Coronavirus Tidbits # 258 August 13, 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.





New post:

Food Supplements Are Transforming Tuberculosis Survival In India

Note: The increased survival by providing food and micronutrients is likely not just true in India, nor just for TB. Why isn't nutrition a priority in taking care of people?


EG.1 Omicron subvariant (Eris), a descendant of XBB.1.9.2, continues its steady rise.

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US is nearing 500k estimated infections per day (Aug. 9) from New wastewater numbers 484,000 new infections/day 1 in every 680 people were infected today 1 in every 68 people currently infected

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8/7: Most markers show more small rises for fourth straight week

Hospitalizations—one of the main markers—were up 12.1% compared to a week ago. However, the CDC notes that hospital admissions for COVID are currently low for more than 99% of the country....

Other early indicators of increasing virus activity continue to slowly rise. ED visits rose 21.8% compared to a week ago, but as a whole, COVID infections make up only 1% of all ED visits.

Test positivity, another early marker, rose 1.3% compared to a week ago and is at 8.9% nationally [now 10.6% per Benjamin Renton on 8/5].

Wastewater tracking also reflects more rises, with all regions seeing a consistent rise with projected infections daily infections back to medium levels compared to the earlier Omicron months,

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Cases notably increasing in NYC. Covid pediatric admissions are the highest they’ve been since August 2020 in NYC right now.

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Global COVID cases up 80% as new subvariant rises

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported worldwide rose by 80 percent in the last month, the World Health Organization said on Friday, days after designating a new "variant of interest".

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Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 found to face nearly twice the rates of death after discharge as patients with flu

As of June 2023, more than 1.1 million Americans have died of COVID-19. Adults older than 65 —who make up just 16 percent of the population—account for more than 75 percent of U.S. COVID-19 deaths and were hospitalized at three times the rate of younger people, highlighting the heightened vulnerability of this population.

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More on Eris

EG.5, dubbed "Eris". And it's already soaring as #COVID19 case rates rise. Eris is also sweeping across East Asia and has turned up in the USA. #SARSCoV2 is still evolving: it's not "gone."

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Heart, other organs show mitochondrial damage after COVID-19 despite recovery of lungs

Key takeaways:

  • Downregulation of mitochondrial genes in the heart and other organs persists after recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • These findings indicate COVID-19 may be “a systemic disorder that impacts multiple organs.”

“This study provides us with strong evidence that we need to stop looking at COVID-19 as strictly an upper respiratory disease and start viewing it as a systemic disorder that impacts multiple organs,” Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at CHOP, said in the release. “The continued dysfunction we observed in organs other than the lungs suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction could be causing long-term damage to the internal organs of these patients.”

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SARS-CoV-2 can damage mitochondrion in heart, other organs, study finds Mitochondrial dysregulation leads to long-term damage and may help explain long COVID, the authors say.

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Among 15 million people, Covid vaccination linked to a marked reduction of Type 2 diabetes, compared with unvaccinated or before vaccines were available. Once T2D was manifest, it was durable in >70%

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Long COVID symptoms may emerge months after SARS-CoV-2 infection,

data from the prospective multicenter INSPIREopens in a new tab or window study suggested.

For about 16% of study participants, symptoms lasted 12 months after their initial SARS-CoV-2 test....

The survey also found that one in four people with long COVID (26.4%) had significant activity limitations,

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"In a highly vaccinated population (94% with >=3 vaccine doses), almost 20% of persons infected with the SARSCoV2 Omicron variant reported symptoms consistent with LongCOVID 90d post diagnosis" Large study/Important confirmation again#preprint
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‘Underwhelming’: NIH trials fail to test meaningful long Covid treatments — after 2.5 years and $1 billion

[Excellent and understated assessment.]

On July 31, after 2.5 years and a $1 billion mandate from Congress to study and treat long Covid, the NIH launched clinical trials for a condition that has brought debilitating symptoms to some people suffering since the pandemic’s earliest days. NIH has spent most of that money, according to a new and detailed budget breakdown shared with MuckRock and STAT. Most of the funds support observational research — studying symptoms — rather than clinical trials to test treatments.

Scientists and patients are disappointed that only 15% of the funding — $171.5 million — went to clinical trials, under the leadership of Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute. This funding “has been largely wasted,” said David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai and a clinician studying long Covid. If those clinical trials fail, it would be “really a travesty,” said Julia Moore Vogel, a scientist at the Scripps Translational Institute living with long Covid. Read more.


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The NIH's acting director appears to have killed a $150 million dollar project aimed at studying health communications over its fraught political implications, KFF Health News reported.

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H5N2 (swine) flu:

A novel influenza virus has infected a person in Michigan, making them sick enough to go to the hospital. The virus belongs to H1N2, a swine flu group. The person was around pigs at a state fair. They're recovering. We are always one step away.
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H5N1 Bird flu:

#H5N1 #birdflu is devastating fur farms in the west of Finland.

@DrewQJoseph reports on the work being done to see if the threat to birds and some mammals like mink & foxes is evolving to be a bigger threat to people.
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More than 40% of infection-related deaths in Americas associated with antimicrobial resistance

Key takeaways:

  • In 2019, 569,000 deaths were associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance in the Americas.
  • The deadliest pathogens were Staphylococcus aureusKlebsiella pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

More than two out of every five infection-related deaths in the Americas in 2019 were associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance, according to a new study.

Deaths attributable to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the 35 countries that make up the Americas accounted for more than 11% of the total global deaths attributable to resistant infections, researchers found.

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Phage therapy for antibiotic resistance

Anti-bacterial virus treated antibiotic resistant infections with 86.6% success rate

A new international study conducted by the Israeli Phage Therapy Center (IPTC) led by Prof. Ran Nir-Paz at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center and Prof. Ronen Hazan of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, using phage PASA16 on compassionate basis to treat tough Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, has shown promising results with an 86.6% success rate.

This research involving 16 patients with persistent infections represents the largest of its kind and brings encouraging findings. The study's success demonstrates the potential effectiveness of PASA16 phage therapy in tackling challenging Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, paving the way for future clinical trials and encouraging further exploration of phage therapy as an alternative and auxiliary approach against antibiotic-resistant infections. The paper is published in the journal Med.


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.



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 @JAMAHealthForum @SandyNelsonMD


@EricTopol  Aug 4
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New York reported 8,877 new coronavirus cases this past week, up 36% from last week or 165% from last month
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about 23 million Americans have developed burdensome lingering effects from often mild initial infections.
   --Jerome Adams

Tips, general reading for public:





Press freedom:

Police stage ‘chilling’ [and likely illegal] raid on Marion County, KS newspaper, seizing computers, records and cellphones

Subsequently, Joan Meyer, the paper's 98 yo co-owner and a newspaperwoman since 1953 said: “These are Hitler tactics and something has to be done.”

She then died, reports the Marion Record. More at

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Got a cold, runny nose, the sniffles? No worries! Come to school, LAUSD says

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@kprather88  Aug 11
I know a pediatrician who finally caught COVID after 3.5 yrs who is being told she needs to return to work even though she is still testing positive (at 7 days) and feels awful. One of her main jobs is to check over newborns. This is scary and not OK. Lawsuits need to start.
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@LauraMiers   Aug 10
Schools used to close at 5% positivity. Schools are now reopening at 48.3% positivity.
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@bijans   Aug 9
The U.K. will no longer routinely offer COVID booster vaccines this fall to healthy people under 65, following the recommendations of JCVI
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@friendlycovid19   Aug 6
I know you think I haven’t been up to much this summer, but convincing humanity that levels of me that are 4X those the summers of 2020 and 2021 are historically low is hard work you all!
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OMG, Andy Slavitt has new CDC director Mandy Cohen on his podcast to deny there is a COVID surge in summer 2023... ...while apologizing for his hoarse voice due to his "summer flu" These Kafka novels don't write themselves
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Jeff Zients & Mandy Cohen, here to manufacture appearance of the end of the pandemic right on time for the 2024 presidential cycle. BTW, no masks or clean indoor air offered here. Just an expectation to risk life/livelihood for your job. End of the day, it's a Potemkin Village.
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@AaronTorres_   Aug 11
Incredible story by @jsmccullou: A prison guard delivered a stillborn baby after she experienced labor pains and said she wasn’t allowed to leave work. She has sued TX. TX argues it’s not responsible cuz it’s not clear her fetus had rights as a person.
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Biden designated 1m acres around Grand Canyon a national monument #environment
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Iran announced 2-day national shutdown d/t heat.
Imagine if this were done in the USA -- would #GOP - controlled states refuse to comply if a #Democrat - controlled @WhiteHouseissued such a declaration? How politicized is health in America?
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MAUI burns
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Project 2025’: plan to dismantle US climate policy for next Republican president

Rightwing groups penned a conservative wish list of proposals for the next conservative president to gut environmental protections

