Coronavirus Tidbits #289, April 7, 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.

~ ~ ~

PSA - Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform Act (SOAR)

brought by Representatives David Valadao (R-CA), Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Julia Brownley (D-CA), is identical to S.3821 introduced by US Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Feb 28. The SOAR Act would establish a new payment methodology for liquid oxygen and for supplemental oxygen patients to access respiratory therapists.

The legislation is supported by the American Lung Association, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, COPD Foundation, American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians, Council for Quality Respiratory Care, and American Association for Respiratory Care, and Alpha-1 Foundation.

Please consider asking your federal reps to support this. The American Lung Association created an online form to allow constituents to easily contact their senators.

~ ~ ~

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.

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.


1 in 105 Americans actively infectious (0.95%); >400,000 daily infections; About 400-600 thousand daily infections anticipated most of the next 4 months.” - Michael Hoerger

About 17.6% of those surveyed by the Census Bureau in January said they have experienced long COVID… Compare these new numbers to October 2023 and earlier, when long COVID numbers hovered between 14% and 15% of the US adult population as far back as June 2022.” [Medscape]

You can see wastewater data at SCAN  for many geographic areas. Hagerstown is Medium for Covid, High for Flu, noro, and other. DC is high for all of those.

Lucky Tran: In the US, COVID wastewater levels are now low. If you've been holding off getting healthcare or doing other indoor activities, now is one of the best times of the year to do these things more safely.

~ ~ ~

Covid infections are down, but JN.1.13 has been increasing in recent weeks,

rising from nearly 2% of new cases last month to nearly 11% over the past two weeks.

~ ~ ~

Wastewater testing near homeless camps shows COVID-19 viral mutations

Wastewater testing has become a hallmark of viral surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new study looking at samples collected near homeless encampments reveals novel viral mutations and transmission patterns and 26% of water samples containing SARS-CoV-2 genetic material.  study

~ ~ ~

TREAT ME survey

NOT peer reviewed: of 668 respondents with long COVID, between 40% and 70% found some symptom relief when taking the supplements nattokinase, serrapeptase or lumbrokinase, individually or in combination

~ ~ ~

Avian Influenza, aka "Bird flu" -- misc notes

has the potential for being a global disaster. The infection was initially confined to birds and has caused massive deaths; then it spread to a variety of wild mammals.

This past week, avian flu H5N1 was found for the first time in cattle and in a US resident.

[Not accurate report: An inmate in Colorado has become the first human in the US to test positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, in 2022 ]

At least 25 cats died of bird flu in Poland last year.

Scattered cases of cat deaths reported last year:

The human case in contact with infected cattle presented with conjunctivitis. This is a known entry point for human and avian influenza viruses. Well described for H7 viruses, it was the most common symptom in the H7N7 outbreak in The Netherlands in 2003.

"avian influenza doesn't readily infect humans (and doesn't transmit well from human-to-human) in part because of subtle differences in key cell surface receptors. per Sam Scarpino.

However, our eyes actually contain the bird-flu-friendly confirmation of the cell surface receptor. This is why eye inflammation is often a symptom of avian influenza infection in humans."

Total number of herds now 16, in 6 states.  Also CATS.

Pigs are harder to infect – but if it mutates in pigs, that poses a greater threat to people,

In last 10 years 254 cases in 4 countries in Asia, 56% fatality rate.

From 2003 to 2024, 887 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported from 23 countries. Of these 887 cases, 462 were fatal. That's a horrifying case fatality rate (CFR) of 52%

Almost all the humans who got it, caught it from another animal. However, there have been suspected instances of humans getting avian flu from other humans: (-@deonandan)

Currently, one way the infection is spreading is from cows being transported from TX transmitting the disease. Dairy farms are not taking appropriate precautions with HAZMAT gear. Dairy farms aerosolize the virus by cleaning floors with high power sprays. A major poultry farm in Michigan, top egg producer, has tested positive – it has been shut down.

The largest egg producer in the US, Cal-Maine Foods, has culled ~ 1.6 million hens & 337,000 pullets in Texas due to bird flu. Egg production has been halted. The virus has also infected a commercial poultry facility in Michigan.

Did you know? "The cattle-feeding industry has been built largely on the use of by-products and other materials that can be digested only by ruminants because these generally are economical sources of nutrients in cattle diets. One by-product that can be used as a cattle feed is broiler litter.

Broiler litter is a good source of supplemental protein, energy, and minerals, especially for brood cows and stocker cattle, which are the backbone of the cattle industry in the state. In addition to offering an economic advantage, using broiler litter in feed also helps to utilize valuable nutrients. These nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other mineral elements, are distributed on pasture land as manure by the cattle consuming the litter. Broiler litter offers so many advantages that even long-distance transportation does not reduce its economic value. Alabama beef cattle producers can make use of this plentiful resource to substantially reduce their production costs."

In fact, there is a withdrawal period when feeding broiler litter for 15 days before they can be slaughtered for beef.

organically grown vegetables grown on composted broiler litter.

Feeding Broiler Litter to Beef Cattle

~ ~ ~

Judy warns against unpasteurized milk at all times, but especially now. No uncooked eggs, for the same reason.

Wear face mask around sick animals, keep farm clothes at the farm,

Keep cats indoors to minimize infections.

Prepare for major meat and egg shortages later this year.

Chickens are being vaccinated, but there isn’t a good vaccine for cows and people. Concern about derailing seasonal flu vaccine (which is only 50% effective).

