Coronavirus Tidbits #86 9/27/20

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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 

Scientists Discover Genetic and Immunologic Underpinnings of Some Cases of Severe COVID-19

New findings by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and their collaborators help explain why some people with COVID-19 develop severe disease. The findings also may provide the first molecular explanation for why more men than women die from COVID-19.

The researchers found that more than 10% of people who develop severe COVID-19 have misguided antibodies?autoantibodies? that attack the immune system rather than the virus that causes the disease. Another 3.5% or more of people who develop severe COVID-19 carry a specific kind of genetic mutation that impacts immunity. Consequently, both groups lack effective immune responses that depend on type I interferon, a set of 17 proteins crucial for protecting cells and the body from viruses. Whether these proteins have been neutralized by autoantibodies or because of a faulty gene that were produced in insufficient amounts or induced an inadequate antiviral response, their absence appears to be a commonality among a subgroup of people who suffer from life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia…

first published results from the COVID Human Genetic Effort, an international project

The researchers discovered that among nearly 660 people with severe COVID-19, a significant number carried rare genetic variants in 13 genes known to be critical in the body’s defense against influenza virus, and more than 3.5% were completely missing a functioning gene. Further experiments showed that immune cells from those 3.5% did not produce any detectable type I interferons in response to SARS-CoV-2.

Examining nearly 1,000 patients with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia, the researchers also found that more than 10% had autoantibodies against interferons at the onset of their infection, and 95% of those patients were men. Biochemical experiments confirmed that the autoantibodies block the activity of interferon type I.

Q Zhang et al. Inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in patients with life-threatening COVID-19. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.abd4570 (2020).

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/nioa-sdg092420.php

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A case of probable Parkinson’s disease after SARS-CoV-2 infection

Viruses have been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease many times before, with common culprits being influenza A and Epstein-Barr virus, but this is the first time recorded of it being linked to Covid-19.

The patient in question, a 45-year-old man from Ashdod, Israel,

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/first-reported-case-of-man-developing-parkinsonslike-disease-after-covid19-infection/

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(20)30305-7/fulltext

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Recommended Read:

10 things you need to know to stop a coup

While keeping people focused on a strong, robust election process is a must, we also need to prepare for a coup. We have a president who has openly said he might not respect the outcome of our election. We have to be ready… https://wagingnonviolence.org/2020/09/10-things-you-need-to-know-to-stop-a-coup/ See Politics section below for more actions. ~ ~ ~

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Important information on voting for each state

https://www.democracydocket.com/voter-dashboards/

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent last of testing.

Drugs:

UK To Begin World’s First Human “Challenge Trials,”Deliberately Infecting Volunteers With Covid-19 

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/uk-to-deliberately-infect-volunteers-with-covid19-in-worlds-first-human-challenge-trials/

While there is a long history of challenge trials, this one seems particularly dicey because there is no treatment for Covid-19 and, while the illness is often milder in younger people, some do die and many are left with life-long chronic illness or damage from the virus affecting lungs, heart, or nerves.

I would love to be a fly on the wall of the ethics board approving this.

Devices:

Almost 70% Of Chinese KN95 Masks Don’t Meet Minimum Safety Standards

@meganranney ⁩ “It’s time our federal gov’t stepped up and supported increased domestic manufacturing of PPE. We can’t depend on imported PPE to keep frontline workers safe.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2020/09/25/almost-70-of-chinese-kn95-masks-dont-meet-minimum-safety-standards/#14cb77c448b9

Epidemiology/Infection control:

COVID outbreak at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston rises to 28 confirmed cases; more than 600 people connected to cluster

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Mutation is a normal thing that viruses do but it’s limited to changing how the viral genome or proteins function. It can change the way the virus replicates or interacts with its host. It does not make super viruses that can transcend a mask or be impervious to soap and water.

There are NO known attenuated SARS-CoV-2 isolates in people. And NO, using D614 instead of G614 does not address this. There is no evidence that this—or any—mutation decreases virulence. – Angie Rasmussen

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This week, a 12-year old and 17 year old died of Covid in Florida.

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Politics:

.

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Trump administration rescinded Courage Award for woman who criticized Trump on social media

then gave false explanation for its decision, watchdog finds – The Washington Post

According to the report, the Finnish journalist, Jessikka Aro, was selected for the State Department’s International Women of Courage Awards for her reporting on Russian propaganda activities dating back to 2014. Aro endured death threats and cyberattacks for her work, which helped expose Russian troll factories.

