Coronavirus Tidbits #274 Dec 3, 2023

Announcements:

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.

I'm going to be taking a vacation! As I prep to leave and then go, there may not be a Tidbits for the next several weeks. I'll try though...don't forget me!

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New Post:

CDC has improved its Covid Wastewater Dashboard:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2023/12/01/cdc-improves-their-covid-19-reporting-with-a-new-wastewater-dashboard/?sh=106c479d70b9

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Please join a letter calling upon CDC Director Mandy Cohen to REJECT the HICPAC recommended Healthcare Infection Control Guidelines

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I am writing to ask you to join a sign-on letter urging CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen to reject HICPAC's draft infection control guidance updates and to develop a new draft that engages input from all stakeholders and key experts, including health care workers, unions, patient advocates, and experts in occupational health, industrial hygiene, aerosol science, ventilation, engineering, respiratory protection, and other affiliated fields in updating infection control guidance.

Background: On November 3, 2023, CDC's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) approved and recommended to the CDC draft updated Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings. HICPAC developed the guidelines through a closed process that excluded key experts, health care workers, patients, and the public. The draft guidelines ignore critical scientific evidence and fail to protect healthcare personnel and patients from COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious aerosols in healthcare settings.

Read the full sign-on letter.

Sign the letter using this form. THE DEADLINE TO SIGN IS FRIDAY, DEC. 8, 2023.

News 

 

Meta-analysis reveals high rates of heart complications in long-COVID patients

A review and meta-analysis of long-term cardiac complications of long COVID finds a high prevalence of chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms (arrythmias).

For the study, published this week in BMC Medicine, a University of Washington–led team reviewed 150 studies on 57 cardiac complications that persisted for at least 1 month after COVID-19 infection. They also conducted a meta-analysis of 137 studies on 17 complications. The studies were published from January 2020 to July 2023.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/meta-analysis-reveals-high-rates-heart-complications-long-covid-patients

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Partnership to Distribute Free COVID-19 Tests to Schools Across the Country

All school districts will be able to order tests directly from the federal government beginning in early December

The tests will be made freely available to all traditional and charter LEAs nationwide. School districts may distribute these tests for free to students, staff, parents, and school communities, with the expectation that millions of tests will be sent out in the coming months – allowing schools to stock nurses’ offices, distribute at events, send tests home with students or parents, and more.

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/biden-harris-administration-announces-partnership-distribute-free-covid-19-tests-schools-across-country

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Rare Syndrome After COVID Vaccines Described

— "Long vax" events often include neurologic symptoms

https://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/generalneurology/107644

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Societal polarization regarding vaccinations found to be distorting accuracy of people's recall of pandemic

A quartet of psychologists, economists and health behaviorists from the University of Bamberg, the University of Chicago, the University of Vienna and the University of Erfurt, respectively, has found that people's political views on vaccinations is colorizing their memories of the severity of the global pandemic.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-11-societal-polarization-vaccinations-distorting-accuracy.html?

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New COVID variant takes hold in the United States

So far, preliminary data on the variant suggests it does not trigger more  than previous variants, the WHO said in a recent risk evaluation, but the international agency still noted a recent and "substantial rise" in BA.2.86 cases.

The CDC also noted that BA.2.86  poses a "low" public health risk.

But the CDC data released Monday did show that emergency department visits linked to COVID-19 have begun to climb nationwide.

One particular descendant of BA.2.86 might be driving the increase, experts say.

In recent weeks, scientists have been studying a steep increase in a BA.2.86 descendant called JN.1, which has become the fastest-growing subvariant worldwide.

The good news?

This season's vaccines are expected to work against JN.1, as they do against BA.2.86, the agency said.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-11-covid-variant-states.html?

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RSV increased risk after Covid:

@yaneerbaryam
Direct evidence for COVID causing more infections of RSV published last month RSV risk 40% higher (RR 1.4) after COVID Association of COVID-19 with RSV infections in children aged 0–5 years in the USA in 2022: a multicentre retrospective cohort study
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New Test Panel May be Markers of Long Covid:

Four proteins in particular — Ba, iC3b, C5a, and TCC — predicted the presence of long COVID with 78.5% accuracy.

166 patients, 79 of whom had been diagnosed with long COVID and 87 who had not.

medscape.com/viewarticle/998886

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Threats to public health workers

While doctors and nurses were hailed as the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, their counterparts in public health were experiencing threats. During the pandemic, threats against public health workers reached an all-time high. After the vaccine was released, those threats increased and changed in nature.

During the pandemic, public health leaders felt internal and external pressure to alter data to support lowering COVID-19 restrictions. More than half of local health directors reported harassment of themselves or their staff between March 2020 and January 2021. As a result, more than one in three public health leaders retired, resigned or were fired.

State legislatures also introduced 1,531 bills during the pandemic seeking to alter public health emergency authorities. Of those, 191 were enacted in 43 states. Just 17 laws expanded public health authorities, while 65 laws contracted emergency authorities.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-11-threats-health-workers.html

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Other:

Denmark reports Mycoplasma pneumonia epidemic

Denmark's Statens Serum Institute (SSI) today said Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections have reached the epidemic level, with an increase that began in the summer but has risen significantly over the past 5 weeks, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog.

Last week, the Netherlands reported a striking rise in pneumonia in children and young people since August, according to a government surveillance report flagged by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

The notices of rising pneumonia activity in some European countries come against the backdrop of reports of overwhelmed pediatric hospitals and clinics in China due to a mix of respiratory viruses, including Mycoplasma pneumonia, commonly known as "walking pneumonia." The surge in respiratory infections in China raised fears that a novel pathogen was behind the rise.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/pneumonia/denmark-reports-mycoplasma-pneumonia-epidemic

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Biden looks to boost domestic drug manufacturing, using use the Defense Production Act, amid shortages

https://www.axios.com/2023/11/28/biden-drug-shortages-defense-production-act-covid

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

@EricTopol   
Some good news, folks, on the booster (XBB.1.5). It induces robust levels of neutralizing antibodies vs JN.1 biorxiv.org/content/10.110 All the more reason to get it if you haven't already. JN.1 will likely become dominant here by the holidays
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@EricTopol   
New  @PNASNews
Covid was associated with a marked increase in preterm birth (< 32 weeks of gestation). Vaccination was linked with preventing preterm births. pnas.org/doi/epdf/10.10
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@ENirenberg   
If you're someone who really has a hard time with mRNA vaccines, it is totally reasonable to get Novavax. But you should not get it thinking that this is the ultra-special secret super vaccine that's been missing to make you invincible from COVID. It's a solid vaccine- not magic.
Lots of talk about Novavax lately, but unfortunately not all of it is based in fact. Here's what we know:
- It has a milder side effect profile than mRNA vaccines
- It works to boost mRNA vaccines
- It is not clearly shown to offer better protection than mRNA vaccines
- It gives comparable antibody neutralization to mRNA vaccines in head-to-head comparisons - It gives comparable CD4 T cell responses to mRNA vaccines - It gives weaker CD8 T cell responses than mRNA - The risk of myocarditis with Novavax is not entirely clear

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Tips, general reading for public:

Vax

Mask

Ventilate

Politics:

Billionaire founder of Home Depot Bernie Marcus is known for continuing to fund those in Congress who joined sedition/insurrection and now he said he’ll still financially support TFG.

@HomeDepot has now given $1 million to members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election.
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@MuellerSheWrote   
Dems on the Senate Judiciary just suspended the rules that would have allowed Republicans to procedurally drown subpoenas for Leonard Leo and Harlan Crow with amendments. All republicans walked out. Dems voted to subpoena Crow and Leo.
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Nikki Haley says we have to get rid of social security and Medicare.

Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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https://wapo.st/481qYhk Free link

 

Perspective/Poem

The Lesson Henry Kissinger Took When He Liberated the Concentration Camp That Held My Grandfather

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/the-lesson-henry-kissinger-took-when-he-liberated-the-concentration-camp-that-held-my-grandfather/ar-AA1kPr8I?

Bits of beauty:

 

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