Coronavirus Tidbits #271, November 12, 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.


New study suggests gargling with salt water may be associated with lower COVID hospitalization

As COVID and its health effects move into a fourth year, those who become infected may be searching for remedies to improve their respiratory symptoms and keep them out of the hospital.

A total of 58 individuals were allocated to either the low (27) or high (28) saline regimens; three were lost to follow-up. There were no significant differences in the primary or secondary outcomes of the study between these two groups.

"The low- and high-saline solutions consisted of 2.13 grams and 6 grams of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water, respectively. Gargling and nasal rinsing was done four times a day for 14 days.

During the study period, 9,398 individuals with positive SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated and were the reference population. The hospitalization rates in the low- (18.5%) and high- (21.4%) saline regimens were significantly lower than in the reference population (58.8%.) No significant differences were noted in other outcomes among these groups.

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COVID-linked loss of smell, taste found to resolve by 3 years after infection

the new study finds that sense recovery does happen over time.

For example, while about two-thirds (64.8%) of people with mild COVID said they'd lost their  and/or taste at the time they were ill, that number dropped to about 32% one year later, then to 20.5% two years after infection, and finally to about 16% three years later.

That last number differed only slightly from the group of people who had never tested positive for COVID-19, the researchers noted.

The bottom line, according to the researchers: Former COVID  "should be reassured that a recovery of olfaction appears to continue over 3 years after initial infection."

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Australia is in a new COVID wave. What can be expected this time?

Australia is now into its next COVID wave. We've seen hints of this for a while. Case numbers and indicators of severe disease began rising in Victoria in August. But it has taken several months for a consistent pattern to emerge across Australia.

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More than half of COVID-19 patients have post-disease syndrome

The School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) found that 55% of the patients who sought medical treatment from the HKBU Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Center Against COVID-19 during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to experience at least one long COVID symptom for six months to a year after diagnosed with an infection. The most common symptoms are fatigue, brain fog and cough.

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COVID, flu vaccine uptake in US healthcare workers lacking

Today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers published two studies on COVID-19 and flu vaccine coverage among US healthcare personnel (HCP), with one finding higher flu vaccine than COVID-19 vaccine uptake in 2023, and one suggesting that hospital workers were less likely to be vaccinated against flu during the 2020-21 and 2022-23 flu seasons than before the pandemic.

And only 17% of healthcare workers at acute care hospitals were up-to-date with their COVID booster for the 2022-2023 respiratory season.

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Long COVID linked to allergies in new study

In an analysis of 13 published prospective studies of people of all ages with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who were followed up for at least 12 months, pre-existing allergic conditions were linked to higher risks of experiencing long COVID, according to a study today in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

This is one of the first studies to assess the relationship between long COVID and allergies.

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10 years of cognitive decline from a SARS-COV-2 infection.
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Long Covid--brain fog
A new study found that neuroinflammation and blood-brain-barrier dysfunction are not likely drivers of the symptoms,
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US approves first vaccine against Chikungunya virus

a virus spread by infected mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical areas in Africa, SE Asia, India, and S. Am that the FDA called "an emerging global health threat."

Cases occurred in southern Europe (Italy) a couple of years ago. 

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Risk of disease spread soars in Gaza as health facilities, water and sanitation systems disrupted:

Lack of fuel has led to the shutting down of desalination plants, significantly increasing the risk of bacterial infections like diarrhea spreading as people consume contaminated water. Lack of fuel has also disrupted all solid waste collection, creating an environment conducive to the rapid and widespread proliferation of insects, rodents that can carry and transit diseases.



still an incredible, negligent last of testing.


Convalescent Plasma Lowered Risk of Death in COVID-19 ARDS

Emily Harris

JAMA. Published online November 8, 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.21872

Patients with COVID-19–induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, who were treated with convalescent plasma from recovered donors between September 2020 through March 2022 had a lower risk of death at about 1 month compared with those who received standard care, according to results from 475 participants, almost all of whom were also treated with glucocorticoids. About 35% of participants in the treatment group died by day 28 compared with 45% in the standard-care group.