Keep eyes out for effects on local wild bird populations, watch for sick birds at your own feeders. No known spread through cleaning bird feeders, if you don’t aerosolize the feces.

Best source for in-time reporting is FluTrackers:

Also worth reading:

"Sources tell Science some dairy farms that were later shown to be infected first noticed dead cats as early as mid-February. The animals, which often drink spilled milk on farms, “were the canary in the mine,” one said. The cows’ milk was also unusually thick. Those signs, coupled with the discovery of dead birds on the farms, led to the testing of cow milk for the bird flu virus and the 25 March USDA announcement."

Oddly, the dead birds on infected farms were not waterfowl, the migratory birds that typically spread the avian flu viruses to poultry, but “peridomestic” species such as grackles, blackbirds, and pigeons.

~ ~ ~



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 33 more measles cases, raising the national total so far this year to 97, according to its latest weekly update. The CDC also said 1 more jurisdiction, New York state, has reported a case, which brings the locations reporting cases to 18. Most of the latest cases are from an ongoing outbreak linked to a migrant shelter in Chicago. The CDC said 59% of the people with measles this year were unvaccinated, with status not known for 24%, and with 17% having received one or two measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine dose. More than half (56%) of the patients were hospitalized for isolation or treatment of illness complications.

~ ~ ~

Covid increases risk of allergies

Those infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed a 20% higher occurrence of allergic diseases compared to those not infected....the likelihood of developing asthma was 2.25 times that in non-infected individuals.

Moderate-to-severe COVID-19 was linked to a 50% higher risk of overall allergy, compared to 14% among those with mild disease.

~ ~ ~

DR Congo mpox outbreak tops 4,500 cases so far this year

A severe mpox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues at a brisk pace, with cases in the first quarter of 2024 triple that of the same period last year, and with nearly 300 deaths reported in 2024.

The DRC's outbreak involves a different clade than the one circulating globally. The clade 1 virus in the DRC has proven to be more virulent and the pattern of spread is notable, given that children are among the hardest-hit groups and because until now, the clade 1 virus hadn't been known to spread sexually. The virus that is spreading globally belongs to clade 2.

~ ~ ~


In a recent study, ticks collected from New York City parks carried five different pathogens: Lyme, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

~ ~ ~

Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease cluster cases in Michigan

5 cases in 2 clusters

~ ~ ~

North Korea:

A disease of unknown origin is spreading in Yanggang Province, forcing primary schools to cancel classes and send students on vacation, Daily NK has learned.

Some deaths - not specified.

A source in the province told Daily NK on Mar. 29 that an illness had appeared in a number of counties, including Paegam County, with children complaining of fever and bloodshot eyes.



still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs and Vaccines:

Among fully vaccinated, study shows Paxlovid does not shorten symptoms

new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that, for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but having at least one risk factor for severe COVID, the antiviral drug Paxlovid did little to reduce symptom duration, but experts caution the findings might not apply to older patients.

~ ~ ~

Updated COVID-19 shots lower hospitalization risk in immunocompromised people by a third

Other Key takeaways:

  • Updated COVID-19 vaccines lower hospitalization risk among immunocompromised people.
  • Fewer than one in five immunocompromised people hospitalized for COVID-19-like illnesses had received an updated vaccine.

Despite the benefits, researchers found that few patients with compromised immune systems received one of the monovalent shots, which became available in September, replacing the previous bivalent vaccines.

People with immunocompromising conditions, who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes and may have a reduced response to vaccines, were eligible for additional doses of the vaccines, if needed.


The importance of ventilation and air quality in schools: Covid spread in a school correlated with time of room CO2 concentration >1000 ppm, decrease of Covid with MERV-13 filters

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Tips, general reading for public:





Voter fraud:

After 3 years of Trump crying “fraud” about the 2020 election, a court finally found someone who did commit it: Brian Prichard, first Vice-Chair of Georgia’s GOP, who voted illegally nine times while on probation for check forgery and theft.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
Louisiana moves to make ivermectin available over the counter, “deemed as safe as Tylenol”
` ~ ~
@ByPiperHutch   Apr 2
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has called on the state’s higher ed boards to adopt policies that would strip scholarships from athletes not present for the national anthem #lalege #lagov
~ ~ ~
The tenants had lived there for some years. Indeed if you can bear the fire video, it looks like they’d been there for a long time. The wife suffered from Parkinson’s and dementia, which means that her husband was her caregiver.
Interestingly, this wasn’t a non-payment of rent case. The tenants were evicted on a 30-days notice. In most states, a tenant can be evicted for any reason or no reason at all by service of the statutory notice. Most of the time, the tenant is fucked, and just has to move.
long explanatory thread about how elderly and disabled are screwed...

Feel good du jour:

In April, 2009, Lithuanian conductor, composer and music educator Mindaugas Piecaitis contacted Philadelphia musicians and artists Betsy Alexander and Burnell Yow! by email regarding creating a children’s concert piece using footage of their cat Nora. Nora had taught herself to play piano after watching Betsy teach for about one year. At that time, Nora’s YouTube video had already been viewed by millions of people all over the world. More at

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

Comic relief:

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~


Interesting thread on Twitter about Hedge Laying:

Refers to: "Words From the Hedge (by Richard Negus) is funding on @unbounders. It's full of my kind of nature writing: stuff that’s bursting with knowledge that only someone whose livelihood depends on it can gather. Pre-order now & see hedges as if for the first time. (4/12)

Bits of beauty:



Share this post: