Coronavirus Tidbits #69 7/27/20


First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.


The new multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children syndrome disproportionately affects Blacks (38%) or Hispanic/Latino (38%)

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Bad Omen: Nearly 60% of US parents say they won't vaccinate their kids against HPV

which is associated with 34,800 new cancer cases a year, causes more than 90% of all cervical and anal cancers, 60% of penile cancers, and about 70% of all oral cancers.

Jul 21 Lancet Public Health study and commentary

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And more:

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In Baltimore, a struggling, black-owned nursing home keeps #COVID19 19 at bay with zero infections

WaPo or Balt Sun

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How to stop Covid-19...if only...

“If people washed hands regularly, wore masks, and kept social distance from each other, these 3 simple behaviors could stop most all of the Covid-19 pandemic, even w/out vaccine or additional treatments, according to new study in journal PLoS Medicine.”


still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Many places report 7-10 days to get the results of testing, rendering the tests useless.

Testing regime success matters more than individual test success. Current testing regime is likely finding less than 5% of contagious people since 80-95% aren’t tested and those that are don’t get results for days or longer.

American exceptionalism...


Nature study has identified 21 existing drugs that stop the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Some work synergistically with Remdesivir.

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4 Coronavirus vaccines leap through safety trials — but which will work is anybody’s guess

All four vaccine-makers said that their vaccines elicited some kind of immune response, broadly similar to the responses seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Trial participants experienced side effects commonly seen with other vaccines, such as muscle pain, fevers and headaches, but few developed serious reactions to the vaccines.

Two teams — one at the University of Oxford, UK, in collaboration with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and one made up of researchers at CanSino Biologics in Tianjin, China — that are developing ‘viral vector’ vaccines published1,2 their results in The Lancet on 20 July.

BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, is developing an RNA-based vaccine with drug company Pfizer. Moderna, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has developed a competing RNA vaccine made of the entire spike protein, in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“All of these [vaccines] are inducing some antibodies that neutralize, which is better than no neutralizing,” says Ahmed. That’s a decent sign, he says. Most trial participants produced levels of these potent antibodies similar to those measured in people who have recovered from COVID-19, which can vary widely.

The slew of vaccine trials detected varying degrees of T-cell responses in participants... But comparisons can be thwarted by the fickle nature of the tests researchers use to measure neutralizing-antibody and T-cell responses. The same test can return widely different values when performed in different labs or even on different days.

The US government’s private–public partnership to support COVID-19 vaccines, known as Operation Warp Speed, is supposed to be making such comparisons, notes Hotez. The World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations in Oslo, which has provided financial support to nine vaccine developers, have also announced plans to support this work.

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U.S. strikes $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer, BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The U.S. government will pay $1.95 billion upon the receipt of the first 100 million doses. After that, the U.S. government can acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.

So far, Pfizer and BioNTech have worked to develop the vaccine without U.S. government support.




Home-made face masks likely need at least 2 layers to curb COVID-19 spread

Reduces dispersal of airborne viral droplets from nose and mouth, but 3 layers preferable BMJ 23-JUL-2020

Home-made cloth face masks likely need a minimum of two layers, and preferably three, to prevent the dispersal of viral droplets from the nose and mouth that are associated with the spread of COVID-19, indicates a video case study published online in the journal Thorax.

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Asymptomatic people make up 40 percent of infections in the United States, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Bats and maybe some scaly anteaters likely caused COVID-19 pandemic and they could do it again

A large body of virologic, epidemiologic, veterinary, and ecologic data establishes that the new virus, SARS-CoV-2, evolved directly or indirectly from a β-coronavirus in the sarbecovirus (SARS-like virus) group that naturally infect bats and pangolins in Asia and Southeast Asia. Scientists have warned for decades that such sarbecoviruses are poised to emerge again and again, identified risk factors, and argued for enhanced pandemic prevention and control efforts. Unfortunately, few such preventive actions were taken resulting in the latest coronavirus emergence detected in late 2019 which quickly spread pandemically. The risk of similar coronavirus outbreaks in the future remains high. In addition to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, we must undertake vigorous scientific, public health, and societal actions, including significantly increased funding for basic and applied research addressing disease emergence, to prevent this tragic history from repeating itself.

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Good explainer on COVID-19 Pool Testing: Is It Time to Jump In?

by @RodneyRohde

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Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


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Stephen Miller's grandmother died of COVID-19.

And his uncle blames the Trump administration. Meanwhile, the White House denies she died of COVID.'s on the death certificate.

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Comic relief:

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Thread by Andy Slavitt:

COVID Update July 23: If you don’t know many people who have Coronavirus, its because you don’t know the people who pick the food you eat.

Yes many of the people getting sick are working for us...

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More masks will be required. People will stay home.

But this is only true for those who can. 8/

Are migrant farm workers in 114 degree Yuma, AZ picking the beautiful melons we eat wearing masks? 1/3 are.

5 in a Ford F-150 up at 6 to earn & send money home.

Then to Imperial County, to Salinas, to Fresno, to Wachata, WA. Picking strawberries, lettuce, grapes & apples. 9/

In these migrant camps, high percentages are sick. And then travel from farm to farm. Across Florida, Arizona, Texas, California.

Agriculture may seem a million miles from how you live (or I) & it may not be the first thing you think of when you think of California, say. 10/

But during the “Stay Home” orders, 60% of Californians were forced to go to work. Much in agriculture or in related service areas.

Even without agriculture large portions of the workforce never stopped. 11/

To everyone who complained about the stay at home orders, for a large chunk of the country, they would have felt lucky.

Any grocery worker, trucker driver or day laborer now sick with COVID didn’t have the choice. 12/

I wrote about the experience of the “essential worker” & @medium picked it up. 13/…

Bits of beauty:


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