All study participants in the open-label trial had received invasive mechanical ventilation for fewer than 5 days. The survival benefit of convalescent plasma was driven by patients who received the treatment within 48 hours of starting invasive mechanical ventilation. The research was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Devices and Ventilation:

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Covid-19 sick days were 20 per cent lower in schools with air-cleaning HEPA filter machines, researchers on an eagerly-awaited study have found. But why has it taken so long to discover how well they work? 
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13/ Mount Sinai’s Cohen Center for the Recovery from Complex Chronic #Illness (CoRE) will also add HEPA filters and germicidal UV devices to its building to clear airborne viruses & other aerosols from the air, and require N95 respirator use and COVID PCR testing from its staff.
14/ This infrastructure can be easily replicated at other centers. "People with Long COVID have the right to access care in spaces where they feel safe and do not have to fear reinfection" says Dr. David Putrino, The Nash Family Director of the CoRE.

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Boston Globe: Massachusetts on Thursday reported 1,451 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 21 deaths in the week from Oct. 29-Nov. 4.

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Pre-existing asthma or allergic rhinitis were associated with an increase in the risk of #LongCovid, from a meta-analysis of 13 studies

Tips, general reading for public:




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Please don’t throw away your mascara wands. Instead, clean with dawn soap, place them in a ziploc bag and mail them to a Wildlife Refuge accepting donations. They can be used to clean away oil, larvae, fly eggs, mites, mud and other contaminants from wildlife. Addresses:

Pick your refuge to mail to: Appalachian Wild P.O. Box 1211 Skyland NC 28776 OR Wildlife Wands P.O. Box 1586 Southwick, MA 01077



Covid litigation: state employers are liable when they affirmatively and with deliberate indifference create or expose their employees to a dangerous working environment.

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NEW OPEN ACCESS book: “COVID-19 & the Law: Disruption, Impact & Legacy”

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Our member donated a large clinical-grade air purifier/filter to a local youth group. They returned it after 3 weeks saying that parents didn't like to see it as it "reminded them of the dangers of Covid for their kids".
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Abortion/reproductive rights:

Right to Life sues to block Michigan's voter-approved abortion rights law 

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Cancun abortion clinic aims to serve Americans from restrictive states

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I'm not sure why the @nytimes is reporting that Mike Johnson thinks abortion should be "left up to the states" when, in 2023, he co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which would ban all abortion, nationwide, without any execeptions.
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Right after Issue 1 passed, Ohio Republicans in the Assembly came right out and said they would try to block its effect. That is anti-democratic in the extreme. Here is the letter that over two dozen of them signed, saying they would “do everything in our power” to “prevent our laws from being removed” based on “perception of intent.”
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As of 10/10 the entire Brigham & Women’s system in Boston is not accepting any new patients for primary care. This is US healthcare.
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Speaker Mike Johnson is a member of Cypress Baptist Church. Their Day Care  got a PPP loan for $74,500; the church, one for $530,200. It was forgiven.
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Billionaire Harlan Crow just gave $693,000 to the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee Today they STOPPED their investigation into the corruption of Crow & Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo Senate is being bribed in broad daylight & the media isn’t saying a damn thing
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20 families in California’s Imperial Valley used about 1 in every 7 drops that flowed through the Lower Basin of the Colorado River in 2022, or about 387 billion gallons
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At least 9 precincts in Hinds County—Mississippi's most populous county and the home of the 83%-Black capital city of Jackson—have run out of ballots in the statewide election. and had to stay open longer (which GOP tried to stop)
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Democratic candidate Judge Daniel McCaffrey wins the race for Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Democrats now have a 5-2 majority on the court.
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Danica Roem's will become Virginia's first transgender Senator!
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For 130+ years a Michigan law criminalized hiring transportation to bring voters to the polls. In August, my team filed a lawsuit. Today, that law was repealed.
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"Strikingly, of the 94 district courts across our country, 25 have never had a non-white judge. Think about that. In a quarter of our country, every single case brought to a federal court has only ever been heard by a white judge." - Rakim Brooks
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School boards:
6. What happened in Pennridge was seen across the country. According to the American Federation of Teachers, “candidates publicly endorsed by conservative groups such as Moms for Liberty and the 1776 Project lost about 70% of their races."

Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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The librarian who couldn’t take it anymore

Sad commentary about our country's decline towards fascism: GIFT link

Bits of beauty:

Sweet gum


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