Coronavirus Tidbits # 263, Sept 17, 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.


#COVID levels are so high, they’re hovering near 2020’s initial peak,

as the @WHO urges those @ high risk to take any booster they can get their hands on.             @ErinMPrater
The model also predicts an additional 7-10% of the population will be infected in the 6 weeks. Here has been the trend since the start of the pandemic (model calibrated):
BUT Want to mention again, we monitor new hospital admissions because they have been effectively proportional to waste water and community spread since Omicron took over in late 2021. No comparison to the very high level of hospitalizations early in the pandemic.
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Covid Boosters Approved

although initially some wanted to limit it to those >75 d/t "cost-effectiveness." The FDA and CDC's ACIP committee seemed oblivious to Long Covid.

Moderna and Pfizer boosters approved; Novavax is pending.

The decision about boosters isn't only about risk of severe Covid. All studies reviewed to date show vaccine protection associated with reduced #LongCovid (range 18-75%, avg ~40% )

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Should You Get the Flu Shot and COVID Booster at the Same Time?

No real downside to doing so--antibody levels are protective. Perhaps slightly more discomfort. Faust suggests waiting for the flu vax until later in fall or Dec though, since that's when cases start to increase.

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UK reports nursing home COVID outbreak involving BA.2.86 variant

In a technical briefing on SARS-CoV-2 variants today, the UK Health Security Agency (HSA) revealed that, of 34 confirmed involving the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant, 28 were from a single outbreak at a nursing home, an early sign that it can spread in close-contact settings.

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India shutters schools, establishes containment zones in Nipah outbreak area

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In Arkansas, officials say a person's death from a brain-eating amoeba was linked with a country club's splash pad.

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U.S. cancels program aimed at identifying potential pandemic viruses

Critics feared DEEP VZN research projects could help viruses jump from animals to humans

In what many see as fallout from the concern that researchers studying bat viruses may have triggered the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has prematurely ended a $125 million program aimed at identifying viruses in animals that might harm humans.

USAID launched the program, known as the Discovery & Exploration of Emerging Pathogens – Viral Zoonoses (DEEP VZN), in October 2021.


NIH-supported program is giving out SIX FREE COVID TESTS.

Sign up here: No insurance required. You also get access to telehealth, as well as free treatment (if eligible). Please share and get the word out!
     --@luckytran  Sep 10

Drugs and Vaccines:

mRNA Flu Shot Targets $8 Billion Respiratory Market

Moderna Inc.'s respiratory vaccine franchise is targeting an approximately $30 billion annual market, comprised of a $15 billion COVID-19 market, a $10 billion RSV market, and a $6 billion flu market, with the potential for growth with more effective vaccines.

According to Modern'a press release on September 13, 2023, the Company's respiratory products sales in 2027 are expected to be in the range of $8 billion to $15 billion, depending on certain variables.

[Reminder: Much of this was developed with NIH tech/government funded research]

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Thread on Novavax

One page web view: Start - Broader Protection (Adjuvant) - Reduced side effects - Mixing with mRNA doses -

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Novavax builds a progressively stronger antibody response between shots. The data shows that the longevity of Novavax was increased relative to that of mRNA. This is a unique feature of Novavax.


Devices and Ventilation:

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@mdc_martinus   Sep 7
Massachusetts, Act of 1888: ‘Every public building and every schoolhouse shall be ventilated in such a proper manner that the air shall not become so exhausted as to be injurious to the health of the persons present therein.’ The inspectors went from school to school with……   [thread]

Epidemiology/Infection control:

"Ventilated, clean air [has a role] in preventing the spread of COVID

, and research shows that improved air filtration and ventilation can also increase employee performance and productivity as well as improve test scores and teacher retention rates."
@JohnsHopkinsSPH  Sep 9
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In UK, 2.6 million now out of work due to long-term sickness
    @FraserNelson   Sep 12

Tips, general reading for public:






Proclaiming "COVID is over," commissioners in Michigan's fastest-growing county are threatening to cut millions of dollars budgeted for public health...

the new commissioners — claiming COVID is over — are threatening to cut millions of dollars from the county’s health department.

Local public health officials say the potential loss of funding could severely impact several essential services, including vaccines, cancer screening and testing for sexually transmitted infections. These proposed cuts also come after the board attempted to replace the county’s top health official, sparking a monthslong legal battle.

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@joaquinlife   Sep 12
Did I hear that right? 130 people submitted for ACIP’s oral public comment and they only had 1 speaker? And the CDC’s response is “we don’t know what happened?” Are you serious? @CDCgov
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Dangerous sign. The @US_FDAwas right to assert lack of any evidence of benefit for ivermectin. But the court ruled in favor of doctors prescribing whatever they want
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Kim Davis must pay $100,000 to US same-sex couple she denied marriage license

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PEPFAR, one of the greatest public health inventions of our time, is at risk

The program — which has operated largely within Africa, saving over 25 million lives and sustaining the antiretroviral treatments for more than 20 million others — is as much about steering the world away from the grips of AIDS as it is about elevating the health of women.

Now, on the eve of its renewal, PEPFAR has been ensnared in the inescapable gravity of abortion politics. Congress may not renew PEPFAR for its typical five-year term. The problem with PEPFAR is not one of cost — it is one of ideology.

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Property developer and CEO Tim Gurner: "We need to see unemployment rise. Unemployment has to jump 40, 50 percent in my view. We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around."
    @kenklippenstein  Sep 12
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Al Franken posed for a stupid photo and Democrats forced him to resign. Lauren Boebert got caught on video with her hand down her some guy's pants and Republicans are just going to pretend it never happened. this is why the rest of the world thinks we've lost our fucking minds
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Kevin McCarthy’s Brother-In-Law Got $7.6M in Government Contracts — “Never Discussed”
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@MuellerSheWrote   Sep 13
Looks like Elon Musk’s Starlink went out during yet another critical Ukraine offensive against the Russian Navy last night. The cruise missiles (not reliant on Starlink) hit their targets. But the drones - which rely on Starlink - were destroyed by the Russian military.
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Elon Musk stripped @UAW of their verification on X after they went on strike against the Big 3 automakers.

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@DrEricDing   Sep 14
Though state leaders continue to downplay COVID risks, Florida currently has the highest #COVID19 hospitalization rate—and the 11th week in a row that the state’s #COVID hospitalizations have increased. Tests also scarce. Solid leadership @RonDeSantis.
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Florida's Ladapo rejects CDC, FDA guidance on vaccines (again) - encourages people to not get vaccinated.

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Two Kansas librarians were fired after city leaders objected to a display they’d made that included rainbows, but the displays were meant to promote autism awareness.

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Wisconsin School Board Fights Scourge Of Childhood Food Addiction By Opting Out Of Universal Free Lunch

Karin Rajnicek, a school board member, said the free program made it easy for families to "become spoiled." Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for business services, said there could be a "slow addiction" to the service.

Feel good du jour:


Bits of beauty:

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