Coronavirus Tidbits #80 9/6/20

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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 

Fauci warns that Labor Day celebrations could drive Covid-19 spikes

https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/04/fauci-labor-day-covid-19/

Vaccine makers are planning a public statement to push back on pressure on the FDA:

The effort is shaping up as a joint statement from the leading companies developing Covid-19 vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, Glaxo, Sanofi, J&J and others.

The companies will likely pledge not to submit a vaccine to FDA without extensive safety and efficacy data, a bid to head off concerns that political pressure could see the agency rush out a shot. https://t.co/SsXln7SPz4?amp=1 ~ ~ ~

At least 15% of Big Ten athletes who were positive for Covid-19 have heart involvement

#PennState‘s director of athletic medicine, Wayne Sebastianelli, says that cardiac MRI scans revealed that roughly 30-35 percent of Big Ten athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 appeared to have myocarditis. https://www.centredaily.com/sports/college/penn-state-university/psu-football/article245448050.html Corrected here to 15%: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/23/sports/ncaafootball/college-football-myocarditis-coronavirus.html ~ ~ ~

US university workers fight a return to campus as COVID-19 cases grow

Faculty members, graduate students and other campus staff file lawsuits and protest against unsafe conditions as institutions reopen.

The Ohio State University Graduate Student Labor Coalition protested on 25 August, the first day of classes, against the institution’s decision to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A wave of activism is sweeping US campuses that have reopened after their summer break amid the COVID-19 crisis. Across the country, university workers — including faculty members and staff who teach in classrooms and laboratories, and housekeeping staff who clean dormitories — are pushing back against requirements that they show up on campus alongside undergraduates, thereby, they say, risking their own health.

One group has filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, which includes 16 institutions across the state, claiming that the system has not provided a safe workplace for its staff. Others have staged protests — including ‘die-ins’, in which demonstrators have simulated coronavirus deaths — to demand remote classes and more COVID-19 testing. In one case, university faculty members passed a ‘no confidence’ vote to indicate that their chancellor had neglected their concerns and botched the institution’s reopening.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02557-1

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate and affordable testing.

A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a #COVID19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984

https://www.propublica.org/article/a-doctor-went-to-his-own-employer-for-a-covid-19-antibody-test-it-cost-10-984

Drugs:

Preliminary results from Russian trials

find that #COVID19 vaccine candidates led to no serious adverse events and elicit antibody response in young volunteers https://hubs.li/H0vGWRW0

The two-part #COVID19 vaccine included two adenovirus vectors – recombinant human adenovirus type 26 (rAd26-S) and recombinant human adenovirus type 5 (rAd5-S). Very small study — <100

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700 Veterans to Receive Convalescent Plasma in Randomized Test

Ass-backwards to do study after FDA granted EUA, but better late than never to see if it actually works and/or has harmful effects

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/09/03/va-set-give-veterans-convalescent-plasma-test-treatment-faces-scrutiny.html

Dozens of major hospitals across the U.S. are grappling with whether to ignore a federal decision allowing broader emergency use of blood plasma from recovered COVID patients to treat the disease in favor of dedicating their resources to a gold-standard clinical trial that could help settle the science for good.

As many as 45 hospitals from coast to coast have expressed interest in collaborating on a randomized, controlled clinical trial sponsored by Vanderbilt University Medical Center

A National Institutes of Health panel this week countered the FDA’s decision, saying that the therapy “should not be considered the standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19” and that well-designed trials are needed to determine whether the therapy is helpful. Data so far suggests the treatment could be beneficial, but it’s not definitive.

https://khn.org/news/dozens-of-u-s-hospitals-poised-to-defy-fdas-directive-on-covid-plasma/?utm_source=

Devices:

Nurses Survey: N95 Mask Shortages Still the Rule

— “Not sure I can do this much longer”

Nurses are increasingly being forced to reuse N-95 masks, sometimes for five days or longer, and growing numbers of nurses said they feel unsafe reusing masks even after they were decontaminated, according to the latest in a series of nursing surveys. https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/88419?

Why hasn’t Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to make PPE???

HCA nurses protest about lack of PPE. Also HCA Hospitals Accused of Requiring COVID-Infected Nurses to Work while positive for COVID-19, fail to notify or test workers when they’ve been exposed, and don’t routinely test exposed workers unless they’re symptomatic, according to a complaint filed with the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration by National Nurses United (NNU). https://www.medpagetoday.com/hospitalbasedmedicine/nursing/88370?

