Coronavirus Tidbits #252, July 2, 2024


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.

Reminder, Resilience: One Family's Story... is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education.

Available here.





New post:

Growing Cases Of Malaria In The U.S. Prompt CDC Alert

Hint: climate change, poverty


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WHO: 36 million people in Europe have experienced long Covid


Over three years into the pandemic, we still don’t know a lot about long Covid. Estimates of long Covid prevalence have varied widely, blurring the true impact on a population’s health. Yet the burden of long Covid on those who struggle with the condition has become clear. In Europe, approximately 36 million people have experienced long Covid since 2020, Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said yesterday.

Kluge cited data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, which suggests nearly 1 in 30 people across 53 countries in the WHO European Region may have experienced long Covid in the first three years of the pandemic. The staggering numbers are more than double what WHO officials said last September, when they estimated at least 17 million Europeans had experienced long Covid in the first two years of the pandemic.

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About 25% of those with COVID-19 only partially recover taste or smell, or never do

Approximately one-quarter of adults who lost taste or smell following SARS-CoV-2 infection reported partial or no recovery of their senses, a study published in The Laryngoscope found.

According to Margaret B. Mitchell MD, MS-HPEd, a third-year resident in otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and lead study author, and colleagues, prior research identified olfaction and gustatory dysfunction as symptoms of COVID-19, but those studies have been small and showed significantly varying prevalence of sensory loss in patients.

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Novel drug could treat long COVID and prevent re-infection

A new drug developed by QIMR Berghofer could transform the treatment of COVID-19 by potentially protecting against infection by any SARS-CoV-2 variant and reversing the persistent inflammation that is a major driver of debilitating long COVID.

The findings of the second major study demonstrating the pre-clinical effectiveness of the peptide-based drug, NACE2i, have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Epigeneticist and co-lead author, Professor Sudha Rao who heads QIMR Berghofer's Gene Regulation & Translational Medicine Group, said the drug was tested repeatedly by independent laboratories using a variety of pre-clinical models.

"The results of this second major study are really exciting. It shows our drug, NACE2i, stops the virus replicating and protects against re-infection," Professor Rao said. "We believe it could be a highly promising adjuvant to boost the effectiveness of existing vaccines providing long-lasting protection against any variant of the virus that tries to enter the cells.

"The other major discovery is that we uncovered the pathway that the virus uses to induce the persistent inflammation which causes organ damage found in long COVID. This study shows our drug prevents that inflammation and even repairs damaged lung tissue in pre-clinical models. It is both a prevention and a treatment."

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Study: Sperm counts decline even after mild COVID infections

Men recently infected with COVID-19 have decreased sperm counts for more than 3 months following even mild infections, and the sperm they do produce is less able to swim, according to new findings presented today at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Denmark.

The findings are intriguing because men produce new sperm every 2 or 3 months, and the findings are based on semen analyses taken after 100 days, suggesting COVID does long-term damage to the male reproductive tract...

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CDC: Research Says Long Covid “Contributing” to Labor Shortage

About 18% of those with Long COVID have not returned to work for over a year. The CDC says it's "hurting the U.S. economy."...

5% of Those With Covid Can't Work for More Than a Year

The new presentation comes from the Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) team, which mentions labor shortages during a segment discussing the challenges of working while dealing with Long Covid.

the report came out last January, following an analysis of more than 3,000 Covid-19 workers' compensation claims from the period between January 2020 and March 2022. That report, out from New York's largest workers' compensation carrier, the New York State Insurance Fund, had plenty of other insights worth keeping in mind.

From the report:

  • Almost one-third of all workers infected with Covid-19 suffered or are suffering from Long Covid, with the percentage peaking during the initial phase of the pandemic and falling over time.
  • The percentage of female workers with Long Covid (37 percent) was 11 points higher than that of male workers (26 percent).
  • Forty percent of workers with Long Covid returned to work within 60 days of infection while still receiving medical treatment.
  • Nearly all workers with comorbidities or those hospitalized for their initial infection experienced Long Covid.
  • The incidence of Long Covid in essential workers may be higher than the data suggests, creating a potential blind spot for policymakers.

