Coronavirus Tidbits #288, March 31, 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.

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; 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
VoPro Pros:

Field Team 6: MISSION:  Register Democrats.   Save the World. 

I've also been working this week doing research for the Blue Voter Guide. They could use more research volunteers, looking into who is supporting candidates for "nonpartisan" races. The is a valuable guide, particularly for local races. Check out for a variety of volunteer opportunities.


“This is the 28th week in a row with more than 1,000 new COVID deaths in the U.S." - BNO News

“We're finally below 500,000 daily infections; Just under 1% of the U.S. is actively infectious" - Mike Hoerger

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Ventilation is the big news of the week. #CovidIsAirborne.


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"Mandating Indoor Air Quality for Public Buildings"

New paper in @ScienceMagazine: Explaining current status of indoor air quality standards (in short: bad or non-existent), the huge health benefits that would arise from them & proposing a path forward

5/ A concrete PROPOSAL for new indoor air quality standards: - For PM2.5, CO2, and CO, which low-cost advanced sensors have demonstrated stability, durability, and robustness - Also ventilation rate PER PERSON


6/ - PM2.5 is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide (

7/ - CO2 (carbon DIoxide) can serve as a proxy for occupant-emitted contaminants and pathogens and as a means to assess the ventilation rate.

8/ "Ventilation is a key control strategy for contaminants generated indoors" "The efficacy of ventilation in reducing infection risk has been demonstrated in many studies" (e.g. this study for COVID-19 transmission in schools):

from Prof. Jose-Luis Jimenez  @jljcolorado

Free link:

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The WHO has a free online Airborne Risk Indoor Assessment (ARIA) tool that enables individuals & bldg mgrs to assess risk of #COVID19 airborne transmission in a given setting more accurately & identify actions to sig transmission risk:

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CDC strikes again!

With more than 1000 deaths per week, CDC is cutting reporting from daily to weekly.

They are also cutting the Test to Treat program that provided testing, telemedicine, and Paxlovid.

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"Abzymes" - Clue to Long Covid

"Researchers led by UVA's Steven L. Zeichner, MD, Ph.D., found that COVID-19 may prompt some people's bodies to make antibodies (called 'abzymes') that act like enzymes that the body naturally uses to regulate important functions—blood pressure, for example. Related enzymes also regulate other important body functions, such as blood clotting and inflammation.. Zeichner and his team thought [and found] that some patients might make antibodies against the Spike protein that looked enough like ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) so that the antibodies also had enzymatic activity like ACE2.. If patients with long COVID make abzymes that activate proteins that control processes such as coagulation and inflammation, that could explain the source of some of the long COVID symptoms and why long COVID symptoms persist even after the body has cleared the initial infection. It also may explain the rare side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.. enzymatic antibodies have already been detected in certain cases of HIV.." COVID-19 is not flu. 'COVID-19 antibody discovery could explain long COVID' -  via Hiroshi Yasuda

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COVID booster cuts severe COVID risk by a third in patients with weak immune systems

One dose of the updated, single-strain COVID-19 vaccine introduced last fall is 38% effective against hospitalization in the 7 to 59 days after receipt and 34% effective at 60 to 119 days in adults with weakened immune systems, yet uptake in this group is low, estimates a study published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Moderna reports promising findings for next-generation COVID vaccine

Moderna today announced promising interim phase 3 clinical trial  findings for its next-generation COVID vaccine, which offers the potential for a longer shelf life and paves the way for a combination mRNA vaccine against flu and COVID.

The mRNA-1283 vaccine showed a higher immune response—including in seniors—than its currently licensed vaccine, called mRNA-1273.222. Response was higher against Omicron BA.4/BA.5 as well as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"The storage, shelf life and pre-filled syringe presentation of mRNA-1283 could alleviate healthcare provider burden and potentially increase access into new settings to serve public health," the company said in its statement.

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COVID-19 survivors face increased psychiatric risks, spotlight on vaccination's mental health benefits

26,101 participants who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared against 380,337 contemporary controls and 390,621 historical controls.

The study's findings were alarming, indicating a heightened risk of various psychiatric disorders among COVID-19 survivors, including psychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders, with notable increases in prescriptions for antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, mood stabilizers, and opioids. Particularly, mood disorders such as depressive episodes and anxiety disorders like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder were more prevalent among those who had contracted COVID-19. Substance use disorders showed a marginal increase, with a specific rise in alcohol use disorder, while the risk of sleep disorders also saw an uptick.

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Study in fall 2022 in France: Long COVID affects 8% of those with COVID-19, is more common in women 

New national data in France reveals that, by the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, the prevalence of long COVID is 4.0% in the French population overall and 8.0% among people who had COVID-19.

Among the 8.0%, the prevalence varied from 5.3% in men who had COVID-19, to 14.9% among the unemployed, and 18.6% of those with a history of hospitalization for COVID-19. The study is published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

The study is based on a cross-sectional survey of 10,615 participants conducted in August through November 2022.

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Worth a read:

Covid’s scientific silver lining: A chance to watch the human immune system respond in real time

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CDC Health Alert:

Increase in Invasive Serogroup Y Meningococcal Disease

  • Recognize that invasive meningococcal disease may affect people of any age or demographic group.
    • Current increases in disease are disproportionately affecting people ages 30–60 years, Black or African American people, and people with HIV.
  • Be aware that patients with invasive meningococcal disease may present with bloodstream infection or septic arthritis and without symptoms typical of meningitis (e.g., headache, stiff neck).
  • Ensure that all people recommended for meningococcal vaccination are up to date for meningococcal vaccines.

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Avian flu in dairy cows:

Avian flu detections in dairy cows raise more key questions

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Questions and Answers Regarding Milk Safety During Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Outbreaks

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I find it concerning how many mammals HPAI H5N1 is learning to infect. Now dairy cows for the first time. A bunch of outbreaks reported in the past week, and some evidence of cow-cow transmission. Texas, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Idaho so far.
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  • Cases of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases are surging this year across the Americas, the Caribbean, esp Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Puerto Rico

“It’s happening because of a confluence of a number of forces, which include global warming, climate change, and urbanization together with poverty. Those three things seem to be creating a toxic mix,” per Peter Hotez.

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Statins and Diabetes

A 36% increased risk of high-intensity statins for inducing new onset diabetes as seen from all randomized, placebo-controlled trials (absolute increase from 3.5% to 4.8%).

That's an increase of Type 2 diabetes of 13/1,000 people taking high-intensity statins (which millions do). Another reason for people without heart disease to get a coronary artery disease polygenic risk score to gauge magnitude of statin benefit.


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.



See The WHO’s free online Airborne Risk Indoor Assessment (ARIA) tool enables individuals & bldg mgrs to assess risk of #COVID19 airborne transmission in a given setting more accurately & identify actions to sig transmission risk:

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Asymptomatic Kids with COVID play key role in household spread

10.6% of exposed household contacts developed symptomatic illness within 14 days of exposure to asymptomatic test-positive children, a rate higher than expected.

"We determined that the risk of developing symptomatic illness within 14 days was 5 times greater among household contacts of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2–positive children," the authors wrote.

They also found that 6 of 77 asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2–infected children during a 3-month follow-up developed long COVID, or 7.8% of them.

The finding is noteworthy, as likely more than 30% of all COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, and asymptomatic infections are presumed to be benign—especially those in children.

Tips, general reading for public:






'Yellowstone' star Forrie J. Smith says he was 'kicked off' flight for refusing to sit next to masked passenger

'I just told them I didn’t feel comfortable about sitting next to somebody that had to wear a mask, and I’m off the plane,' -
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"There will be a reduced number of members of the royal family present in order to avoid the health risks associated with large crowds." Wait. What? There are health risks associated with large crowds? - @1goodtern
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Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for trying to submit a provisional ballot in 2016 that was rejected, has been acquitted on appeal. Background:
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Georgia Republican official and outspoken election denier caught voting illegally 9 times

Brian Pritchard was ineligible to vote due to past felony convictions,

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Wisconsin will be a critical swing state in this year’s presidential race. But a Republican-backed ballot measure could threaten the different actors officials rely on to pull off an election.
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“Cheney has said she’ll travel the country this year, especially in swing states, to campaign against Trump. “‘I certainly have policy disagreements with the Biden Administration. I know the nation can survive bad policy. We can’t survive a president who is willing to torch the Constitution,’ Cheney said, to cheers.”

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Parnas: Congressman Pete Sessions, then Congressman Devin Nunes, Senator Ron Johnson and many others understood they were pushing a false narrative. The same goes for John Solomon, Sean Hannity and media personnel, particularly at Fox News

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Feel good du jour:

Sick of flat tires, he’s picked up 400 pounds of metal bits with his bike

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Goats were stuck in traffic. Dozens of strangers helped milk them. Gift article -- free

Comic relief:

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Moving video:
ASSUME THAT I CAN | World Down Syndrome Day 2024
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A sense of impending doom,
fear of a loss of control,
nausea and headache,
a feeling of uncertainty,
troubled by trembling
I had looked up the symptoms
of a panic attack
only to find
many of them
to be sensible reactions
given the state of the world.

Bits of beauty:


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