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jimmy m
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23 Mar 2021, 8:31 pm

Aerosol Transmission Model

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, scientists had to rely largely on airborne transmission data that was generated in the aftermath of the 1918 influenza pandemic.

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cell culture study showed that the nasopharynx, which is the upper part of the throat behind the nasal passages and is above the esophagus and voice box, serves as the “most accessible seeding zone”, Basu explained. Other studies, including one at Oxford University, have confirmed this fact.

“The mucous layer in the anterior nasal passages makes it more difficult for the virus to infect these cells,” Saikat Basu [South Dakota State University] said. Furthermore, the ciliated epithelial cells that line the nasopharynx located behind the anterior nasal cavity have a surface receptor, known as ACE2, which the virus uses to enter the cells. The infection then spreads from this initial infection site into the lungs through aspiration of the virus-laden nasopharyngeal fluids. Basu used his expertise in fluid mechanics-based aerosol transport modeling in the human respiratory tract, as well as data from other research studies, to determine which droplet sizes are most likely to carry the novel coronavirus to the nasopharynx, which is the dominant initial infection site.

To determine which droplet sizes are most likely to reach the nasopharynx, Basu developed CT-based digital models of the nasal airspace of two healthy adults and simulated four inhalation rates — 15, 30, 55 and 85 liters per minute. “The 15-liter rate happens while sitting still and gently breathing and 30 would roughly correspond to your breathing rate while walking,” he explained. Forceful breathing will fall within the range of 50 to 75 liters per minute.

“When viral transmission is averaged over different breathing rates, droplets ranging from 2.5 to 19 microns in size do the best job of landing at the nasopharynx,” he noted. These droplets sizes were larger than anticipated.

Based on the reports related to the Skagit Valley choral group in which one person transmitted COVID-19 to 52 of the 61 choir members, Basu derived a conservative estimate of around 300 virus particles, or virions, as the threshold for infection, thereby quantifying the SARS-CoV-2 infectious dose.

“The fact that the number of virus particles needed to launch the infection is in the range of hundreds is very remarkable and shows how contagious this particular virus is,” Basu said. Typically, an inhaled viral infection, such as influenza A, requires 1,950 to 3,000 virions.

Source: Aerosol modeling detects SARS-CoV-2 infectious dose, droplets


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24 Mar 2021, 4:32 am

'Brain fog' and other neurologic symptoms can last for months after Covid

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Ongoing, and in some cases debilitating, problems with thinking affect a large majority of Covid-19 patients who were never sick enough to be hospitalized, according to a study published Tuesday in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

The research, from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, is based on an analysis of 100 Covid-19 "long-hauler" patients whose symptoms have lasted at least six weeks. All originally had a mild illness: sore throat, cough, low-grade fever.

But after the acute infection cleared, 85 percent reported at least four lasting neurological problems that have affected their daily lives.

By far, the most commonly reported symptom was "brain fog," with 81 percent of respondents reporting ongoing issues with memory and thinking.

Sixty-eight percent said they had headaches, and more than half said they had problems with loss of taste and smell, numbness or tingling, and muscle pain.

Most were women, with an average age of 43. Less common symptoms included dizziness, blurred vision and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Symptoms tended to come and go over a period of months. Most patients improve over time, but not all. Just 64 percent said they felt better after five months, but the vast majority still reported "intense fatigue."

Patients "also had some respiratory problems, despite the fact they never had pneumonia or were hospitalized for low oxygen levels,"

Before their Covid-19 long-haul symptoms, 42 percent of the respondents had reported depression or anxiety, and 16 percent reported having had an autoimmune disease.


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jimmy m
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24 Mar 2021, 8:26 am

Viral Load

What is the relevancy of the above article on Aerosol Transmission Model? It has to do with the way the coronavirus is transmitted. One virus or virion will not produce an infection. It takes several coronavirus (~300 viral particles) for your body to become overwhelmed and unable to fight off the infection. Therefore the effective strategies for combating the pandemic is grounded in this knowledge.

For example, outdoors in the sunlight, the wind blows the viral particle around and disburses them. Therefore being outdoors is generally many times safer than being indoors where the aerosols can accumulate.

Another strategy is masking up. But it should be the right kind of mask. An N95 reduces the number of viral particles by 95%. In reality the N95 actually reduces this amount by a couple percentage points greater than that. So you can enter an enclosed space with 5,000 viral particle and still walk away unscathed. There are even mask such as the N99 that will filter out 99% of the viral particles. And there are N100s that have at least 99.97% percent filtration efficiency. In general, the effective strategy it to intermittently use these mask when indoors. Most of these mask are reusable provided you do not get them wet. They can be sanitized using UVC radiation between uses to kill any virus that came in contact with the mask. I can generally get a couple months usage out of each mask.

Most of these infections are occurring indoors, they are occurring in homes, in business and in mass transportation. The keys to dealing with them is keeping the viral load way down using ventilation, filtration and active UVC sanitation.


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24 Mar 2021, 11:05 am

Brain Fog

Is "Brain Fog" something that is novel or unique to COVID-19 or has it been seen before. A quick search of the Internet came up with a pre-pandemic article (9 January 2019) that associates "Brain Fog" with the flu.

Flu Brain: Here’s What the Virus Does to Your Central Nervous System

The symptoms of a flu are the physical manifestations of the immune response to the viral infection. Symptoms of fever and fatigue, along with a decrease in appetite, motivation, mood, psychomotor function and concentration, are all due to the release of cytokines within different regions of the brain.

When it comes to flu brain, neurotransmitters play a huge role. An immune system response in the central nervous system causes a significant effect on the synthesis of specific neurotransmitters and precursors:

* Serotonin
* Dopamine
* Noradrenaline
* Choline
* Glutamate

The cytokines activate a pathway which depletes a precursor to some of the neurotransmitters, decreasing their synthesis, release and reuptake.

The decrease in dopamine and serotonin affect learning and memory as well as “feel good” sensations, leaving a somewhat saddened state. A noradrenaline decrease causes a slowing in reaction time, and choline effects the ability to remember new information, while glutamate decrease affects muscle.

The decrease in neurotransmitters also impacts the neural circuits within specific regions of the brain. Neural circuits within the basal ganglia, anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, hippocampus are impacted. These regions are associated with motor activity, motivation, anxiety, arousal, alarm and memory.


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24 Mar 2021, 1:08 pm

Next Generation Moderna Vaccine

Moderna is now looking to create a dual vaccine against the flu virus and the novel coronavirus.

"Today the vaccines we have for seasonal flu are OK in a great year and they are pretty bad in a bad year, in terms of efficacy," Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said during the forum, per the Journal. "It is not impossible that in a couple of years we should have the product I just talked about — a high efficacy seasonal flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine — for you at your pharmacy on an annual basis."


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24 Mar 2021, 3:24 pm

You Recovered From COVID-19. Now Your Coffee Smells Like Sewage.

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Ruby Martinez was eating a banana when she noticed the nothingness. She chewed but tasted no sweetness. She sniffed but got none of the fruit’s redolent musk. “I started freaking out,” she says. She smelled a bottle of perfume. Nothing. She ate a pickle. Still nothing.

That was in June. Since then, her senses of smell and taste have started to come back—but intermittently and in strange ways. There were the two weeks in the summer when all she could smell was phantom smoke. The odor was so strong that she woke up one morning startled, convinced that something in her house was on fire. Sometime later, she was able to smell her boyfriend’s cologne again—but instead of the familiar scent she had always loved, it was a sickening chemical odor. There’s also the hand soap at work, which used to smell generically fruity to her but now smells exactly, and eerily, like Burger King Whoppers. Martinez used to love Whoppers, but she can’t stand the smell of the soap.

Despite these bizarre, lingering sensations, Martinez’s taste and smell have continued to recover. Last month, she went back to her favorite restaurant, Saltgrass, to eat her favorite food, steak, and “it was so good,” she said.

