is crucial to containing Ebola.

I was head of case detection in Liberia during that crisis. Now, from Ethiopia, I manage the COVID-19 programme of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provide guidance to our Ebola response team in Uganda.

So far, at least 53 people in Uganda have died of the Sudan species of Ebola virus. Unlike the Zaire species in the West Africa crisis, the Sudan virus has no approved vaccines or therapeutics. Several weeks ago, cases were found among schoolchildren in Kampala. Yet Ebola response workers meet with denial and resistance, indicating that a fundamental lack of trust is holding back the response.

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Other infections:

The Lanzhou Brucella Leak: The Largest Laboratory Accident in the History of Infectious Diseases?

Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 75, Issue 10, 15 November 2022, Pages 1845–1847,

An inadequacy in sanitizing processes in a biopharmaceutical plant in Lanzhou, China, during July and August 2019, led to the aerosolization of Brucella that was subsequently spread through wind to nearby settlements and academic institutes, resulting in .10 000 human brucellosis cases, as of November 2020. The leak, possibly the largest laboratory accident in the history of infectious diseases, underlines the particular characteristics of Brucella that have made the pathogen a historical entity in biodefense research and a major cause of laboratory-associated infections. It further underlines the need for enhanced vigilance and strict regulatory interventions in similar facilities.

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#Enoki mushrooms linked to #Listeria outbreak Michigan #Nevada

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`Indonesia: Extraordinary Event (KLB) Declared In Aceh After Child Diagnosed With #Polio'

Indonesia had been polio free since 2014. This new case likely is just the start.

Fewer than 1% of those infected develop paralysis, while the rest are either asymptomatic or have flu-like illness.  All, however, can shed the polio virus for weeks, meaning that 1 case of paralysis very probably indicates a much larger outbreak. 

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Measles outbreak in Ohio:

24 unvaccinated #children in Columbus, #Ohio, have been infected with measles, and 9 have been hospitalized; the outbreak was first reported last week with just 4 confirmed cases.



Researchers may have found a new biomarker for acute COVID-19

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have shown that patients with acute COVID-19 infection have increased levels of the cytokine IL-26 in their blood. Moreover, high IL-26 levels correlate with an exaggerated inflammatory response that signifies severe cases of the disease. The findings, which are presented in Frontiers in Immunology, indicate that IL-26 is a potential biomarker for severe COVID-19.


BQ.1 variant is now the most common in US

The BQ.1.1 variant, as compared with many of the other new variants, is resistant to all clinically used monoclonal antibodies. BQ.1/BQ.1.1 are now the dominant variants in the United States

This poses a major concern for immunocompromised who have benefited from Evusheld (preventive) & Bebtelovimab (useful until now for Rx). OTOH, the growth advantage of BQ.1.1 is on the decline, lessening the chance of a major new wave. Bivalent BA.5 booster increases protection vs BQ.1.1
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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Keeping indoor humidity levels at a 'sweet spot' may reduce the spread of COVID-19

We know proper indoor ventilation is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Now, a study by MIT researchers finds that indoor relative humidity may also influence transmission of the virus.

Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air compared to the total moisture the air can hold at a given temperature before saturating and forming condensation.

In a study appearing today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the MIT team reports that maintaining an indoor relative humidity between 40 and 60% is associated with relatively lower rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, while indoor conditions outside this range are associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes. To put this into perspective, most people are comfortable between 30 and 50% relative humidity, and an airplane cabin is at around 20% relative humidity.

The findings are based on the team's analysis of COVID-19 data combined with meteorological measurements from 121 countries, from January 2020 through August 2020. Their study suggests a strong connection between regional outbreaks and indoor relative humidity.

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Study: Rapid COVID tests allow up to 74% of college students end isolation early

CIDRAP  November 16, 2022

According to a study published yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases from researchers at Yale Universityexit COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) enabled 53% to 74% of college students to leave isolation early when they began isolation at the time of the first positive test, but 15% to 22% remained positive beyond the recommended isolation period.

