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ASPartOfMe
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12 Oct 2021, 5:58 am

These Are the Biggest Reasons COVID Vaccine Efficacy Dropped, NY Study Says

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Changes in human behavior around masking and other COVID protocol plus the rapid pace at which the highly contagious delta variant spread this summer may have had more to do with vaccine efficacy declines than immunological waning, according to a New York State Department of Health study out Monday.

The preprint, non-peer-reviewed study finds all three federally emergency-use authorized vaccines continue to show strong effectiveness against reinfection and even greater success preventing severe breakthrough cases, with modest declines limited to Pfizer and Moderna recipients age 65 years and up, which supports targeted booster dosing recommendations, the department found.

In what outgoing New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker bills as the largest U.S. study by vaccine type and timing of vaccination conducted to date, researchers assessed nearly nine million adult New Yorkers for potential vaccine effectiveness changes by age, product and month of vaccination.

They looked at people vaccinated in January through April 2021 and examined their levels of new diagnosed infections and hospitalizations from May to August 2021, compared to people who never received a single dose of any of the three vaccines.

Among the topline findings:
Declines in vaccine effectiveness against lab-confirmed COVID infections were greatest for Pfizer-BioNTech recipients (-24.6% for those aged 18-49, -19.1% for those 50-64 and -14.1% for 65+) compared with Moderna (-18% vaccine effectiveness decline for 18-49, -11.6% for 50-64 and -9.0%) and Johnson & Johnson recipients (-19.2% for 18-49, -10.8% for 50-64 and -10.9% for 65+)

Those declines happened simultaneously across age, vaccine type and timing groups during the weeks when the prevalence of the delta strain in New York and the country grew most rapidly; Pfizer recipients saw the greatest declines of the three vaccine types during that period

Once delta topped 85% prevalence among all New York COVID strains, those variances plateaued. More recently vaccinated people were found to have higher protection levels in some groups, while modest continued declines were seen for the senior population, suggesting that particular variant and less intense personal prevention behavior heavily contributed to effectiveness declines

Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization for adults age 18-64 held at 86%-plus across ages with no trend over time; among those 65+, effectiveness declined from May to August for Pfizer (95% to 89.2%) and Moderna (97.2% to 94.1%) recipients. J&J recipients saw lower effectiveness overall, ranging from 85.5%-82.8% with no differential related to the time period studied.

Lead study author Dr. Eli Rosenberg of the Department of Health said the research supports the need for vaccine booster doses among older people in particular. He noted that while there was evidence of early vaccine effectiveness declines against reinfection for younger people, that leveled off once delta established dominance.

"Together, this suggests that ongoing waning protection may be less of a current concern for adults younger than 65 years," Rosenberg said.

New York state debuted its first public COVID breakthrough and variant trackers late last month. As of the latest update, the state has reported 95,146 lab-confirmed breakthrough COVID cases, which represents just 0.8% of the fully vaccinated eligible population. It has reported 6,567 breakthrough hospitalizations among that eligible population (0.06%) as of Oct. 3 as well.

The state's dashboards support researchers' contention in this latest study that vaccine effectiveness did decline in terms of breakthrough infections through at least mid-July but then ebbed. Vaccine effectiveness against breakthrough hospitalizations remained consistently strong in the face of the delta variant.

That variant accounted for 99.8% of all confirmed COVID cases sequenced in New York during the latest two-week period of study (Sept. 12-25), up from 99.5% in the previous two-week period, state data shows. Delta's prevalence soared in July but has been consistent over these last few months.

In the week of Sept. 13, the latest time period available on the state's dashboard, fully vaccinated New Yorkers had a 78.6% lower chance of becoming a COVID-19 case compared with unvaccinated New Yorkers. That compares with a 91.9% differential for the week of May 3, which was before delta's exponential rise.

In terms of COVID hospitalizations, fully vaccinated New Yorkers had between an 89.7% and 95.2% lower chance of being admitted compared with unvaccinated New Yorkers across the full analytical time period.