Martinez, who is 23 and lives outside Houston, credits the gradual improvement to dedicated “smell training,” a once-obscure protocol that has gained new prominence with COVID-19-associated smell loss. (Martinez doesn’t know whether she had COVID-19, but she was sick right before her smell disappeared.) Many years before the emergence of the novel coronavirus, a German doctor helped develop and standardize smell training for patients who had lost the sense, typically because of head trauma or viral infections. It involves sniffing four essential oils for 20 seconds every day over several months; some proponents of smell training recommend that patients recall memories associated with each scent—remembering lemon pie while smelling lemon oil, for instance. While supposed “cures” for smell loss, such as eating a charred orange or poking your forehead while getting flicked in the back of the head, have gone viral on TikTok, smell training is the only scientifically proven intervention for this kind of smell loss.

Nasal congestion and inflammation—as with common colds—often cause some loss of smell, but what happened to Martinez, and to many COVID-19 patients, is markedly different. Their noses are no longer congested nor inflamed, but they still can’t smell a thing. The exact cause is unknown.

In the past year, COVID-19 has drawn much more attention to smell loss, also known as anosmia, as well as to the strange ways smell is regained. Some patients go through a period of phantosmia, in which they experience phantom smells, or parosmia, in which they experience distorted smells—like Martinez’s smoke and Whoppers. These odors are quite foul, for reasons that are poorly understood; people find it extremely distressing to drink coffee that smells of sewage or to come out of the shower smelling like trash. “It’s worse than not being able to smell,” says Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. In most cases, the conditions are temporary. But the process of relearning to smell is as mysterious to us as how we lose it.

Many people who encounter smell training do so through a charity in the U.K. called AbScent. AbScent’s founder, Chrissi Kelly, lost her sense of smell for the first time after a viral infection in 2012.

Anosmia is associated with depression, loss of appetite, and diminished quality of life, but it’s also an invisible and underappreciated phenomenon. So Kelly started a Facebook group where people with anosmia could connect. When COVID-19 pandemic began, membership in the group took off; she could almost track the global spread of COVID-19 based on the locations of new members. Kelly eventually created another group just for COVID-19 patients, which now has 25,000 members. Some COVID-19 patients also lose their sense of taste, as Ruby Martinez did; others lose their ability to sense mintiness or spiciness, which are chemical sensations distinct from pure smell or taste. But smell loss seems to be the most common sensory disruption associated with COVID-19.

Research on how this coronavirus attacks the olfactory system is beginning to emerge. In July, a team led by Sandeep Robert Datta, a neurobiologist at Harvard, published a paper suggesting that the virus does not directly infect smell-receptor neurons in the nose. Instead, the virus is probably infecting support cells in the olfactory system, which normally help replenish the supply of smell-receptor neurons. COVID-19 infection might interrupt this replenishment, leading to sudden but usually temporary smell loss.

Infection of the support cells may also help explain the parosmia that people find especially distressing. When the smell-receptor neurons do finally regenerate, they have to find their way up the nasal cavity, through tiny holes in the base of the skull, and finally to the right structures in the olfactory bulb. “That is an error-prone process,” Datta told me. Humans have only 400 distinct smell receptors, but can distinguish potentially 1 trillion different odors. That’s because a single molecule can bind to multiple smell receptors, and one recognizable scent can be made up of hundreds of different molecules that together activate a unique combination of receptors. If some receptors are missing or miswired, the brain might get a scrambled signal that results in parosmia. The miswiring normally gets sorted out after several weeks or months.

