Coronavirus Tidbits #257 Aug 6, 2023


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.




Ohio Election is going on now => Aug 8

Please remind your friends in Ohio to VOTE NO on Proposition 1, the only thing on the ballot.

Abortion access and gerrymandering are especially on the line.

  • On August 8, the only thing on your ballot will be Issue 1 to permanently end majority rule in Ohio.
  • A yes vote is a vote to end majority rule 
  • A no vote defends majority rule and the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote’ 

to volunteer:

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New post:

Kidney Transplants From HIV-Positive Patients Likely To Save Lives



U.S. COVID hospitalizations climb for second straight week.

Levels are still low, but Weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen by more than 12% across the country, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marking a second straight week of this key indicator of the virus climbing.

At least 8,035 hospital admissions of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were reported for the week of July 22 nationwide, the CDC said late Monday, up from 7,165 during the week before.

Another important hospital metric has also been trending up in recent weeks: an average of 0.92% of the past week's emergency room visits had COVID-19 as of July 28, up from 0.51% through June 28.

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Moderna is safest, most effective mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 for older adults, study shows

While mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 have been found to be safe and effective for the general population, in-depth evidence about safety and effectiveness for older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions is more limited.

the Moderna  was associated with a slightly lower risk of adverse events than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: a 4% lower risk of pulmonary embolism, and a 2% lower risk of thromboembolic events. (Both were already very low, w PE at 9/100,000). The Moderna vaccine was also associated with a 15% lower risk of diagnosed COVID-19 compared to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

JAMA Network Open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.26852

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Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a breath test that quickly identifies those who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The device can detect SARS-CoV-2 in one or two breaths and provide results in less than 1 minute

The study is has been published online in the journal ACS Sensors.

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Why Some People Had Asymptomatic COVID-19? 

Genetic predisposition likely


Long Covid:

Although a small #LongCovid study, it's unique by doing whole-body PET T-cell imaging and GI tissue biopsies showing marked persistence (2+ years) of immune activation, and virus RNA, respectively, and some correlation with symptoms



Researchers suggested leprosy may be endemic in the southeastern U.S., especially in central Florida, after a rise in cases. (Emerging Infectious Diseases)

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Chiggers carrying scrub typhus were found in some North Carolina state parks and recreation areas. (Raleigh News & Observer)

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People continue to get sick from flu coming from pigs. This creates the potential for a new pandemic if the animal flu combines with human flu becoming more transmissible.

Flu also jumps from peoplet to pigs...-

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What Happens When Ancient Pathogens Are Released From Melting Ice?

 Science fiction is rife with fanciful tales of deadly organisms emerging from the ice and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting human victims.

From shape-shifting aliens in Antarctica, to super-parasites emerging from a thawing woolly mammoth in Siberia, to exposed permafrost in Greenland causing a viral pandemic – the concept is marvellous plot fodder.

But just how far-fetched is it? Could pathogens that were once common on Earth – but frozen for millennia in glaciers, ice caps and permafrost – emerge from the melting ice to lay waste to modern ecosystems? The potential is, in fact, quite real.

Dangers Lying in Wait

In 2003, bacteria were revived from samples taken from the bottom of an ice core drilled into an ice cap on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. The ice at that depth was more than 750,000 years old.

In 2014, a giant “zombie” Pithovirus sibericum virus was revived from 30,000-year-old Siberian permafrost.

And in 2016, an outbreak of anthrax (a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracisin western Siberia was attributed to the rapid thawing of B. anthracis spores in permafrost. It killed thousands of reindeer and affected dozens of people.


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.


Devices and Masks:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Relevant to schools starting up soon is a new report on K-12 2° SARSCoV2 transmission. It is low (~2-3%), but significantly reduced w/masks (by 88%), vaccination (by 96%), increased 2.5 fold in classroom vs out-of-classroom

Tips, general reading for public:





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Yellowhammer Fund, an abortion advocacy group sued Alabama's Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) for threatening to prosecute anyone who assists residents of the state who want to travel to another state for abortion services. (The Hill)

“The Attorney General’s threats violate Yellowhammer Fund’s constitutional rights to free expression, association, travel, and due process and intrude on the sovereignty of states where abortion is legal,” the group wrote.