Epidemiology/Infection control:

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How To Tell A Real COVID-19 Contact Tracer’s Call From A Scammer’s

https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=903664222:908222954

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3 deaths, 147 coronavirus cases now tied to Maine wedding

The three people who died as a result of the outbreak did not attend the wedding. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/3-deaths-147-coronavirus-cases-now-tied-maine-wedding-n1239353 ~ ~ ~

Invasive fungal disease common among critically ill COVID-19 patients

The incidence of invasive fungal disease was unexpectedly high — 26.7% — 14.1% aspergillosis and 12.6% yeast infections.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20200904/invasive-fungal-disease-common-among-critically-ill-covid19-patients-study-finds

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“Hotspots” of a corona infection in the human body – Hypothesis

In cooperation with his US colleagues, Bansal started by identifying 28 human genes, respectively cellular factors, that enable the virus to enter human cells or that might otherwise be important for an infection. In addition to receptors on the cell surface, these included, for example, proteins that the pathogen presumably needs in order to multiply within a cell. Importantly, the list of studied factors also contains enzymes that block the penetration of pathogens into cells – known as “restrictors factors”. In summary, the 28 analysed cellular features are dubbed “SCARFs” for “SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus associated receptors and factors”.

According to the current study, the intestine, kidneys, testes and placenta are potential hotspots, that is, these areas seem to be characterized by significant co-expression of ACE2 with TMPRSS2, an enzyme involved in viral entry in combination with ACE2. “We were also able to identify a number of cellular factors that, as alternatives to the ACE2 receptor, could contribute to SARS-CoV-2 entering the lungs, heart and central nervous system,” said Bansal. “SARS-CoV-2 is by now known to be able to trigger neurological disorders. Although the virus has not yet been detected in neurons, the nervous system includes other cells such as astrocytes and pericytes that are for example involved in the regulation of the blood-brain barrier, which is the interface between the brain and the bloodstream. According to our study these cells might well be susceptible to infection. This could possibly involve a receptor called BSG. All in all, our study therefore provides a wealth of data and specific clues for future studies on the coronavirus.”

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/d-gc-oa090320.php

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Study: Vitamin D deficiency may raise risk of getting COVID-19

Patients who had vitamin D deficiency (< 20ng/ml) that was not treated were almost twice as likely to test positive for the COVID-19…

The authors acknowledged one major caveat, however: vitamin D deficiency may be associated with many other COVID-19 risk factors, including age, obesity, diabetes, and chronic illness. Their statistical analysis included adjustments for many of these, but potential remained for residual confounding.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uocm-svd090220.php

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/88456?

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

Fearless leader’s latest:

Trump Orders Purge of ‘Critical Race Theory‘ from Federal Agencies https://breitbart.com/tech/2020/09/04/partys-over-trump-orders-purge-of-critical-race-theory-from-federal-agencies/… “This is a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue. Please report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish!”

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Covid Gag Orders

Some American companies are banning employees from alerting other workers about coronavirus infections, Bloomberg reports.

Those employers include Amazon, Cargill, Delta, General Electric, McDonald’s, REI, Smithfield Foods, Target, Urban Outfitters, and others.

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Trump Administration Will Redirect $62 Million Owed to WHO

The money, part of $120 million owed in annual dues, will go to other agencies fighting flu and buying vaccines.

As the United States withdraws from membership in the World Health Organization, the Trump administration will redirect $62 million still owed for this year’s dues to other health-related causes also under United Nations auspices, State Department officials announced on Wednesday. American government employees working as technical advisers to the W.H.O. will be withdrawn

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/health/trump-world-health-organization-funding-coronavirus.html

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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/us/politics/louis-dejoy-usps-paid.html

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20 Republican senators are asking the FDA to ban the abortion pill.

Context: Medication abortion, aka abortion by pill, accounts for nearly 40% of all abortions. It’s generally only available through 10 weeks of pregnancy. The letter: https://cruz.senate.gov/files/documents/Letters/2020.09.01%20–%20Pro-Life%20Mifeprex%20Letter%20to%20FDA%20-%20FSV.pdf

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https://twitter.com/cmclymer/status/1302220399216939008?s=20

Her whole poignant thread is here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1302220377523998720.html

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read the whole thread from Capt. Sully here:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1301998157404962823.html

Feel good du jour:

Comic relief:

Thread on Cat Slaves: from China, 1183

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1299148337774354432.html

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

 

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