“But to be honest, I think there are many things about parosmia we simply don’t understand yet that suggest that more complicated things are going on,” Datta said. For one, why are the scents associated with parosmia usually so foul? The exact smell is “impossible to describe,” Kelly said, but people almost always grasp for words that evoke disgust: sewage, rotten, putrid. In parosmia, Hummel hypothesizes that the brain is interpreting unfamiliar, scrambled signals from miswired olfactory neurons as danger. “Why should something you’ve never smelled before be pleasant?” he says. In our evolutionary history, smells like smoke or rot have often acted as warnings.

he connections among smell, emotion, and memory are apparent in our neurobiology, too. Smell-receptor neurons converge on the olfactory bulb, which then sends signals to be processed by the olfactory cortex. But the olfactory bulb is also connected to the amygdala, which is involved in emotions and memory, and the hippocampus, which is also important in memory. “When you smell something, it drives activity in all these areas, and all of these areas talk to each other,” Datta said. “The way your olfactory cortex understands odors depends at least in part on your memories of the odors.” How a particular scent is represented in the brain remains an unsolved mystery. Neurobiologists are able to quantify visual or audio cues, but mapping the relationship between smells is a lot more complicated. Certain smells are definitely related to one another—lemon and lime seem to activate overlapping sets of neurons in the brain, for instance—but scale that to billions of potentially smellable molecules, and mapping them quickly gets impossible.


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jimmy m
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24 Mar 2021, 6:04 pm

I'm About to Go Naked!

Not literally but figuratively. I have been wearing a mask in public for so long; not wearing one will be almost like walking around naked.

Both my wife and I have received our second dose of the Coronavirus vaccine. Two weeks have past since the last shot. It is now time to celebrate. We will do this by going to a fine restaurant and dining in. [Something we haven't done in a year.] That will be the true test of whether these vaccines are effective.

The entire state of Indiana is about to make this transition also. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state's mask mandate will end April 6, saying instead it will be a mask advisory. Face coverings will remain mandatory in all state buildings and all vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites. K-12 schools will also still be expected to follow the current mask requirements already in place. Other than that; one is free to choose. Many individuals in Indiana have been vaccinated and others contracted the disease and overcame it. So if the vaccine is a winner, then we should be fine.


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25 Mar 2021, 8:08 am

Vaccines in the U.S.

The country has three approved vaccines in its arsenal, those developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and a single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. A fourth vaccine from AstraZeneca is in the pipeline, and the company plans to file for FDA emergency authorization in the coming weeks, though AstraZeneca has faced significant issues overseas after over a dozen mostly European countries temporarily halted shots over reports of blood clots in some vaccinated individuals.

Questions over how the public would perceive AstraZeneca’s vaccine were already swirling after reports of blood clots in Europe saw several countries temporarily pause the rollout. European regulators have since found the vaccine to be safe and effective and the rollout has continued.

AstraZeneca on Thursday published an updated analysis confirming that a Phase 3 trial involving its COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective, and showed to be 76% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. The new analysis also reported 100% efficacy "against severe or critical disease and hospitalization. [In other words if you get vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine and should then get COVID-19 (a slim chance), the symptoms should not be severe enough to require hospitalization and should not lead to death.]

Sources:
* US tops 30M coronavirus infections, JHU data shows
* AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shows 76% efficacy against symptomatic infection in updated data


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25 Mar 2021, 3:45 pm

COVID associated with hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo – new study confirms link

Quote:
Some viruses, such as measles, mumps and meningitis, can cause hearing difficulties, but what about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?

In the first few months of the pandemic, a rapid systematic review of COVID-19 and hearing difficulties revealed a possible link between COVID-19 and audio-vestibular symptoms (hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo). However, both the quantity and quality of the early studies were low. Now that the pandemic has been with us for over a year, more studies have been published and researchers have been able to estimate how common these symptoms might be.

My colleagues and I have identified about 60 studies that report audio-vestibular problems in people with confirmed COVID-19. Our analysis of the pooled data, published in the International Journal of Audiology, reveals that 7%-15% of adults diagnosed with COVID-19 report audio-vestibular symptoms. The most common symptom is tinnitus (ringing in the ears) followed by hearing difficulties and vertigo.

Given the importance of providing timely evidence to inform health services, the information from this new systematic review is to be welcomed, but so far, the evidence is based on surveys and case reports. It is important not to diagnose audio-vestibular symptoms where they do not exist or where they are coincidental, given the high rates of COVID-19 in the population. However, the findings of the review might simply reflect the start of our understanding of this emergent health condition.

