Coronavirus Tidbits #70 7/30/20

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Announcements:

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.

News 

Handy Resource: Smart Dissent

Be Smart. Stay Informed. Actively Dissent. 

Smart Dissent is a database of 750+ actions by Trump & @GOP sorted by topic. We have pages on Education, Healthcare, Immigration, Environment, Regulations, Foreign Policy, Economy, Justice, Taxes, Budget & more.

http://www.smartdissent.com/

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Controversial ‘human challenge’ trials for COVID-19 vaccines gain support

Challenge studies take volunteers who have received an experimental vaccine and deliberately expose them to the infectious agent (in this case, the SARS2-CoV virus, to see if the vaccine provides protection.

This is not something I would recommend and don’t view as ethical, particularly as we learn more about “long-haulers” — people who have prolonged symptoms (months so far) after a Covid-19 infection.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/controversial-human-challenge-trials-covid-19-vaccines-gain-support

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In an autopsy series of COVID-19 patients who died of pneumonia, 2/3 of the hearts were infected with the coronavirus.

In a separate MRI study, 78% of patients had cardiac involvement. This virus attacks the heart at extremely high rates. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768915

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School closures in spring linked to drastic decrease in Covid-19 cases and deaths

https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/29/school-reopening-covid19-cases/?

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing, let alone accurate tests.

Turnaround now 7-12 days in many places, making the tests worthless, since they are not actionable.

More on crappy antibody tests:

Most commercial antibody tests offer crude yes-no answers. The tests are notorious for delivering false positives — results indicating that someone has antibodies when he or she does not.

But the volume of coronavirus antibodies drops sharply once the acute illness ends. Now it is increasingly clear that these tests may also produce false-negative results, missing antibodies to the coronavirus that are present at low levels…

Moreover, some tests — including those made by Abbott and Roche and offered by Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp — are designed to detect a subtype of antibodies that doesn’t confer immunity and may wane even faster than the kind that can destroy the virus.

What that means is that declining antibodies, as shown by commercial tests, don’t necessarily mean declining immunity,

Without more information about what antibody testing results mean, they said, people should… Act as though they do not have immunity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/26/health/coronvirus-antibody-tests.html

Drugs:

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Monkey Data Support Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

— Prevents disease, perhaps transmission too in preclinical tests

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/87788?

Devices:

Still a huge shortage of gowns and masks:

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/pandemic-rages-ppe-supply-remains-problem

And this will only get worse with growing number of cases. Why hasn’t the regime done more? To date, 878 US healthcare workers have died after caring for patients with COVID-19, according to reporting today by Kaiser Health News and The Guardian.

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

The COVID Tracking Project 

Data on current COVID-19 hospitalizations has been unstable since July 15. We’ve written up everything we know about the problems hospitals and states are having, and about some unexpected discrepancies in the state and federal data: ~ ~ ~

On Newborns:

A cohort study of 120 #neonates born to mothers positive for #SARSCoV2 at the time of delivery found no cases of virus transmission, even after 2 weeks of breastfeeding & skin-to-skin contact with appropriate hygiene precautions https://thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30235-2/fulltext

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Transmission of Covid during a flight

“the temporal, spatial, and exposure evidence suggests that #SARSCoV2 transmission may have occurred during the flight.” “during flight, Case 16 moved to Seat 30F and sat there for an hour. In the seats around Seat 30F, there were four infected passengers, with Case 11 and Case 12 sitting on the left side of him, and Case 7 & Case 8 sitting behind him on right” 

“All cases wore masks most of time and none of the cases visited a hospital or had contact with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case during their travel. Case 16 departed from Hangzhou to Singapore on 19 Jan 2020. None of the travelers in his tour group had visited Wuhan…”

“Case 16 reported that he had not visited a hospital and had no contact with individuals suspected of having or confirmed with having COVID-19 before boarding the plane. Moreover, he wore a mask while in Singapore. During air travel, all 16 case passengers wore masks.”

“However, they removed their masks when they ate dinner or drank water provided during the flight. While he talked, he reported that he did not wear his mask tightly, and his nose was outside of mask”

“an informal survey of 18 major airlines identified 4 episodes in first 3 months of 2020 of suspected in-flight transmission to crew, and 4 more where one pilot transmitted to another. This group of airlines represented 14% of global air traffic in that period.

[OTOH, from my perspective it is rather more surprising that on such a large flight, with 15 people with Covid, only 1 other person became infected.]

https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1477893920303124 (Paywalled)

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Long list of products containing toxic methanol rather than ethanol at the link.

Politics:

In our dreams…

https://twitter.com/the_female_lead/status/1287276857763737600?s=20

The bitter reality…

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CBP has deployed 2,174 personnel, 46 aircraft and 2 drones to assist dozens of police departments across the country since June,

This operation is much, much bigger than just Portland: https://thenation.com/article/society/cbp-deployment-harris/… https://pic.twitter.com/3X91mLjzqd

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“Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights

A dozen protesters facing federal charges are barred from going to “public gatherings” as a condition of release from jail — a tactic one expert described as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”

https://www.propublica.org/article/defendant-shall-not-attend-protests-in-portland-getting-out-of-jail-requires-relinquishing-constitutional-rights

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Worth watching: @PramilaJayapal rips Bill Barr for lying about teargas  https://t.co/d5tbnE92eY?amp=1

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Minneapolis, ‘Umbrella Man’ was a white supremacist trying to incite George Floyd rioting

http://strib.mn/30SQR1D

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Trump’s New Favorite COVID Doctor Believes in Alien DNA, Demon Sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

Stella Immanuel…a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/stella-immanuel-trumps-new-covid-doctor-believes-in-alien-dna-demon-sperm-and-hydroxychloroquine

Trump defends Dr. Demon Sex. “She was very impressive….I thought her voice was an important voice. But I know nothing about her.” Really. A president said this. – David Corn

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More crazies:

Who are the physicians behind America’s Frontline Doctors?

Not docs who take care of Covid patients or have any credibility on this issue.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/87797?

Feel good du jour:

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(Here is the back story):

Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

“The Summer Day”

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean—

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver

Bits of beauty:

 

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