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@JuddLegum   Aug 9
1. A federal judge appointed by Trump, Brantley Starr, has ordered three lawyers for Southwest Airline to undergo "religious liberty training" by @ADFLegal, a right-wing anti-abortion group WTF is happening? See;
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No one who devotes their life to public service should have to live with the threat that a former president is coming after them.
Security increased for Judge Chutkan:
TFG said on Truth Social post last week, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
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The fullest accounting yet shows how Thomas has secretly reaped the benefits from a network of wealthy and well-connected patrons that is far more extensive than previously understood.
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@davidsirota   Aug 6
6 months ago, Donald Trump did a photo op in East Palestine & then demanded Congress pass a rail safety bill. Then the company that made the toxic chemical in the disaster gave $2 million to Trump's party & his party's lawmakers are now blocking the bill.
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Trump lawyer proposes moving trial from DC to WV, where there is a “diverse” population -- where the diversity is 92.08% white.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co buying Simon & Schuster for $1.62 billion
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Florida man/Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is blocking over 300 military appointments – threatening our national security and disrespecting our servicemembers.
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Florida’s latest curriculum—featuring cartoon Christopher Columbus explaining, “being taken as a slave is better than being killed!” and telling time-traveling kids that slavery was “no big deal.” This is the kind of propaganda DeSantis and his friends at PragerU are teaching… via @GavinNewsom   Aug 7
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Florida’s convention business is beginning to suffer as a slew of hate-driven, “anti-woke” bills signed into law recently by Ron DeSantis has draped the Sunshine State in controversy. ... the fallout is now spreading to a key economic artery for an income-tax-free state heavily reliant upon tourism taxes: convention dollars.
In recent weeks, at least a dozen organizations have announced plans to either cancel or relocate their upcoming conferences scheduled to take place in Florida, making a statement by having their thousands of attendees and millions of dollars flow into other states deemed safer and more welcoming. Tourism officials and community organizations in the state say that what’s happening now may be just the beginning. “Unlike leisure business, which is a very short-term booking window [in weeks or months], conference business is long term,” said Stacy Ritter, president and chief executive officer of the Visit Lauderdale tourism marketing agency in Broward County, Florida. “We’re booking ’26 to ‘30 now, so any impact that this might have is not going to be seen for years to come.” As of July 26, Ritter said that Visit Lauderdale has tallied 10 events and conventions that were canceled by organizations citing recently enacted laws, policies and travel advisories. That amounts to 15,000 lost hotel room nights and an estimated $20 million economic impact, she said.
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There is no same-day voter registration in Mississippi; voters must register 30 days before an election. But local election officials are free to move polling precincts around—even 13 hours before an election. And two just moved in Hinds County, hours before the election.
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One of Ohio’s many voting restrictions backed by Republicans means that counties can only have one early voting location regardless of population size. So heavily Dem Franklin County’s 1.3 million people get one location just like heavily GOP Vinton County’s 13,000 people
The impact of this voting restriction is unmistakably partisan: Ohio's 6 largest counties all voted for Joe Biden & cast 42% of the statewide vote. They each get just one early voting location. Of the 82 smaller counties, all but 1 voted for Donald Trump
But we still won! Now abortion vote goes to the November election
Oregon Republicans barred from running for re-election after boycotting votes
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see fetal rights, above.
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23 people have died in Texas prisons this summer as Abbott & Co. cook them in their cells without A/C., via Beto.
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@UHoustonhas heartbreakingly disbanded their LGBTQ Resource Center, a beacon of love & support for queer Coogs for over 13 years.
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3-year-old dies while being transported by Abbott to Illinois
Operation Lone Star has trafficked asylum-seekers across the country in squalid conditions for months. @GovAbbott's barbaric practices are killing people.
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The U.S. Department of Education just granted Baylor University a Title IX exemption for sexual harassment. This is the first time that a university has requested a religious exemption to permit sexual harassment and the first time the DoED has granted such a request.
They were granted an exemption for all claims, including the claim about sexual harassment.
The footnote states: Specifically, the University requests assurance “that the belief in or practice of its religious tenets by the University or its students” would not constitute “unwelcome conduct” under the Department’s definition of “sexual harassment” under Title IX.
Baylor University specifically sought assurance that the university and its students could not be accused of sexual harassment for their behavior towards LGBTQIA+ people. Your religious tenets should not require you to act in a way that may be classified as sexual harassment.
Baylor wrote: “The University does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression per se, but it does regulate conduct that is inconsistent with the religious values and beliefs that are integral to its Christian faith and mission.”
Read about REAP’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education regarding the use of religious exemptions at taxpayer-funded colleges:

Feel good du jour:

Three cheers for Portugal, which has granted asylum to all 150 students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. The students are rebuilding their lives as they keep alive Afghanistan’s musical heritage. The Taliban have banned music as immoral. via @timurkuran

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“My neighbours are too low income to afford a wifi connection, and too proud to use mine. So I renamed mine Free Council Wifi and told them I had read about it and what the password was. My neighbour is now halfway through an online college qualification and l'm so proud of her.”

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Sweet story of kindness to migrant children:

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@eliistender10    Aug 5
On many of the films he worked on, Robin Williams would ask the production company to employ at least 10 homeless people. During his career, he helped over 1500 homeless people get work
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Bits of beauty:

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