Expect the Labor Shortage to Continue

Understandably, people have heard enough about the Covid pandemic and want it to be over. But assuming that 5% of those who get Covid in the future will stay out of the labor market for at least a year, the economy will face some significant headwinds for as long as Covid continues to circulate.

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A third of people are Blood Group A.

SARSCoV2 preferentially infects these (Blood Group A) cells

"providing a direct link between ABO blood group expression and [Covid] infection"

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The indefatigable  @LisaAMcCorkell knocks it out of the park again in this op-ed on what we need to do next for #LongCovid!!
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Polish officials probe H5N1 avian flu link to cat deaths

@MarionKoopmans Jul 1

“The researchers found that those with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease had markedly different assemblages of gut bacteria… The team also found that the microbiome changes correlated with amyloid-beta and tau levels in the brain…” -- @winstoncb


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

An inhaled Covid vaccine booster was more than 5-fold effective for inducing neutralizing antibodies at 28-days, and more durable at 1-year, than shots, vs Omicron BA.5 in a randomized trial
[Note: Not ready for prime time]

Devices and Ventilation:

Air Quality is A Major Issue of Our Time—

with raging wildfires,  vulnerable immunocompromised dealing with circulating #SARSCoV2, and other respiratory viruses. Eric Topol's conversation with Linsey Marr

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Bias from pulse oximeters remains even if corrected by race, study finds

Pulse oximeters were a critical part of life-saving care during the COVID-19 pandemic, shaping treatment by measuring oxygen levels in the blood. The devices, which became common in the 1980s, have long shaped protocols for detecting hypoxemia, low blood oxygenation that can lead to organ failure and death.

While decades of published research have shown that pulse oximeters can give biased readings for patients with dark skin, a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is reporting that suggested raced-based adjustments to hypoxemia thresholds are insufficient; instead, researchers report, the oximeter itself must be fixed. Doctors have suggested "race corrected" pulse oximeter measurements by calculating a race-based "value" to subtract from the device's reading before using it to detect hypoxemia.

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Complete study at

Comment: @jljcolorado  Jun 22

Very interesting results. Anything that produces acids indoors may help the virus stay infective. A lot of "air cleaning" techniques (PCO, plasmas, hydroxyls, GUV...) produce oxidants, that will produce acids. Whether the effect is large enough needs study.
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At moderate humidity, ~50% of the infectivity is lost near instantaneously. Humidity only affects virus aerostability for 10 minutes, after which the decay profile becomes humidity independent. At 40 minutes, >95% of infectivity is lost, regardless of humidity....
The results of this study provide the scientific basis for new and effective mitigation strategies #COVID19 (+other viruses). The key role that the aerosol alkalinity means that anything that reduces the acid content of the air will lower the aerosolised viral load #ventilation

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Covid outbreak at Boston hospital:

Masks reinstated in Boston hospital after an outbreak. "Some people said, 'Well we're not sure what's going to happen,'" said Jirmanus. "Well, I think we all know what was going to happen. When you take away masks in health care, you have outbreaks."
DOH said 12 staff members and seven patients were infected, with no critical illness
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Global COVID markers show few hot spots as XBB.1.16 overtakes XBB.1.5

rises of more than 20% over the last 28 days. They include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Malta, and Eastern Mediterranean

the XBB.1.16 subvariant for the first time topped the XBB.1.5 proportion, now accounting for 20.5% of sequences globally.

Japan may have entered its ninth wave...and #LongCOVID  has affected as many as 36 million people in the region over the past 3 years.

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It's not just Covid. Many RNA viruses have long-term sequelae via Hannah Davis


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One out of six rats in New York sewers had prior SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. One out of 20 were actively carrying the virus (rtPCR positive). The remarkable ability of this virus to infect multiple animal species helps maintain a parallel, non-human reservoir.

Marc Johnson  @SolidEvidence  
That is an incorrect oversimplification. None of the rats had neutralizing antibodies, and none had a clear sign of infection, just little bits of RNA. You could have swabbed any surface in NYC during that time period and found the same thing.
I'm not just spouting off. Those were actually my samples that they analyzed.