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Not even having the decency to wait until RBG is buried and the High Holy Days are over for Jews,

Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett Republicans for a lifetime appt to the Supremes.

They don’t act on COVID relief for months, but they’re pushing right ahead on a SCOTUS nominee to overturn the ACA amid the pandemic.

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What can you do to help RBG get her last wish? Send “Postcards to Hypocrites!”

An amazing person compiled a collection of quotes from various GOP legislators that were used in 2016 to deny Merrick Garland a Supreme Court seat. Now, you can put them on postcards, with the addresses she’s gathered. It also helps the USPS, so it’s a two-fer!

tinyurl.com/postcards-to-hypocrites

More on opposing Barrett:

Key Senate races where Republicans are fighting for their seat are:

Martha McSally:  Arizona Cory Gardner, Colorado Joni Ernst, Iowa David Perdue, Georgia Susan Collins, Maine–already committed not to vote for Supreme Court nominee until after the election (but likely would in lame duck period) Steve Daines, Montana Thom Tillis, North Carolina Kelly Loeffler, Georgia and, of course, Lindsey Graham, SC And, of course, doesn’t hurt to pressure Romney, Lamar Alexander, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Mike Lee of Utah and Rob Portman of Oregon Those in bold have comments that can be used against them at tinyurl.com/postcards-to-hypocrites. (There are many others, but these are the ones up for reelection. Please ask folks you know to remind them that the Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on a Supreme Court nominee 11 months before the Presidential election because it was an election year. Also, Write a thank-you postcard to Senator Murkowski, because she already took a stand and said she would not support filling the vacancy before 2021. Senator Murkowki, 552 Hart Senate Office Bldg, Washington DC. 20510 Please contact anyone you know in these states to pressure the GOP in close races and make these points:

  • ACA is at stake–pre-existing conditions, health care. We have had 7 million Covid cases in the US; those now all have pre-existing conditions that would exclude them from care.
  •  
  • access to safe abortion and contraceptives.
  •  
  • Barrett belongs to a charismatic sect called People of Praise. The New
    York Times wrote that people in this sect “swear a lifelong oath of loyalty to one
    another, and are assigned and accountable to a personal adviser” and teaches
    that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority for their
    family.”
  •  
  • While some frame opposition to her as being “anti-Catholic,” they seem to ignore that Biden is also Catholic, although in a different flavor. Hard to claim anti-Catholic bias when Biden a Catholic.  So are 6 of 8 living Justices are/or were raised Catholic.
  •  
  • Barrett: 14th Amendment prevents convicted felons from voting but 2nd Amendment doesn’t prevent them from owing guns https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca7/18-1478/18-1478-2019-03-15.html…
  •  
  • Barrett upheld a ruling that allowed a company to “intentionally assign members of different races to [work at] different stores.” In a dissent, one judge called it a “separate-but-equal arrangement”
  •  
  • has repeatedly ruled against the rights of immigrants,
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  • she could be on the side of reversing decades of progress when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, a fact made all the more troubling by her stated willingness to disregard precedent when it conflicts with her own analysis; opposes trans rights

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Amy Coney Barrett AND Brett Kavanaugh, and John Roberts all helped George W. Bush stop the 2000 recount in his battle against Al Gore, an election decided by 537 votes in Florida. Kavanaugh and Roberts also worked under Ken Starr.

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President Obama nominated Myra Selby, a Black woman, in 2016. But Republican Senators blocked Selby’s confirmation and saved the seat for Donald Trump. After Trump was elected Seventh Circuit lost its only Black judge to retirement. The Shelby appointment would have retained diversity on this court. In May 2017, Trump nominated Barrett to IN seat on Seventh Circuit, which covers Indiana, Illinois & Wisconsin. Did you know Amy Coney Barrett is sitting in a stolen judicial seat right now? — Leslie Proll

Feel good du jour:

A 72-year-old woman was quietly living in a dilapidated house. Then an electrician sparked a community to help her rebuild

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/24/us/iyw-community-helps-rebuild-elderly-womans-house-trnd/index.html

Comic relief:

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People need to buy domain names before they take bad positions.

see SaveLindsey.com above, or

Similarly, clicking on amyconeybarrett.com leads to her opposition.

Perspective/Poem

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Poetry Path in Battery Park:

https://poetshouse.org/poetry-path/map/

Bits of beauty:

 

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