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A sweeping ban that would prohibit most abortions is set to go into effect in Indiana today. (NPR)

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A U.S. judge temporarily blocked Idaho's ability to prosecute healthcare providers who refer patients to out-of-state abortion services. (Reuters)

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A federal judge ruled that the free speech rights of Idaho medical providers would be violated if the state attempted to sanction them for referring patients for out-of-state abortion services.

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A Texas judge has sided with a group of women who challenged the state's abortion ban, meaning people with pregnancy complications or fatal fetal anomalies will have access to the procedure, but the ban remains in place for everyone else.

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@Acyn  Jul 28  video of
Pence: I believe the time has come for a minimum national standard of a 15 week ban at the federal level
Remember how the justification for Dobbs was that abortion laws should be decided at the state level?….--Heather Cox Richardson
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Primary care physicians are learning how to provide gender-affirming care to fill gaps in healthcare access for transgender individuals. (STAT)

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GOP rel:

Ron DeSantis:

Throughout his trip to New Hampshire, he appeared bent on demonstrating that no candidate talks tougher. He promised that, under his presidency, Mexican drug cartels would be “shot stone cold dead,” and vowed that when it comes to federal bureaucrats, “we are going to start slitting throats on Day One.”

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Did you know that the PGA is tax exempt? No? Well you do now! I just introduced a bill to revoke it.
Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Special Tax Break
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@ProjectLincoln   Jul 24
Harris polling is facilitated by Mark Penn, who is married to the CEO of No Labels. They constantly underestimate Biden support and defend Trump. No Labels and any of their maps or polling are not to be trusted. They have one goal - to help Trump win.

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New: With data now from 37 states, over 3.6 million people have been dropped from Medicaid with the unwinding of pandemic enrollment protections. Half a million people have been dropped in Texas alone, but this is occurring all over as renewals resume.

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Louisiana, Gulf Coast:
@lyllayounes  Aug 2
A new industry is rising up along the Gulf Coast to supply Europe with gas. It’s razing shorelines and wetlands, the first lines of defense against hurricanes. Communities of the Louisiana coast will pay the highest price. With @jake_bittle for @grist .

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Gilead Sciences devised a plan to delay release of a new HIV drug’s release to maximize profits, even though executives had reason to believe it might turn out to be safer for patients. @RebeccaDRobbins @SherylNYT

free article here

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Arkansas: Child labor comes back thanks to Sarah Huckabee

Starting Aug 1, young children no longer need work permits to get a job in Arkansas.

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@chrishendel   Jul 30
No one saw this coming except everyone:
"Andrew Gothard, the state-level president of the @UnitedFacultyFL, predicts a loss of between 20 and 30% of faculty members at some universities during the upcoming academic year in comparison with 2022-23"
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The largest public school district in Texas is eliminating librarian positions and libraries to make them into discipline centers.

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Feel good du jour:

Two San Diego residents cleared out the Pride month display at their library and said such materials shouldn’t be available to children, one of several recent clashes over L.G.B.T.Q. issues in California. They informed the librarian that they had gotten nearly all of the books in the Pride display checked out and would not return them unless the library permanently removed what they considered “inappropriate content.”

When the story ran in the local paper, not only did people replace the books, they donated $15,000 so more books could be purchased, and the city matched the amount. Now, the library has $30,000 for more LGBTQ themed books.

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Robert Emmett Fletcher Jr. was an American agricultural inspector who quit his job to manage fruit farms of Japanese families sent to internment camps during WW2. Upon learning about the looming relocation of Japanese farmers in his area, Fletcher grew concerned. This led to the Tsukamoto family, who owned a grape ranch in Florin near Sacramento, proposing that he take care of their farm while they were away. They offered him their home and all net profits from the crops (though Fletcher would only take half) after covering farming costs, mortgages, and taxes. Two other families, the Okamotos and Nittas, also proposed similar arrangements. Deciding to leave his inspector job, Fletcher took on the responsibility of managing all three farms. Single-handedly farming three farms meant 18-hour days and endless work. Fletcher saw his task as caretaking, so instead of living in the Tsukamotos' home, he lived in the bunkhouse meant for migrant workers. His decision did not go down well with some local white farmers, who thought their Japanese counterparts should forfeit their properties. Despite threats, Fletcher carried on, committed to his newfound responsibility. When the families returned home in the fall of 1945, their farms and homes were intact—the Tsukamotos' home had even been cleaned by Fletcher's wife Teresa—and half of the profits were waiting for them.

--  @fasc1nate   Jul 28

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Comic relief:


Bits of beauty:

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