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18 Oct 2021, 7:26 pm

Stony Brook offers support group for those feeling isolated with 'long COVID'

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Denise Crean said doctors were either dismissive or didn’t know how to treat her when she told them about the debilitating fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms she experienced long after contracting the coronavirus.

Crean, 55, of Farmingville, has a condition known as "long COVID," in which symptoms can linger many months after the initial infection. As many as 13.2 million Americans have long COVID, according to an estimate from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Studies show those who were sick enough with COVID-19 to be hospitalized were more likely to develop long COVID, but that many people who had mild cases also have lingering symptoms months later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines long COVID as symptoms occurring at least four weeks after initial infection.

A peer-reviewed British study published in March in Nature Medicine found that women were more likely to get long COVID than men, and that older adults, people who are overweight or have asthma, and those who had more than five symptoms when they first got sick with COVID-19 were also at higher risk for long COVID.

Jenna Palladino, a psychologist who helps oversee outpatient behavioral health for Stony Brook, said she founded the online support group more than a year ago because "we were hearing a lot of stories of survivors feeling alone and isolated" by long COVID and by their doctors’ inability to tell them how long their symptoms will last — or if they’ll ever go away.

"It’s really enhancing the anxiety and depression they’re feeling," she added, and "that uncertainty about not knowing what the long-term trajectory is for their well-being is very scary."

Crean, 55, tested positive for COVID-19 in April, three weeks after she got her second vaccine shot. She has seen at least 10 doctors since, but she’s had no real improvement.

Many people do eventually improve, Rajupet said, but "there are no known treatments for post-COVID at this time."

Crean said her fatigue is so "crushing" that she was unable to return to work as a preschool special education teacher at the Developmental Disabilities Institute in Smithtown. She had worked as a teacher for more than 20 years.

Even so, she said, her personal physician downplayed the severity of her fatigue. "At one point she said, ‘I have patients with fatigue. They go to work,’ " Crean said.

That doctor did, though, refer her to the Post-COVID Clinic, where Rajupet told her about the support group, whose members "really made me believe that I’m still sane, that I hadn’t just lost my mind."

"When you’re feeling sick and awful and you go to a doctor and you have them either disbelieve you or think it’s not so bad, it makes you question yourself," said Crean, who before the group asked herself, " 'Am I really not that sick?' "

Her husband and three sons have been supportive, but she said she has a hard time explaining to friends and extended family how long COVID has affected her life.

Palladino said some people believe friends or family with long COVID are exaggerating their symptoms.

"So many of the long COVID symptoms aren’t necessarily physically observable, so something like loss of taste and smell, brain fog, chronic fatigue — they’re not things your family, friends, co-workers and supervisors see, so it’s hard for them to understand the impact they’re having on your day-to-day life," she said.

Elizabeth Medina, 38, of Levittown, lost her ability to taste and smell after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2020, long before vaccines were available. She also has fatigue, lost more than half her hair and has neuropathy on the right side of her body. But, in a sign of how so much about COVID-19 is unknown and at times inexplicable, she has never had a persistent cough or breathing problems, even though she has asthma.

For more than a year, she turned down every social invitation because of the difficulty in conveying how devastating it is to not be able to taste food, and to be repelled by how some food feels like rubber or sand in her mouth.

"I don’t want to be retraumatizing myself and have people telling me, ‘It’s OK, let’s just have a good time,’ when I’m not having a good time seeing and hearing how good [the food] is," she said.

When her husband bought her perfume — something she always loved — for Mother’s Day, "I just started crying" because she couldn’t smell it, she said.

He apologized, but it was "beyond traumatic," she said.

Medina has continued working as a guidance counselor for a New York City public school, but, "I'm so tired, I don't know how I work. There are days I just have to push myself."

Others at the Stony Brook Post-COVID clinic have seen more significant changes after inoculation. About half of the clinic's patients reported improvement in their symptoms post-vaccination, but the other half had no changes, Rajupet said. Several surveys of long COVID patients, as well as anecdotal reports by doctors, indicate the vaccine can help with symptoms in some people. But the CDC cautions that scientific studies are needed to determine the effect of vaccines on post-COVID conditions.

