Coronavirus Tidbits #286, March 17, 2024

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.

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A call to action--to defeat the GOP and protect democracy.

Note: Maryland is now important to get involved in. If Hogan wins the Senate race, he will work w the Right wing Republicans. He is not the "moderate" many believe him to be:

“GOP Governor Larry Hogan vetoes bill to expand abortion access”
CBS News
“Paid family leave program passes despite Governor Hogan's veto”
— The Baltimore Sun and WMAR
“Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes bills helping unions, tenants and voters”
— The Washington Post
Hogan vetoed legislation that would have let voters fix mistakes on mail-in ballots
— The Washington Post

Hogan is just another one of Mitch McConnell’s allies.

Given what is going on with the Supremes and in the world, it's clearly more important than ever that we work to do this. There are so many ways you can help, from GOTV, to supporting various grassroot efforts, to phone banking, etc.
There are 3 groups I work with and recommend:
Strongly suggest checking out NOPE Neighbors https://nopeneighbors.org/
VoPro Pros: vopropros.com

Field Team 6: MISSION:  Register Democrats.   Save the World.  https://www.fieldteam6.org/

News 

March 11 was 4 yr anniversary of WHO declaring the pandemic!

I never imagined it would still be such a problem or evolve this way...

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Covid stats/predictions

PMC (Michael Hoerger) top and JP Weiland

3.5 cumulative infections per person on average in the U.S. so far

7.3 cumulative infections per person on average in the U.S. in four years, IF transmission continues according to the status quo of the linear trend

1.5% (1 in 65) are actively infectious in the U.S.

>730,000 infections/day

37,000 resulting daily Long COVID cases

pmc19.com/data/ @michael_hoerger

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https://twitter.com/JPWeiland/status/1768774655542767937?s=20

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SARS-CoV-2 RNA can persist in blood, tissue, may play role in long COVID

In two studies, the researchers found SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the blood for up to 14 months post-infection and for more than 2 years in connective-tissue samples from 171 COVID-19 survivors without evidence of reinfection. The team obtained the samples from UCSF's Long COVID Tissue Bank, which houses samples donated by patients with and without long COVID.

The investigators presented the results at this week's Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver.

Double the risk in severely ill patients

The probability of having persistent viral fragments was about double in hospitalized participants and in those who reported being very ill but weren't hospitalized. "As a clinician, these associations convince me that we are on to something, because it makes sense that someone who had been sicker with COVID would have more antigen that can stick around," Michael Peluso, MD, who led the studies, said in a UCSF news release.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/sars-cov-2-rna-can-persist-blood-tissue-may-play-role-long-covid-research-suggests

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Study of 1 million US kids shows vaccines tied to lower risk of long COVID

A study of 1,037,936 US children seen in 17 healthcare systems across the country shows that COVID-19 vaccines are moderately protective against long COVID: 35% to 45%, with higher rates in adolescents. The study was published in Pediatrics.

VE increased to 45% (95% CI, 35% to 53%) against probable long COVID within 12 months for children with two confirmed vaccine doses.

VE was highest for adolescents, at 56%.

"The protective effect of vaccination appeared to wane over time. We observed higher VE against long COVID within 6 months of vaccination than 12 months, whereas extending the observation period to 18 months revealed a further diminution,"

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/study-1-million-us-kids-shows-vaccines-tied-lower-risk-long-covid

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Key issues that need to be prioritized in the study of #LongCovid.

A #SciencePerspective by @zalaly and @EricTopol in  scim.ag/6ez

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WHO downgrades covid from BSL3 pathogen to BSL2

I was particularly concerned by their characterization of it as an “Insignificant public health risk.” (P. 3)

I consulted several experts (WHO did not respond to me) and they uniformly felt this was reasonable at this point and would enable more people to study the virus.

The most detailed response included, "The reality is that SARS-CoV-2, while a substantial pathogen and public health scourge by any reasonable metric, is ubiquitous and with the vast expanse of population immunity presently involved...(reasonable to lower to BSL2 for ) at least, variants whose risk is well understood and deemed to be below a given threshold .

