Coronavirus Tidbits #283, Feb 25, 2024


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.

All copyrights belong to their respective owners! Message me if you don't want images posted here.


~ ~ ~

Paxlovid use tied to 84% lower risk of hospital care

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill investigators report today that COVID-19 hospitalization risk was reduced by 84% among Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) recipients in a large, diverse healthcare system during January to August 2022, when the Omicron strain was dominant.

The study appears in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Paxlovid is authorized for use in US patients 12 years and older at risk for developing severe outcomes from COVID-19 infections. In early clinical trials, the use of the antiviral drug was associated with a relative risk reduction of 89% of disease progression to severe illness.

~ ~ ~

Long Covid disparities in states:

 pediatric long COVID, which affects an estimated 5.8 million children.

According to the results of the new survey, West Virgnia has the highest long COVID prevalence of any state at 10.6% (95% CI, 9.5%-11.8%). The other six states with a prevalence higher than 8.8% were Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming.

~ ~ ~

New variant being watched:

The CDC announced last week that it's tracking a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 -- named BA.2.87.1 -- given its large number of changes in the spike protein.

~ ~ ~

Missed cancers during the pandemic:

Annual cancer incidence fell almost 30% short of the expected rate from March through December 2020. The difference represented potentially 134,395 undiagnosed cancers during that period. ...Overall, rates of "screenable" cancers decreased by 13.9% versus expected rates.

~ ~ ~

LongCovid linked to persistently high levels of inflammatory protein Gamma Interferon:

A potential biomarker and target for treatments

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~


Now in AZ, New Orleans, and will blossom in Florida:

~ ~ ~

Florida Defies CDC Amid Measles Outbreak, Says Unvaccinated Kids Can Attend School

— CDC advises that unvaccinated students stay home from school for 3 weeks after exposure

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, [is a menace].

Note: Measles has airborne transmission and is highly infectious, with an R0 of 12-18, meaning that 1 measles case => 12-18 secondary cases.

A person with measles can pass along an infection before they develop a fever, cough, rash, or other signs of the illness. About one in five people with measles end up hospitalized, 1 in 10 develop ear infections that can lead to permanent hearing loss, and about one in 1,000 die from respiratory and neurological complications.

Curbing a 2018 outbreak in southern Washington with 72 cases cost about $2.3 millionopens in a new tab or window, in addition to $76,000 in medical costs, and an estimated $1 million in economic losses due to illness, quarantine, and caregiving.

from Amy Maxman, KFF, but also reported here:

~ ~ ~

Lassa Fever:

Long neglected, Lassa fever is surging in West Africa. Researchers want to know why

Lassa fever kills far more people than Ebola does—10,000 or more a year, some researchers suspect, although no one knows for sure. ...

Confirmed cases, which numbered roughly 25 to 100 in previous outbreak years, reached 633, and 171 people died, including 45 health care workers.

Cases in Nigeria have continued to climb each year since then.

Most worrisome, cases are popping up outside the four known endemic countries: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

~ ~ ~

Guideline now recommends fecal microbiota transplant for the majority of recurrent C. diff patients

In the first comprehensive evidence-based guideline on the use of fecal microbiota-based therapies for gastrointestinal disease, the American Gastroenterological Association recommends fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) for most patients with recurrent Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection.


False Positive Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)?

1.7% had at least one false-positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test despite concurrent negative molecular (PCR) tests, according to a brief report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

False negative results are known to occur fairly frequently with rapid antigen COVID-19 tests and, to a lesser extent, with the more accurate RT-PCR tests.

13 people/11,000 had persistent false-positive COVID-19 rapid antigen tests with no negative tests. six of the 13 people reported having an autoimmune disorder.



Epidemiology/Infection control:

Tips, general reading for public:






“Alabama Supreme Court rules IVF embryos are protected under Wrongful Death of a Minor Act”

This absurd ruling is medical malpractice & will end IVF in AL. People suffering from infertility now have no access.

A reminder that Alabama ranks #3 nationally in highest rate of infant mortality.


~ ~ ~

During a recent interview with a QAnon conspiracy theorist, the Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice indicated that he is a proponent of the “Seven Mountain Mandate,” which calls on Christians to impose fundamentalist values on all aspects of American life
~ ~ ~
The same state of Alabama which just executed Kenneth Smith via nitrogen gas asphyxiation would like you to know that frozen embryos are “children” because as per the Bible, human life cannot be destroyed without incurring the wrath of a Holy God.
~ ~ ~
These two headlines are 5 days apart:
•Alabama rejects school lunches for hungry children
•Alabama rules embryos are children
As Republicans put the future of IVF clinics at risk with their extremist views, let me introduce you to Mike Pence’s son Michael, who was a product of IVF.
~ ~ ~

Oral contraceptives:

Told ya. Heritage Foundation is the lead organizer of Project 25. They want the next Republican president to give them control over approving and withdrawing approval of drugs. They are coming for birth control via the FDA, regardless of the courts. ...I’ve noticed that a # of Christian Right influencers characterize it as unsafe, perhaps paving the way for the FDA to withdraw its approval of it in the event a Republican president gives them control of the FDA. ...
Project 25 may “pave the way for the Christian Right to remove birth control from the marketplace entirely…bc the plan specifically targets HHS, including the FDA, which is responsible both for approving drugs AND for withdrawing drug approval.” #CROW 1/
~ ~ ~

The Powerful Constraints on Medical Care in Catholic Hospitals Across America

[Good article but nothing new, I'm afraid. Look at MergerWatch's reports, e.g., This was an issue in Cumberland in the late 1990s when Sacred Heart wanted to take over the secular hospital.]

~ ~ ~
Tesla ordered 4,000 pies for $16,000 from a local bakery in San Jose for Black History Month and then cancelled at the last minute.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
With Steve Bannon cheering, CPAC opens with these chilling words: “Welcome to the end of democracy.” The Trump cult rallies round the fight for theocracy.
~ ~ ~
Letitia James' office won our case against the NRA and its senior leadership for years of corruption and greed.    Wayne LaPierre and a senior executive at the NRA must pay $6.35 million for abusing the system and breaking our laws.
~ ~ ~
Clarence Thomas has just selected Crystal Clanton — who was even fired from Turning Point USA over racist texts that she “hates black people” — as a Supreme Court clerk.  -- @KaivanShroff
Gannett censored this Doonesbury strip about teaching history
~ ~ ~
In Florida, the top 1 percent pay only 2.7% of their incomes on taxes. Meanwhile, the bottom 20 percent pay 13.2% of their income on taxes — nearly five times more. This is what I mean when I say the system is rigged for the rich.
~ ~ ~

How did they die? Nevada limits ‘superbug’ death data

Are people dying “from” C. auris, or are they just dying “with” C. auris?

It’s an uncomfortable question. So much so that the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) is no longer releasing any data regarding deaths involving one of the five CDC “superbugs” classified as an urgent health threat. The last time the CDC provided case counts by state, Nevada accounted for 14% of the cases in the U.S.


~ ~ ~

Bits of beauty:

Rosary pea

Share this post: