Coronavirus Tidbits #76 8/23/20

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.

News 

More on Long-haulers from Ed Yong

Early pandemic mistakes are STILL costing long-haulers dearly. Testing screw-ups in Feb/Mar meant many never got tested; in Aug, that means many are still being gaslit, & can’t get into post-covid clinics

The COVID-19 caricature—kills a few, “mild” for the rest—was sketched early in the pandemic, and then calcified. It kept long-haulers out of research studies. It brought them dismissal from employers. It hurts them still.

Every long-hauler I’ve talked to has a story about being dismissed & gaslit by doctors, who tell them they just have anxiety or stress. This medical gaslighting is worse for women & esp. WOC. It’s almost as bad as the symptoms themselves.

Long-haul COVID has a LOT in common with ME/CFS, dysautonomia, & other similar illnesses. Those communities are offering wisdom & guidance. "It was like watching the roller coaster go up the hill, and only people like us knew that the track was broken.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/08/long-haulers-covid-19-recognition-support-groups-symptoms/615382/

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Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years of Warnings but Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared for COVID-19

In documents dating to 2006, government officials predicted that a pandemic would threaten critical businesses and warned them to prepare. Meatpacking companies largely ignored them, and now nearly every one of the predictions has come true.

https://www.propublica.org/article/meatpacking-companies-dismissed-years-of-warnings-but-now-say-nobody-could-have-prepared-for-covid-19

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The U.S. accounts for about 25 percent of COVID-19 cases (4.4 million) and deaths (170,000) in the world today while comprising less than 5 percent of the population.

After adjusting for the 6.5 fold differences in populations, the U.S. has suffered 47 times more cases and 79 times more deaths than South Korea. Stark differences in public health strategies explain why.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/fau-chs081920.php

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How Coronavirus Has Been Affecting the World’s Sleep

Trouble sleeping, vivid dreams and more...no surprise, with anxiety and depression up

https://www.zmescience.com/science/how-coronavirus-has-been-affecting-the-worlds-sleep/

 

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Trump administration bars FDA from regulating some laboratory tests for coronavirus

Think inaccurate tests were a problem before? Wait to see what a mess this creates.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/20/trump-fda-tests-coronavirus/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_viruslabs811pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans

Drugs:

Statins appear to reduce severity and mortality from Covid

Preliminary findings suggested a reduction in fatal or severe disease by 30% and discredited the suggestion of harms with the use of statins in COVID-19 patients.-American Journal of Cardiology meta-analysis.

https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(20)30823-7/fulltext

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Dangerous Oleander Extract Not a COVID-19 Cure

— "That would definitely end up killing people"

Axios reports that Trump voiced support for oleandrin, a botanical made from the poisonous oleander plant, during a July meeting attended by MyPillow.com founder and CEO Mike Lindell and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, MD.

[Just coincidentally] Lindell, a longtime Trump supporter who has a stake in the biotech that's developing oleandrin -- Phoenix Biotechnology -- told Axios that Trump said "the FDA should be approving it."

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Aspirin in Elderly - not Covid, but news you can use

According to findings from the ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial, low-dose prophylactic aspirin use increased the risk of GI bleeding by nearly 60% in people ages 70 and over.

https://www.medpagetoday.org/cardiology/prevention/88139?

Devices:

Rationale/Strategy for Face Shields

Further explanation from Iowa epidemiologists, the initiators of this move:

Why face shields?

  • They provide greater facial surface area coverage than face masks by protecting all the facial mucosal surfaces from infectious droplets.
  • Given that the eyes are protected, we can eliminate the need for goggles when a face mask is worn. And we know that healthcare workers are really bad at wearing eye protection.
  • They prevent you from touching your face. One of the major drawbacks of face masks is that some people will touch their faces even more to adjust the mask and this poses a risk for autoinoculation by contaminated hands.
  • Face shields are durable, can be cleaned after use, and reused repeatedly.
  • Many people (myself included) find face shields more comfortable than face masks.
  • Communication is better with shields than with face masks as your face is visible to patients and coworkers.
  • If all of your healthcare workers are shielded, social distancing becomes less important.
  • And importantly, this is a device that is diversified across other industries. There is greater availability since the medical supply chain is so stressed at this time.

http://haicontroversies.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-iowa-face-shield-strategy.html

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Dry air appears to favour the spread of Covid-19

The research team estimated that as a result of a 1% decrease in relative humidity, SARS-CoV-2 cases might increase by 7–8%

https://m.health24.com/Medical/Infectious-diseases/Coronavirus/dry-air-a-breeding-ground-for-covid-19-virus-researchers-find-20200820

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Contact Tracing Assessment of COVID-19 Transmission and Risk at Different Exposure Periods Before and After Symptom Onset

A positive PCR test after recovery doesn't mean they have infectious virus - these may be viral fragments. There is evidence that patients become non infective in the 2nd week - eg in this study, none of 852 contacts >5d after onset got infected

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2765641

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Las Vegas casinos are likely source of superspreader events

and contact tracing is useless, with people flying out before symptoms, and there being no national system

https://www.propublica.org/article/cellphone-data-shows-how-las-vegas-is-gambling-with-lives-across-the-country

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On mask-wearing in schools,

WHO's @DrMikeRyan says #masks are useful as part of a comprehensive strategy, "but wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing, it's not an alternative to hand washing, & it's not an alternative to decompressing class size." #COVID19

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Don't fall for Covid myths!

Doctors reported battling not just the coronavirus but a "never-ending scourge of misinformation," saying patients regularly resist their advice and are "more inclined to believe what they read on Facebook than what a medical professional tells them." (New York Times)

And if you need a primer about what's out there, Scientific American published a list of nine COVID myths that won't go away.

Politics:

They are doing this knowing that people rely on the post office for receipt of medicine & government mailings (incl unemployment). During a pandemic. People could die, starve & be evicted as a result.

Also, USPS ordered to remove 671 mail sorting machines under DeJoy:

59 in Florida

58 in Texas

34 in Ohio

30 in Pennsylvania

26 in Michigan

15 in North Carolina

12 in Virginia

12 in Wisconsin

11 in Georgia

Notice a pattern?

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The Chinese man who owns the yacht(Guo Wengui, also goes by Miles Kwok),, is also accused of being a Chinese Spy. He has avoided deportation because he is a member of Mar a Lago.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article232973237.html

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William Barr told Murdoch to 'muzzle' Fox News Trump critic, new book says

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Tennessee governor signs bill that would punish some protesters with loss of voting rights

hill.cm/XkBtQhL

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The Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule and Covid-19: bad policy at the worst time

How to fuel an epidemic and kill minorities in one easy plan!

https://www.statnews.com/2020/08/21/the-trump-administrations-public-charge-rule-and-covid-19-bad-policy-at-the-worst-time/?

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Feel good du jour:

Comic relief:

Perfect:

Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

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2 Comments

  • lydia A.P. Martin

    Your post is full of carefully researched information and up to date news, which must take you much much time to prepare each time, but is very helpful to update me and I’m sure many others.
    You always mix in ” sunlight” or “music” with anecdotes and humor and the beautiful seasonal nature pictures you take and share.
    You guide and accompany us through these uncertain times telling us facts, but never without uplifting words.

    THANK YOU , Judy. Lydia.

    • Judy Stone

      Thanks so much, Lydia. I do spend hours reading and selecting “tidbits” for each post. I very much appreciate your recognition of that; helping people and knowing that I am being useful is what keeps me doing it. Thanks for the boost!

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