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Covid vaccination benefits

*markedly reduced* blood clots, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and other adverse cardiovascular outcomes, as seen from over 20 million people, about half of whom were vaccinated heart.bmj.com/content/early/

via Eric Topol

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Vaccines cut risk of #post-COVID heart failure, blood clots for at least 6 months, data suggest Effectiveness against heart failure and blood clots in the veins and arteries was 22%, 53%, and 45%, respectively, in the month after SARS-CoV-2 infection. ow.ly/yGfF50QUCLE

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Our RCT on the use of repurposed medications for Covid-19

led by @dr_leshan, was published i@TheLancet's @eClinicalMed

journal (March 13). What we found was an astonishing reduction in acute clinical deterioration, but also a dramatic reduction in post-acute sequelae (Long Covid) symptoms, with zero patients developing brain fog/cognitive symptoms in the combo treatment arms. 995 patients were enrolled in Thailand (in 2021 to 2022) in an open-label outpatient RCT. Eligible were those with early, mild symptoms before signs of deterioration and began treatment within 48 hours of symptoms. 96% were partially or fully vaccinated (combo of viral vector, inactivated and mRNA). Assessed were a number of outcomes:

Four older, commonly available generic drugs were assessed Fluvoxamine (FLV)- an SSRI with possible antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and serotonin reducing properties

Cyproheptadine - an older 1st generation sedating anti-histamine, potentially a blocker of serotonin effects on lungs.

Bromhexine - a cough medicine commonly used in Europe, but also a TMPRSS2 protease blocker

Niclosamide - an anti-helminthic (anti-worm) agent. The effects were dramatic.

Zero patients using combination treatments suffered any clinical deterioration

0 of 178 taking FLV + bromhexine 0 of 147 taking FLV + cyproheptadine 0 of 172 taking niclosamide + bromhexine In the control arm, 47 of 336 (14%) suffered clinical deterioration by day 9 requiring high flow O2 or mechanical ventilation.

There were significant decreases in viral load, and marked decreases in inflammatory cytokine levels. The most astonishing finding was a dramatic reduction in PASC (Long-Covid) symptoms,with zero patients with significant cognitive symptoms in the combination treatment arms at 90 days in all three combo treatment groups.

Dosing: These are the doses used in the trial:
Fluvoxamine: 50mg twice daily x 2 days, then 50mg in the morning, and 100mg evening for 12 more days, then 50mg twice daily for 2 days (total 14 days) This medication can be difficult to tolerate at higher doses (especially at 100mg twice daily), so easing into it may help tolerate it better, and using the higher dose at nighttime so the worst is experienced while sleeping.
Cyproheptadine: 4mg tablet three times daily for 14 days In practice this may be difficult to tolerate as this is a sedating anti-histamine (same class as Benadryl), and taking once at nighttime may mitigate the worst
Bromhexine: 8mg tablet twice daily for 10 days This is a relatively harmless and well tolerated cough medicine commonly found in Europe
Niclosamide 1000 mg twice times daily for a total of 14 days
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(24)00096-8/fulltext#%20
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Paul Alexander, died

Lawyer and author who spent 70 years in an iron lung from polio, died--and none of the articles I saw mentioned that it was from Covid.

https://iris.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665/376231/WHO-WHE-EPP-2024.3-eng.pdf?

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Long Covid stats

16 million adults and 1 million children in the U.S. are currently affected by Long COVID. Two to four million Americans are unable to work because of Long COVID which represents $170 Billion in lost wages every year. per Bernie Sanders. CDC's response?

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In the UK, more than a fifth of working-age adults are deemed not to be actively looking for work. "It means 9.2 million people aged between 16 and 64 in the UK are not in work nor looking for a job. The total figure is more than 700,000 higher than before the coronavirus pandemic."

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-68534537

Long Covid Awareness Day

How much more tone-deaf could the CDC possibly be?

The backlash was appropriately mocking and snarky.

There was also a stupid post in The Guardian.

The whitewashing is impressive.

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Other:

Microplastics and health

"This is the first report to link microplastics with human disease." "It's the first study to show that these ubiquitous and pernicious fossil fuel-based particle are having a direct effect on human health." by @susrust @latimes A1

"In a study released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, an international team of physicians and researchers showed that surgical patients who had a build-up of micro and nanoplastics in their arterial plaque had a 2.1 times greater risk of nonfatal heart attack, nonfatal stroke or death from any cause in the three years post surgery than those who did not."

latimes.com/environment/st

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Tuberculosis

Public health officials Tuesday reported a 17% increase in active tuberculosis cases in San Diego County over the previous year. on.nbc7.com/Zj4dH84

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Cholera

@MicrobesInfect
The global stockpile of cholera vaccines is completely empty. After a long period of global progress against cholera, the number of outbreaks has shot up since 2021. At the same time, the demand for vaccines is greater than ever.

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs:

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Tips, general reading for public:

Vax

Mask

Ventilate

Politics:

Library of Congress:

The Library of Congress has selected four men and only one woman--all white--for the RBG awards previously honoring women leaders. Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch are among the recipients.

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Book Bans:

@orangepeel18
I wanted to know why Charlotte's Web, a lovely children's book that I loved as a child, was being banned in some school districts. I got my answer and it's as ridiculous as you'd imagine: "In 2006, some parents in a Kansas school district decided that talking animals ...
...are blasphemous and unnatural; passages about the spider dying were also criticized as being “inappropriate subject matter for a children’s book.” According to the parent group at the heart of the issue, ‘humans are the highest level of God’s creation ...
...and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God.’" These G*DDAMN christofascists.
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GOP:

@RpsAgainstTrump   Mar 11
Attendees at a Kansas Republican Party event on Friday paid to punched and kicked an effigy of President Biden on Friday. This is not normal.
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Andrea Junker:
Did you know? The word “trumpery” appeared in the 15th century with the meanings “deceit” or “fraud”. 100 years later, it was being applied to objects of no value. Then in the 1900’s, it came to mean “showy but worthless”. Today, it is equated with “treasonous shitweasel”.

SOTU:

Hero of the Day: Is social media journalist Jonathan Katz. He uncovered the truth behind Katie Britt's migrant rape story. He also proved that some of the best journalism are from independent folks, not large outfits, just regular reporters dedicated to finding the truth!

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Alabama:

Last week, the Alabama House GOP advanced a bill to prohibit DEI programs at universities and state agencies, and more, AFTER they began the day with a program to honor the Tuskegee Airmen who fought in WWII.

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Arizona: March 13

The Republican-controlled Senate in Arizona has just shamefully DEFEATED a measure that would have made birth control a right. The number 2 Republican in the state Senate, said women wouldn’t need contraceptives if they weren’t promiscuous:

The “Bayer Company invented aspirin. Put it between your knees,” he said, suggesting that women would avoid risk and pregnancy if they kept their legs together,” said Rep. Sonny Borrelli.

The Right to Contraception Act would have protected the ability of Arizonans to obtain all forms of birth control, including Plan B, and would have guaranteed the right of health care providers to prescribe contraceptives.

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The AZ GOP’s new chair Gina Swoboda: “I'm fueled by God. The president — I have to say, I'm wearing the armor of God. I think that the reason the God made me my nerdly election self is for this time." (She was endorsed by Trump & Kari Lake.) 1/ rawstory.com/new-arizona-go

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Colorado:

Rep. Ken Buck on not running for reelection: “I am not going to lie on behalf of my presidential candidate, on behalf of my party. And I'm very sad that others in my party have taken the position that as long as we get the White House, it doesn't really matter what we say.”

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Georgia:

@jennycohn1
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North Carolina:

@jennycohn1

3/9/24 1/ notesfromthechalkboard.com/2024/03/09/nor

also ncnewsline.com/2024/03/12/nc-

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@marceelias
A unanimous three-judge panel of North Carolina judges struck down a new Republican-sponsored “power grab” law that would have removed the governor’s authority to make appointments to the state board of elections.
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Michele Marrow, the GOP nominee to run North Carolina’s public schools and its $11 billion budget has repeatedly called for executing Democrats including Joe Biden and Barack Obama (who she said she wanted executed PPV on TV).
The Biden execution comment was because Biden suggested Americans were masks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also suggested executing Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other prominent people such as Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.
This individual won the GOP primary this week to be North Carolina’s next Superintendent of K-12 schools (1.5 million students).
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Oklahoma:

Oklahoma County Republicans on Saturday censured GOP Sen. James Lankford over his work to advance a bipartisan border security bill. The only reason they censure him over this Border Patrol Union endorsed bill is because Trump opposes it. It's a cult.

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Texas:

NEW: The 5th Circuit grants a Texas father the right to deny his daughter access to birth control, holding that Title X does not override parents' "right to consent to their teenagers’ obtaining contraceptives" under state law. documentcloud.org/documents/2447

Feel good du jour:

Perspective/Poem

On Jim Stockdale

"If it feels depressing for me, how on earth did he deal with it when he was actually there and did not know the end of the story?”

“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he said, when I asked him. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

I didn’t say anything for many minutes, and we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “The optimists.”

“The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused, given what he’d said a hundred meters earlier.

“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Another long pause, and more walking. Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Bits of beauty:

 

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