The study included 323 infected college students living in university housing; undergraduate students were required to screen upon arrival on campus and then twice weekly on designated days. Testing took place between Jan 1 and Feb 11, 2022, during the Omicron surge in the United States.

Positive students were expected to isolate for 10 days, or 5 days if they received a negative RAT, following new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Upon testing negative, students ended isolation but continued mandatory masking until day 10.

"We found a day 5 positivity of 47% in the twice-weekly screening group and 26%–28% in the less frequently screened groups," the authors wrote.

Negative RAT tests on day 5 allowed 78% to 85% of students to confidently leave isolation, the authors said. The percentage remaining positive dropped to 6% to 8% on day 7.

Unexpectedly, the authors found that students who had received three or more COVID-19 vaccine doses had longer RAT positivity duration than students with only the primary series. The authors posit this could be a finding based solely on the transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

Tips, general reading for public:






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@mlafferty1  Nov 13
If the GOP holds the House by a tiny margin it’s because Ron DeSantis produced a congressional redistributing map that violated the Florida Constitution’s provisions against political gerrymandering. And the state Supreme Court let him get away with it.
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@ChrisMurphyCT  Nov 17
1/ There's one night I will remember most when thinking about Nancy Pelosi - the night I watched her single handedly save health care for 20 million Americans. It was at the first Democratic caucus meeting after Scott Brown won the special Senate election in Massachusetts.
2/ Many rank-and-file Democrats were in a panic, and they lined up at the microphone to tell Pelosi that it was time for us to give up on the Affordable Care Act. Or chop it up into little pieces - as some in the White House were suggesting.
3/ I remember it like it was yesterday. Pelosi sat at the front of the room in the basement of the Capitol, and she listened politely to the calls for retreat. Even some of her most loyal progressive allies were begging her to ditch the ACA in the name of political expediency.
4/ And then, when everyone had spoken, she picked up a handheld microphone. I expected her to give into the calls to give up. But she didn't. She did exactly the opposite.
5/ She told the room that there come times when leaders have a choice to make - stand up to the powerful status quo and change the world or give into to short term political expediency. This was our moment, she told us, to save lives and lift millions out of health care poverty.
6/ She told us that it was time for us to stiffen our spines and march forward. She told us the country was counting on us. I watched her single handedly WILL the caucus to act. I watched her mettle change the entire mood of the room. When she was done, no one challenged her.
7/ 2 months later, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. And today, it's so popular the new Republican Congress won't dare touch it. I had never seen any person do what Pelosi did that night. I've never seen it since. There hasn't been, and will not be, anyone like her.
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@CalltoActivism  Nov 17
My favorite story about Speaker Pelosi was when Kevin McCarthy asked her to censure Trump instead of impeaching him, and she replied “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
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Jan 6 Committee
@hugolowell   Nov 17
New: Jan. 6 committee has empaneled a subcommittee — led by Raskin with Cheney, Schiff and Lofgren — examining whether to make criminal and civil referrals to the Justice Dept, chair Bennie Thompson and other members say.


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@duty2warn Nov 14
Breaking: Officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Turkey and China spent up to 10k a night-more than $750,000–at Trump’s Hotel in Washington while seeking to influence policy. If only we had an emoluments clause in our Constitution.
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@mstratford  Nov 14
NEWS - 8th Circuit has blocked Biden's student debt relief program, siding with GOP states in a 3-0 decision. =>
Two Trump appointees and one Bush appointee.
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Foreign governments spent over 700k at Trump properties in an attempt to curry favor.
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The FBI had at least 8 informants within the Proud Boys before the Jan 6 attack Secret Service was directly in touch with the Oath Keepers Neither did anything to stop Jan 6 or to warn Pelosi & Pence that they were in danger The call is coming from inside the goddamn house
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@January6thCmte  Nov 14
Former President Trump has refused to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena requiring him to appear for a deposition. His attorneys have made no attempt to negotiate an appearance, and his lawsuit parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly.
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@BeschlossDC Nov 16
“Congress has no right to my testimony” about January 6, Pence tells CBS News. Note his language—“no right.”
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1923: Hitler’s failed coup.
No real consequences. No fundamental changes.
1933: Hitler takes power. I wish I could implant this into everyone’s brain.



