Coronavirus Tidbits #287, March 24, 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.

New post:

No one is coming to save us; we must do what we can to take care of ourselves and our community since the CDC has abdicated responsibility.

Ventilation Should Be A Larger Focus In Our Fight Against Covid-19

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2024/03/22/ventilation-should-be-a-larger-focus-in-our-fight-against-covid-19/?sh=176d40b2529f

News 

Forecasts:

1.43% (1 in 70) are infectious;

>680,000 COVID cases/day;

>30,000 resulting Long Covid cases/day.

Expect continued declines in transmission the next 3 weeks, but a high trough.

-- Mike Hoerger, pmc19.com/data

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430,000 new infections/day; JN.1 + "FLiRT" (F456L and R346T) are now growing.

1 in every 770 became infected today;

1 in every 77 people currently infected

JP Weiland https://twitter.com/JPWeiland/status/1768774655542767937

Wastewater levels: https://data.wastewaterscan.org/tracker/

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Vaccines cut risk of post-COVID heart failure, blood clots for at least 6 months, data suggest

from large European study published in Heart

The study period (January to July 2021) was dominated by the Alpha and then Delta variants. Participants included adults of all ages and those at high risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/vaccines-cut-risk-post-covid-heart-failure-blood-clots-least-6-months-data-suggest

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 3 reasons older Americans should get the latest COVID jab now

Increased age means increased risk.

Even now, four years after the start of the pandemic, people 65 years old and up are about twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than the rest of the population. People 75 years old and up are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

Vaccination is still safe, effective—and more beneficial than risky.

And Medicare covers it.

Long COVID can compromise the immune system.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-people-aged-65-and-older-should-get-a-spring-covid-vaccine/

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COVID’s toll on the brain: new clues emerge

A leaky blood–brain barrier and inflammation might account for some of the cognitive symptoms of COVID-19.

Some new studies suggest that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, directly infects brain cells. Those findings bolster the hypothesis that direct infection contributes to COVID-19-related brain problems. But the idea that brain inflammation is key has gotten fresh support: one study, for example, has identified specific brain areas prone to inflammation in people with COVID-19.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00828-9

“In patients with brain fog, MRI scans revealed signs of damaged blood vessels in their brains… dye injected into the bloodstream leaked into their brains and pooled in regions that play roles in language, memory, mood and vision. It’s the first time anyone’s shown that long COVID patients can have leaky blood brain barriers.”

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/long-covid-brain-fog-blood-brain-barrier-damage

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New monoclonal antibody released:

FDA has granted emergency use auth for Pemgarda (pemivibart), a monoclonal Ab given IV every 3 mos, as PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (not treatment) of COVID19 in mod-severely immunocompromised age 12+ & 40 kg+

https://www.statnews.com/2024/03/22/covid-immunocompromised-antibody-protection-invivyd/

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People with hypermobility may be at heightened risk of long Covid

esp POTS and persistent fatigue, research suggests.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/mar/19/people-with-hypermobility-may-be-more-prone-to-long-covid-study-suggests

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Long Covid and work:

KEY STUDY : MISSED WORK due to SARS-CoV-2 INFECTION ! medrxiv.org/content/10.110 "At three months post-infection, 40.8% of participants reported at least one SARS-CoV-2 symptom and 9.6% of participants reported five or more SARS-CoV-2 symptoms. When asked about missed work due to their SARS-CoV-2 infection at three months, 7.1% of participants reported missing ≥10 workdays and 13.9% of participants reported not returning to work since their infection. At three months, participants with ≥5 symptoms had a higher adjusted odds ratio (aOR)

of missing ≥10 workdays (2.96, 95% CI 1.81-4.83) and not returning to work (2.44, 95% CI 1.58-3.76) compared to those with no symptoms. Prolonged SARS-CoV-2 symptoms were common, affecting 4-in-10 participants at three-months post-infection, and were associated with increased odds of work loss, most pronounced among adults with ≥5 symptoms at three months. Despite the end of the Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and efforts to “return to normal”, policymakers must consider the clinical and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s employment status and work absenteeism, particularly as data characterizing the numerous health and well-being impacts of Long COVID continue to emerge."

Other:

Marked rise in toxic shock and #Strep infections in Japan

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/15/japan-streptococcal-infections-rise-details?CMP=share_btn_url

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Avian flu:

H5N1 avian flu detected for first time in US livestock

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/avian-influenza-bird-flu/avian-flu-detected-first-time-us-livestock

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines

@EricTopol  
Molnupiravir, a drug that relies on mutagenesis of #SARSCoV2 to work, is especially dangerous in people who are immunocompromised d/t accelerated evolution and potential transmission of mutated virus
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@EricTopol   
A significantly increased long-term risk of psychiatric disorders and psychotropic meds among people with Covid, and breakthrough infections (vs controls), reduced with vaccination #LongCovid nature.com/articles/s4156

Devices:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Probe links #COVID spread to schoolbus riders from sick driver After being told to quarantine following exposure to the virus, the driver continued to ferry passengers on a public bus, school bus, and charter bus.

cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/probe

People seem loathe to admit that Covid is Airborne...

 

Tips, general reading for public:

Ventilate.

Vax.

Mask.

Politics:

Covid:

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Due to @SenBobHall, county health departments in Texas are now banned from promoting or advertising COVID-19 vaccines. So if a bad strain emerges -- don't look to your county health officials for help.

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‘The @covidinquiryuk has been passed evidence showing that Do Not Attempt Resuscitation notices were placed on medical files of many people with Down’s syndrome, autism & other learning disabilities who were otherwise healthy before contracting the virus.’

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/thousands-of-disabled-people-died-after-covid-treatment-withheld-inquiry-to-probe-2970333?

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Belgium:

@mdc_martinus
Bad news. Belgium's new law to improve indoor air quality was seen by many experts worldwide as a model to follow. Yesterday Belgian politicians threw it out of the window. Federal minister of public health Frank Vandenbroucke: “We will put that difficult debate to rest.”
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TFG/GOP

TFG says there will be a bloodbath if he loses

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Musk on 3/15: "There is either a red wave this November or America is doomed."

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@allenanalysis

A new report has surfaced about an organization funded by Koch, known as the Judicial Education Institute, which is reportedly organizing events for Trump-appointed judges at luxury resorts across the nation. These gatherings are focused on discussing and promoting a new approach to advance "history and tradition" as the governing legal principles...focused on a potentially transformative interpretive method in legal analysis known as corpus linguistics...functions akin to a search engine but is tailored to scour a curated compilation of historical texts, yielding every instance of a word or phrase’s usage. This approach promises a novel lens through which law could be interpreted, anchored in the historical and textual prevalence of legal terms.

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Gaza:

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Russia: 

Parnas just implicated Republican Senators Ron Johnson and Pete Sessions in a Russian scheme to deliver dirt on Joe Biden. https://twitter.com/i/status/1770475207616053264

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Saudi Arabia:

Chess Grandmaster Anna Muzychuk refuses to play in Saudi Arabia and says: "In a few days, I will lose two world titles, back to back." Because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. I refuse to play by special rules, to wear abaya, to be accompanied by a man so I can leave the hotel, so I don't feel like a second class person. "I will follow my principles and not compete in the World Fast Chess and Blitz Championship where in just 5 days I could have won more money than dozens of other tournaments combined." This is all very nasty but the sad part is no one seems to care. Bitter feelings but can't go back. " —Anna Muzychuk

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Abortion:

Powerful video testimony:
nonviable fetus, mandated transvaginal ultrasound, delays, ...
“Eva Burch spoke on the Senate floor about her planned abortion, almost all of her GOP colleagues found something else to do.”
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vs NY, 3/19
Starting today, any woman in New York can walk into a participating pharmacy and choose the birth control method that best fits her needs — without a prescription. This isn’t just about convenience. This is a statement of our values as New Yorkers. -  @GovKathyHochul
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Georgia:
For many years, Republicans have been seeking to add a work requirement to Medicaid (It's based on the discredited idea that poverty exists because people are lazy) Georgia Republicans turned this idea into a reality It's not going well. In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule allowing states to get waivers to tie Medicaid eligibility to employment A bunch of states tried it. Some of the plans were invalidated by courts, and then Biden revoked the waivers for the rest But Georgia sued, saying it was a regulatory "bait and switch" So they are the one state that ties Medicaid expansion to a work requirement.
The program “has cost taxpayers at least $26 million so far, with more than 90% going toward administrative and consulting costs rather than medical care for low-income people.” Only 3.5K people have been able to enroll in the first year.
Georgia had predicted 25K enrollment in the first year. Meanwhile, @Deloitte has collected $2.4 million in consulting fees Expanding Medicaid without the red tape could have helped as many as 395K Georgians.
Despite the program’s failures, GA Gov Brian Kemp is fighting to extend the program, which is set to expire in 2025, to 2028. Numerous other states, anticipating the possibility of a second Trump term, are trying to follow Georgia's lead.
Judd Legum
Louisiana:
Republicans wanted women with life-threatening pregnancies to have c-sections instead of abortions - and people didn't believe me! Today a report out of Louisiana shows that's *exactly* what's happening
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Missouri

prevents divorce during pregnancy, even in cases of domestic violence

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NC

Rep Murphy introduces a bill to ban DEI in medical education

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Texas:

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UK
@EmilyGuerry
Today it was confirmed that Art History will be ‘phased out’ at the University of Kent – along with Anthropology, Journalism, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Music. What a tremendous loss.

Feel good du jour:

The fish doorbell project!

threadreaderapp.com/thread/1769607

Watch the camera and ring the doorbell when you see a fish:

visdeurbel.nl/en/the-fish-do The dam worker will let the fish through.

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Comic relief:

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https://twitter.com/buitengebieden/status/1771467155977977882?s=20

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Brynn Tanhill's dog, Thor, is so darn handsome!

Image

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Perspective/Poem

Great PSA on Down's syndrome:

ASSUME THAT I CAN | World Down Syndrome Day 2024 youtu.be/9HpLhxMFJR8?si

Bits of beauty:

 

 

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