Two pet rats get COVID from owner: detailed study from France. One had severe disease and was euthanised after the vetenerarian’s assessment. The second rat had milder disease. Omicron was involved, the event was in May 2022. Thanks

Tips, general reading for public:

Vote Dem as though your life depends on it...







@GovernorHobbs issues executive order stripping all 15 elected county attorneys of their ability to prosecute abortion cases, hands it to @krismayes who contends women in AZ have an absolute right to abortion.


activity in Macon, GA

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@davidsirota   Jun 24
As you see this horrible news from Montana [re train derailing in Yellowstone River], please remember that the Biden administration is advancing a plan to let oil trains run along the banks of the Colorado River:
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@celinegounder  Jun 13
Asthma ER visits during NYC smoke haze were highest in high-poverty, Black & Hispanic areas. NYC hospitals saw 2x as many asthma ER visits as bad air blanketed city.
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@hugolowell   Jun 26
US judge Aileen Cannon denies Special Counsel request to file 84 potential witnesses in the Trump classified docs case under seal -- says the government does not explain why it is necessary and notes media coalition has moved to have it public.
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@BillMelugin_Jun 26
NEW: GOP presidential candidate @RonDeSantis says under his administration, he would change rules of engagement to allow for deadly force to be used against illegal immigrants cutting through border wall. “If you drop a couple of these cartel operatives, they’ll stop coming.”
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@RollingStone  Jun 26
EXCLUSIVE: One of Donald Trump's top immigration advisors Stephen Miller advocated using U.S. drones in 2018 to blow up migrant boats full of unarmed civilians, according to an upcoming book by a former administration official.
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@leilei_wuu  Jun 22
Sarepta prices Duchenne gene therapy Elevidys at $3.2 million/dose
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@markmobility   Jun 22
Oh cool. Oceangate, which serves customers willing to pay $250k to see the Titanic, got a substantial PPP loan of $450k.
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Scotus:  Set us back decades this week on so many fronts...esp affirmative action and LGBTQ/nondiscrimination
We have got to win in 2024 and expand the court.
Good review—all #discrimination likely allowed now. US supreme court strikes blow against #LGBTQ+ rights with Colorado ruling. #scotus
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major questions doctrine is a farce, a smokescreen for ensuring rightwing political outcomes. Expand the court. Enact term limits. Limit its jurisdiction. We are at a constitutional breaking point.
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June was supposed to be Pride month, not Prejudice...
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@DarrigoMelanie  Jun 22
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito overturned Roe, then traveled to Rome on the plaintiff's dime. None of our rights are safe as long as the Supreme Court can be legally bought. #ExpandTheCourt and impose a mandatory code of ethics.
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@RBReich  Jun 29
Let me get this straight. SCOTUS says colleges can't take race into consideration during admission.... But they can give preference to "legacies." Since non-white students were barred from most colleges for 200+ years, legacy students are by definition most likely white.
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Hey Brett Kavanaugh. Want to talk about affirmative action and student loans? Let’s examine how you got into Yale, shall we? During your Senate testimony, you said “I got into Yale Law School. That’s the No. 1 law school in the country. I had no connections there. I got there by busting my tail in college.” But, like much of your testimony, this wasn’t exactly true. You see, we found a copy of a 1928 Yale yearbook and it turns out your grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale as an undergraduate student. So that makes you a legacy student a liar. So to recap, you got into your grandfather’s alma mater, then went to the Law School. That matters — because admission to an undergraduate institution can more than double a student’s chance of getting into that institution’s graduate schools. In 2011, Yale said that up to 25 percent of its students could classified as legacy students. Turns out, getting into college, especially Ivy League schools, is traditionally as much a matter of who you know as it is what you know.
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@RBReich   Jun 30
Total student loan debt that would have been erased for millions of Americans: $400 billion Total cost of the Trump tax cuts that largely benefited the wealthy and corporations: $1.9 trillion This is what I mean when I say the system is rigged.
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NYT comment on student loans...
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@Victorshi2020   Jun 30
So, let me get this straight: yesterday the Supreme Court ruled colleges CAN’T discriminate on the basis of race but today they ruled that a web designer CAN discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community? Sorry, but this Court is so freaking messed up.
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@CBSNews   Jun 30
The Supreme Court said it will consider whether a 30-year-old federal law that prohibits people under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns violates the Second Amendment.
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see abortion, above