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@ossoff  Nov 14
NEWS: My bipartisan bill to investigate unsolved lynchings and civil rights cold cases just passed the House. Next to @POTUS desk for his signature.


LGBTQ rights/Interracial marriage

@kylegriffin1  Nov 15
Leader Schumer has scheduled a vote for WEDNESDAY of this week on a bill to codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage after a group of senators announced a deal on changes to the legislation.
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@Victorshi2020  Nov 16
Don’t know who needs to hear this, but Mitch McConnell is married to Elaine Chao. He is literally in an interracial marriage. Yet he voted against a motion to advance a bill that would protect interracial marriage. That should tell you everything you need to know about Mitch.



@jjponcevazquez  Nov 16
It's official. Starting in 2025, students at @UofAlabama will be able to graduate without a single college course I literature, history, or a foreign language. The gutting of the liberal arts continues.



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Cochise county is refusing to certify the election results, hoping to swing the election to Kari Lake.



@Victorshi2020  Nov 17
BREAKING: @MaryPeltola is projected to win her election to Congress and defeat Sarah Palin, again. Defeating Sarah Palin again is great news. But even better: Mary is the first Democrat Alaska has elected to Congress in nearly 50 years & is an extremely important voice for us.



Katie Porter won reelection in a changed district. Hallelujah!
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@maxedoutsolar  Nov 14
48,000 workers went on strike in California. Did you hear about it or did the media black out coverage for that event where you live? It’s one of the largest events in recent US labor history.



Adam Frisch just conceded to Lauren Boebert. While it’s not the news we hoped for, remember that in 2020, she won by almost 25,000 votes. This time around, she won by slightly over 500 votes. Let’s all make sure the next time Lauren Boebert runs she loses—badly.

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Frisch said an automatic recount will likely happen under state law but encouraged supporters to save fundraising $$ for gas, groceries and other causes.


CNN just aired a glowing segment on Casey DeSantis The New York Times just ran a puff piece on Casey NYT did a fawning piece on Ron DeSantis, calling his career “supercharged” Why is the media promoting a fascist who arrests innocent Black voters & bans DOJ election monitors?!
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@ACLU  Nov 17
BREAKING: A federal judge has issued an order that immediately blocks Florida’s Stop WOKE Act from being enforced in higher education. The First Amendment protects our right to learn, and that includes learning about issues related to race and gender.
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@MaryEllenKlas  Nov 17
Judge Walker blocks Florida's Stop WOKE law from taking effect in state universities. "This is positively dystopian," he wrote and quoted Orwell: It should go without saying that “[i]f liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”




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Harry Reid lost this seat to Paul Laxalt in 1974. Reid won it in 1986 as Laxalt retired. He anointed CCM as successor in 2016. Now she has held Reid's seat by defeating Laxalt's grandson and preventing Reid's nemesis, Mitch McConnell, from becoming majority leader.


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@donwinslow  Nov 14
More than 9 million REGISTERED voters in Texas did NOT vote.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his administration has started transporting migrants from his state to Philadelphia, the latest Democrat-led city affected by his plan to use migrant families as political props.
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@antifaoperative   Nov 16
A ten year old girl who was sent to Philadelphia on a migrant bus by Greg Abbott had to be hospitalized with a high fever and dehydration.








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New: That fake verified Eli Lilly account sparked a panic inside the pharma giant, and senior execs decided they'd had enough, freezing all Twitter ad campaigns in a huge blow to @elonmusk. "For $8," they lost out on "millions of dollars in ad revenue"
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@CaseyNewton Nov 15
NEW: Employees who have criticized Elon Musk in Twitter’s Slack channels were fired overnight over email. “We regret to inform you that your employment is terminated immediately,” they’re being told over email. “Your recent behavior has violated company policy.”
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@anothercohen   Nov 17
I was laid off from Twitter this afternoon. I was in charge of managing badge access to Twitter offices. Elon just called me and asked if I could come back to help them regain access to HQ as they shut off all badges and accidentally locked themselves out.







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