What is lacking are carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic studies that compare a sample of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and a sample of non-COVID controls. To that end, we are leading a year-long study to investigate the long-term effect of COVID-19 on the audio-vestibular system among people who have been previously in hospital with the virus.


'Double mutant' Covid variant found in India
Quote:
A new "double mutant" variant of the coronavirus has been detected from samples collected in India.

Officials are checking if the variant, where two mutations come together in the same virus, may be more infectious or less affected by vaccines.

Some 10,787 samples from 18 Indian states also showed up 771 cases of known variants - 736 of the UK, 34 of the South African and one Brazilian.

Officials say the variants are not linked to a spike in cases in India.

India reported 47,262 cases and 275 deaths on Wednesday - the sharpest daily rise this year.

Virologist Shahid Jameel explained that a "double mutation in key areas of the virus's spike protein may increase these risks and allow the virus to escape the immune system".

The spike protein is the part of the virus that it uses to penetrate human cells.

The government said that an analysis of the samples collected from India's western Maharashtra state showed "an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations" compared with December last year.

"Such [double] mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity," the health ministry said in a statement.

Are double mutants a worry?
Mutations in the spike gene can make the virus inherently "better" at infecting people or can help the virus to escape neutralising antibodies.

This means if the virus mutates in the "right way", it can reinfect someone who has already recovered from Covid-19.

But scientists say reinfections will be very mild compared to primary infections in people who are vaccinated or who recovered already from an earlier case of Covid-19.
But if the virus can use reinfection to spread, then it would be "penetrating" herd immunity, says Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. (Herd immunity happens when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccination or through the mass spread of the disease.)

This puts the most vulnerable people at risk of severe disease, since the virus can move through the herd to reach them.

He says unlike some other variants, India's new double variant is not likely to be more deadly or more inherently transmissible, but that more data is needed to be sure.


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26 Mar 2021, 3:49 am

Minnesota reports 89 'breakthrough' cases of COVID-19 after becoming fully vaccinated

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The Minnesota Department of Health has identified 89 "breakthrough" cases of COVID-19.

Director of Infectious Diseases Kris Ehresmann said a "breakthrough" case is when a person gets COVID-19 after the two weeks following getting fully vaccinated. She said it's not surprising.

"No, no, because the vaccine is not 100% effective," she said.

Ehresmann said so far, MDH has interviewed 81% of the 89 people with "breakthrough" cases.

"There are 30 of 72 cases [that] were symptomatic, so that means that 42 of 72 cases didn't have any symptoms at all, and so I think that's important to keep in mind," Ehresmann said.

She says it means even if you're vaccinated, you could still get the disease, be asymptomatic and pass it along to someone else.

"That's why we are continuing to say even though you've been vaccinated, it's important when you're out and about, that you continue to mask, that's why health care workers continue to need to wear personal protective equipment on the job even if they've been vaccinated," she said


Dangerous Covid-19 variants could mean all bets are off on the road to normalcy, expert warns
Quote:
The evidence that Americans are gearing up for a return to normal life is growing apparent.

States are relaxing capacity restrictions for public areas and private gatherings. More school districts are reopening for in-person learning. Travel is increasing, with TSA data showing more than 1 million daily passengers in US airports for two consecutive weeks, the longest such stretch since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in early 2020.
However, many experts reiterate that Covid-19 is far from over.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on the "Today" show Thursday that the US is "still seeing about 1,000 deaths a day," which she noted was way too many.
As for the number of daily infections, Walensky said, "What worries me is the steady flow of 50,000, 60,000 -- and we continue to see that even today."

Walensky pointed to early signs that vaccinations are working, citing the decreased mortality rates for those over the ages of 65. Yet more infectious variants of Covid-19 are circulating, she warned.

