Coronavirus Tidbits #94 11-12-20

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.

I have 2 new posts:

President-Elect Biden Names New Covid-19 Task Force – What’s The Enthusiasm About?

I'm thrilled that appointees are well-respected physicians and scientists, though there are some additional groups that need to be represented. There is a focus on social justice and health disparities among the appointees.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/11/09/president-elect-biden-names-new-covid-19-task-force--whats-the-enthusiasm-about/?sh=398fbb86458f

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Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Results Look Exciting—But Come With Big Warnings

My somewhat contrarian view of the Pfizer vaccine.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/11/10/pfizers-covid-19-vaccine-results-look-exciting-but-come-with-big-warnings/?sh=fdf9d021bc88

News 

Cases are skyrocketing across the US, especially in areas which ignore masking and distancing.

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I still find this shocking: 

"Despite President Donald Trump’s brazen negligence in handling the coronavirus, the president actually performed better this year than he did in 2016 in counties with high COVID-19 death rates, according to an internal analysis from Reuters.

The report, which included results from 139 counties in 19 different states, found that Trump made a 4% jump in votes ― increasing from 50.1% in 2016 to 54.1% in 2020 ― in areas highly impacted by the coronavirus.

Trump also won the majority of votes in states with the highest COVID-19 death rates, including Florida and Texas. Under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a big Trump supporter, Florida has yet to issue a statewide mask mandate since COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March; a trickle-down effect from the president who has consistently undermined the effectiveness of mask-wearing to curb the spread of coronavirus."

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Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate, rapid testing.

COVID-19 Testing: Where Do We Stand?

Eight months ago, when the U.S. was on edge wondering how it was going to stop the novel coronavirus, testing was going to lead the way out. Lockdowns would buy time to get the virus to such low levels that subsequent tracing, testing, and quarantining would stamp out transmission chains.

That vision never became a reality. Instead, the nation's testing program was and continues to be plagued by delays and accuracy problems, rendering its current form practically useless for controlling the virus, experts say.

Drugs:

The chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million worth of stock in the company on Monday. The sale took place on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective. The company's stock soared on the news.

Some of us are still waiting, wanting to see DATA.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/11/10/pfizers-covid-19-vaccine-results-look-exciting-but-come-with-big-warnings/?sh=fdf9d021bc88

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‘We’re being left behind’: Rural hospitals can’t afford ultra-cold freezers to store the leading Covid-19 vaccine

STAT  By OLIVIA GOLDHILL @OliviaGoldhill  NOVEMBER 11, 2020

Large urban hospitals across the U.S. are rushing to buy expensive ultra-cold freezers to store what’s likely to be the first approved Covid-19 vaccine. But most rural hospitals can’t afford these high-end units, meaning health workers and residents in those communities may have difficulty getting the shots.

The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech, seems to provide 90% immunity according to early data released on Monday. But there’s a catch: The vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. Typical freezers don’t get that cold, making distribution of this vaccine a logistical nightmare.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised state health departments against purchasing ultra-cold freezers — which cost $10,000 to $15,000 each — saying other vaccines with less demanding storage requirements will be available soon.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/11/rural-hospitals-cant-afford-freezers-to-store-pfizer-covid19-vaccine/?

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The FDA has granted an Emergency Use Authorization to Eli Lilly for Bamlanivimab

in a phase 2 trial of 465 patients, Chance of hospitalization with: - Bamlanivimab 3% vs Placebo 10%

It is intended for outpatient use (unless you are Chris Christie) and is similar to Regeneron. Intended for high risk patients.

Lilly hopes to have enough doses to treat up to one million people by the end of the year--but we currently have >110, 000 cases per day in the US

Devices:

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See original study:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

Epidemiology/Infection control:

This applies as well to our local Allegany County "leadership," which has given us a ~9% test positivity rate, twice that of Maryland overall, and the highest in the state.

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Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Increase the humidity in your home, especially in your bedroom.

Consider Vit D supplements, < 5000 units/day

Politics:

The grift goes on:

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Feel good du jour:

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Comic relief:

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Perspective/Poem

Bits of beauty:

 

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