Rebecchi said there have been two fires in her toaster oven because she couldn’t smell the food burning, and she and her husband installed gas detectors in case she forgets to shut off the gas. She said her family has been supportive, but it’s impossible for them to understand what she’s going through.

"It’s caused a lot of anxiety, because I don’t know if and when it will come back," she said of her senses.

Zina Seguino, 53, of Copiague, first felt sick in December, with symptoms such as diarrhea and loss of appetite, which led to her losing 25 pounds in a few weeks.

She didn’t test positive for COVID-19 — something Rajupet said occasionally happens with people with the disease — so doctors at first didn’t believe her condition was related to the virus, although they were unable to explain it. An infectious disease doctor finally diagnosed her with COVID-19 in the spring.

A few symptoms, such as extremely dry skin and nausea, have improved or gone away, but her difficulty thinking and concentrating got worse, and she began losing hair and getting a burning sensation in her lips, tongue, throat and eyes.

"It’s paralyzing," she said.

Seguino can't get vaccinated because of allergies to vaccine ingredients, so she's become increasingly nervous in recent weeks as she's seen fewer people in public places, including grocery stores, wearing masks, and as her 13- and 16-year-old children returned to school. She worries another coronavirus infection would worsen her symptoms.


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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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19 Oct 2021, 5:41 pm

COVID Vaccine ‘Mix-And-Match’ Study Finds Moderna Booster After J&J Single-Shot Produced Major Increase In Antibodies

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The Food and Drug Administration is planning to give Americans a lot more freedom to get a vaccine booster different from the one they first received.

This comes after a new so-called “mix-and-match study” found some surprising benefits to changing up boosters, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Tuesday.

But now a small, new federally funded study is providing some preliminary answers.

It found that recipients of Johnson & Johnson‘s single-dose shot who received a Moderna booster saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold in 15 days, compared with only a 4-fold increase after an extra dose of Johnson & Johnson. A shot of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine also raised the antibody levels of Johnson & Johnson recipients more than a second Johnson & Johnson did, although not as much as Moderna, Gomez reported.

Still, the federal government has said it will not recommend any specific combination of vaccines and boosters. Farber said there’s not enough data yet.

The study also only looked at antibody levels, just one component of vaccine immunity. Still, the Centers for Disease Control is expected to take up the booster issue Thursday and issue its own recommendation


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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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21 Oct 2021, 5:32 am

FDA authorizes booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, says mix and match OK

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The US Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Wednesday and also said any of the three authorized vaccines could be used as a booster in a "mix and match" approach.

But it left in place a complex formula for who should get get boosters and when, with officials saying they may simplify the framework as more safety data comes in.
Now vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider the FDA's authorization, and offer their own advice. If CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off, people could start getting Moderna and J&J boosters within days.

The FDA gave emergency use authorization for a half dose of Moderna's vaccine as a booster for people fully vaccinated at least six months ago who are also at least 65, or who are at least 18 and at high risk of severe Covid-19 or have frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the virus.

It also authorized booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for anyone who got that vaccine, so those 18 and older, at least two months ago.

And it said any of the three authorized vaccines could be used to boost. Pfizer already has authorization for booster shots for its vaccine for people vaccinated at least six months ago -- with the same restrictions as those for Moderna's vaccine: those 65 and older and those with a higher risk of severe disease.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's vaccine arm, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the ability to use any authorized vaccine as a booster will simplify matters for people.
"Being able to interchange these vaccines is a good thing. It's like what we do with flu vaccines. Most people don't know what brand flu vaccine they received," Marks told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Dowdy said he hoped the CDC would provide clearer guidance to the public about boosters. But he also said the emphasis on boosters was distracting the public from the bigger need to vaccinate more people in the first place.

“If you are a little confused by this -- it's not the worst thing in the world to wait a little bit as long as you've gotten that first series of vaccine," he said.