With some states seeing rises of at least 10% in weekly average cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data, variants such as B.1.1.7 may lead to a greater risk of exposure and a potential stagnation in the fight against Covid-19.
"It tells us when we have a more contagious variant that all bets are off because it means that the activities that we thought were pretty low risk are now going to be higher risk," CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

The variants are also complicating treatments, as the usage of certain monoclonal antibody therapy to treat Covid-19 have been halted due to lowered effectiveness.

Even for those fully vaccinated, Wen said that further precautions need to be followed when interacting with other people.
"We know that right now when there is such a high level of coronavirus that's circulating in our communities, that even people who are fully vaccinated where they are in public with others who are not vaccinated, that the courteous and the right thing for them to do from an infection control standpoint is to wear a mask," Wen said.

"The majority of states in the northern half of the country now have increasing transmission, with the most pronounced increases in Michigan. The increases are likely related to the combination of the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant and recent increases in mobility," it said.


I think the US will not be like Europe, the politicians are for the most part going to keep on lifting restrictions no matter what. The attitude will creep in, if this is going to go on forever we got to accept the risk and resume life. Those who die or are permanently disabled, well they took the risk and lost. I don't think we return to 2019. There will more remote work/school but the lockdowns will be at most be very localized and very brief. We see the lockdowns in response to outbreaks shortening scope and length already. Those that are hermits, will continue doing that. Masking and social distancing will be optional. Some will, some won't I have no idea what percentages that will be.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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26 Mar 2021, 7:35 am

A Dose of Science is 37 minute YouTube Video on the various Coronavirus vaccines.


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26 Mar 2021, 8:30 am

Vaccines for Children

Vaccine Trials Underway - The first participants aged six months to 11 years have been administered Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as part of a global trial assessing safety and tolerability in younger age groups, the company announced Thursday. Positive findings from a late-stage study in a 12 to 15 age group encouraged the trials in even younger kids, Pfizer said.

The initial phase of the trial will determine the right dose levels from 10, 20 to 30 micrograms, across three age groups; 5 to 11 years, 2 to 5 years and six months to 2 years among 144 kids total. The vaccine is currently authorized for use in people aged 16 and older, administered in two-30 microgram doses spaced 21 days apart.

The company will first test the lowest dose (10 µg) in the oldest group (5-11 years), and then proceed to higher doses, while starting to administer shots in the younger age groups with the lowest doses. Later phases in the trial will examine factors like safety and tolerability of the chosen dose for each group against a placebo arm.

Source: Pfizer administers COVID-19 vaccines to infants, kids in new trial


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27 Mar 2021, 4:49 am

CDC ‘deeply concerned’ about rising Covid cases as vaccinations accelerate

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Top US government coronavirus experts warned on Friday that there is deep concern about infections rising again and although there is cause for optimism amid accelerating vaccinations “there is no case for relaxation” in the pandemic.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a White House briefing that the most recent weekly average shows a 7% increase in infections in the US from the previous week, at about 57,000 cases a day.

New hospitalizations have slightly increased, too.

“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory. Please, take this moment very seriously,” Walensky said.

The US daily death toll continues to hover at about 1,000 people, with confirmed infections rising in around 20 states and deaths rising in 17 states.

On Friday morning, Walensky warned that, despite encouraging data about vaccinations, the US risked losing hard-earned ground in the fight against coronavirus if the numbers of infections and hospitalizations do not decline.

But even as 2.5 million people a day get vaccinated, Zients stressed that Americans must remain diligent in protecting themselves.

“It’s clear there is a case for optimism, but there is not a case for relaxation,” he said. “This is not the time to let down our guard. We need to follow the public health guidance, wear a mask, socially distance and get a vaccine when it’s your turn.”

Walensky said she continues to be concerned that the pandemic has disproportionately affected people from marginalized communities.

The CDC is addressing these inequities, including more money into vaccine distribution and investment in “access, acceptance and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities”, Walenskay said.

Meanwhile the top infectious diseases official Dr Anthony Fauci announced a new trial testing how well vaccines prevent infection and transmission.