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@airqualityguy   Jun 25
If I read this correctly, CA orders a Kern County oil company to clean up abandoned and leaking oil wells. They refuse and the state then gives them permits to drill new wells. @GavinNewsom
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@ScottforFlorida   Jun 27
I’m warning socialists and communists not to travel to Florida. They are not welcome in the Sunshine State.
@shannonrwatts  Jun 27
Florida is the second highest state in the nation with the most welfare recipients - including SNAP, TANF and Medicaid - and also has the second highest number of social security beneficiaries.
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@LEBassett  Jun 26
Florida authorities have declined to pursue murder charges against the white woman who shot and killed her Black neighbor through a locked door after yelling racial slurs at the woman's young kids, citing "insufficient evidence"
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Pinal County elections director resigns. “With no regrets, I quit.”
@SIfill_   Jun 28
This is the nightmare we are facing. Decent professionals will no longer work at our Boards of Election, setting states & our country up for democratic collapse. The U.S. Atty must investigate charges of intimidation.
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#Florida highway construction could use #radioactive mining waste tied to cancer under a law signed by #DeSantis.
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@DemocracyDocket   Jun 29
 Iowa court rules that counties can provide provide election materials in languages other than English. Previously, the secretary of state was prohibited from providing non-English voter registration forms.
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@theliamnissan  Jun 26
Republicans will tell you "the gays are coming for your children" and then immediately turn around and pass a law making it legal to marry 13 year old girls in Kentucky
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Supreme Court says Louisiana congressional map must be redrawn to add another majority-Black district  
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Michigan:  Good news!
This is HUGE. The Democratic Michigan state legislature has just passed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget which includes free breakfast AND lunch to ALL 1.4 million public school students in Michigan. Democrats continue delivering. This why elections matter.
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@the_emancipator   Jun 26
Vice Mayor Bill Shacklett was the sole voice of dissent as the Murfreesboro, Tennessee city council passed an ordinance, giving the city manager and police department authority to decide what actions or materials fit the community’s “social morals” and to enforce those views.
The legislation was passed on June 15 without hearing public comments and will go into effect July 1. As of June 26, the city has not sent out a news release notifying the public of this ordinance.
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@Taniel  Jun 18
The Texas legislature had actually passed a bill to ease ballot access with people with disabilities, but Governor Abbott just vetoed it. @nataliaecj had previewed the bill here:
[Note: Abbott is disabled from an accident and his settlement for the accident is 6 figures for the rest of his life]
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@stevanzetti  Jun 22
A USPS worker died on the job in Dallas after collapsing in the front yard of a home during an excessive heat warning. Meanwhile, the Texas legislature just passed a bill to repeal local ordinances that mandated water breaks for outdoor workers.
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@AlecMacGillis   Jun 16
Wow: all 750,000 Germans turning 18 this year get 200 euro to spend on any cultural good: concerts, theater, movies, musical instruments, books, records etc. It'll cost 100 million euro and is given in recognition of what young people lost during pandemic.


Feel good du jour:

Teen who walked six miles to 8th grade graduation gets college scholarship on the spot

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Macon community unites against anti-Semitism in powerful downtown rally

In a powerful display of unity and solidarity, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Macon Saturday to rally against the recent displays of anti-Semitism that have shaken the community. With a shared determination to combat hate and promote inclusivity, residents from all walks of life joined hands and voices to denounce these acts and reaffirm the city's commitment to tolerance and acceptance.

The rally was sparked by a series of incidents involving anti-Semitic symbols and rhetoric in Macon and Warner Robins. Concerned citizens, deeply disturbed by these displays of hate, took it upon themselves to organize the gathering, hoping to send a resounding message that such intolerance would not be tolerated. Well-known Maconite Jim Crisp organized the last-minute rally, hoping that just a few people would attend. Estimates are that hundreds came together to rally against the recent incidents. The rally featured leaders like Bibb County Sheriff David Davis and District Attorney Anita R. Howard....

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Must read--wonderful story:


Comic relief:

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Bits of beauty:




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