“The prevailing question is when these [vaccinated] people get infected, how often is that? If they’re asymptomatic, how much virus do they have in their nose? And, do they transmit it?” he said, adding results would inform the government about recommended actions for those who have been inoculated.


Former CDC director says he believes coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab
Quote:
The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that he believes the COVID-19 virus “escaped” from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that it happened as early as September or October 2019.

Redford was the director of the CDC under President Donald Trump.

I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory. Escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out,” Redfield told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.

“It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker. ... That’s not implying any intentionality. It’s my opinion, right? But I am a virologist. I have spent my life in virology,” he continued.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top COVID-19 adviser to Presidents Trump and Joe Biden, said he believes the virus was in circulation in the Wuhan area in late fall and early winter before it was recognized by any health official, and likely was not something that escaped from a laboratory.

“The issue that would have someone think it’s possible to have escaped from a lab would mean that it essentially entered the outside human population already well adapted to humans suggesting that it was adapted in a lab,” Fauci said during the White House COVID-19 briefing Friday.

“However, the alternative explanation, which most public health individuals go by, is that this virus was actually circulating in China, likely in Wuhan, for a month or more before they were clinically recognized at the end of December 2019.”

“If that were the case, the virus clearly could have adapted itself to a greater efficiency of transmissibility over that period of time, up to and at the time it was recognized,” Fauci said.


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27 Mar 2021, 9:28 am

My wife and I celebrated yesterday. It has been over two weeks since we received the second COVID-19 vaccine so we should both be at peak immunity. So it was time to celebrate. So I took her out to Red Lobster and we had a fine meal indoors with our mask off. This was the first time in over a year. We had eaten out before but only dined outdoors. That was a little hard to do during the winter months.

We visited a furniture store. I talked to the salesman about the fact that the mask mandate was to be lifted next week in our state. He said he couldn't wait. He said how can you sell furniture when you can't even look at people's faces. He said the vaccine was a miracle. Without it we would still be stuck in this perpetual mask wearing pandemic for years. I told him there was other options. That if people wore the right kind of mask such as N95s and attacked the aerosol transmissions, we could also bring this to an end. Such as using UVC sanitizers in our HVAC ductwork to kill the viruses or elevating the humidity levels above 40% during the winter months, that would also work. He said I should have replaced Anthony Fauci. At that point my wife stepped in and said we need to go.

I went and saw the film NOBODY at the local theater. Other than every other row of seats being blocked off and people spread out social distancing within the rows; the theater was packed. Really packed. I was forced to sit in one of the front row seats and stare up at the screen the entire showing.

People are ready to get out. The mall parking lot was packed just like at Christmas time. Long lines in the stores to pay for the merchandise.


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27 Mar 2021, 9:34 am

Progress of COVID Inoculations

According to the coronavirus vaccine tracker, the U.S. has now administered 136.68 million vaccine doses with around 41.7% of the U.S. population vaccinated (with at least one dose). In the United States. an average of 2.62 million doses were injected daily.

Globally 518.36 million vaccine doses have been given with the U.S., China and India in the top three positions.

Source: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker


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28 Mar 2021, 12:09 pm

Easing out of the Pandemic

As the number of people vaccinated rises in the U.S., some states have begun easing restrictions and slowly pulling themselves out of the pandemic. So how is that working out?

Some States apparently are seeing an increase in the number of infections. According to Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the nation reported a 7% increase over the previous week, with an average of about 7,000 new cases per day.

But apparently that is not happening in one of the largest States in the Union - Texas.

Just over two weeks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted coronavirus mandates allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity and made masks optional, the red state is still reporting decreases in cases and hospitalizations.

The governor championed his state’s success in a Friday night tweet saying, "Today Texas recorded the lowest 7-day COVID positivity rate since that data began being calculated: 5.43%."

"We also recorded the largest daily number of vaccines administered to Texans: 342,849. More Texans getting vaccines will keep down the positivity rate," he said, though adding that receiving the vaccine was "always voluntary."

Source: Texas COVID numbers decrease 17 days after mask, other restrictions lifted


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