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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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21 Oct 2021, 12:07 pm

Russians to stay off work for a week as virus deaths rise

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President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered most Russians to stay off work for a week starting later this month amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths, and he strongly urged reluctant citizens to get vaccinated.

The government coronavirus task force reported 1,028 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought Russia’s death toll to 226,353, by far the highest in Europe.

Putin said he supports the Cabinet’s proposal to introduce a nonworking period starting Oct. 30 and extending through the following week, when four of seven days are already non-working, including a two-day state holiday. In some regions where the situation is the most threatening, he said the nonworking period could start as early as Saturday and be extended past Nov. 7.

Russia’s daily coronavirus mortality numbers have been surging for weeks and topped 1,000 for the first time over the weekend amid sluggish vaccination rates, lax public attitudes toward taking precautions and the government’s reluctance to toughen restrictions. Only about 45 million Russians — roughly a third of its nearly 146 million people — are fully vaccinated.


Moscow orders unvaccinated over-60s to stay home for 4 months as Russia's Covid-19 crisis deepens
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Millions of Russians face strict new Covid-19 restrictions from this week after a slow vaccination drive, an overwhelmed health care system and widespread mistrust in government combined to plunge the country into its most deadly phase of the pandemic to date.
On Tuesday Moscow's mayor ordered all unvaccinated residents over 60, as well as unvaccinated people "suffering from chronic diseases," to remain home for four months until late February as the city grapples with a growing crisis.
I think the country is now falling into disaster," Vasily Vlassov, a Russian epidemiologist and former adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), told CNN.
"I have hope we will soon come to a certain limit beyond which we will not go, but this is still very high morbidity and mortality. Hospitals are overwhelmed," Vlassov said, predicting that deaths would spike further still before the end of the year.

And there are concerns that Russia's official figures do not reflect the true scale of its public health emergency.
"(A) person who dies of respiratory failure from Covid often gets into the statistics as a person who died from respiratory failure, but not from Covid," Vlassov said. "High morbidity in Russia is seen as a sign of failure of the state and society."


Russia’s COVID Nightmare Spirals With a Viral Corpse and a Hospital Suicide Leap
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A gut-wrenching video has been circulating in Russia showing a dead COVID-19 patient on his hospital bed in the town of Novouralsk, apparently neglected by nurses and doctors. In the clip, another patient—the man who posted the video—is seen running around the hospital’s empty hallways screaming at the top of his lungs in an effort to flag down medical staff to tend to the deceased. “Girls, anybody?! Nurses, doctors!,” he can be heard shouting. No one responds to his pleas over the course of the roughly minute-long video.

The dead patient’s niece, Oksana Kuznetsova, a young mother from Pervouralsk, said in a blog that her uncle, Vadim, was admitted to the hospital Oct. 5, and that his family members would often check in on him through the hospital window. “My uncle was left dirty in bed. Nobody cleaned after him. He did not even have a diaper on and was unable to get up and go to the toilet,” she wrote.

Kuznetsova said that she frequently phoned the hospital during her uncle’s last days, but that her calls were also ignored. She found out that her uncle had died through another patient staying at her hospital ward, who allegedly told Kuznetsova, “He was suffocating. I went to call for doctors but there was nobody on the floor.” Vadim died on Oct. 12.

The Russian Investigative Committee looked into the case after the video went viral on social media. Eventually, local authorities made the decision to fire the hospital’s director, Victor Dolgushin. The hospital has not responded to The Daily Beast’s requests for a comment.

The viral incident comes as Russia’s health system is being crushed by a new devastating wave of COVID-19. A dire shortage of medical personnel is exacerbating the crisis, especially in single-industry provincial towns, like Kuznetsova’s Novouralsk. On Wednesday, a record 34,073 infections and over a thousand fatalities were reported.


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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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21 Oct 2021, 12:15 pm

It seems the anti-vax propaganda has come home to roost. I feel bad for the Russian people but the Russian state deserves it.


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21 Oct 2021, 12:24 pm

APOM has gotten really good at relaying the true, objective news to us. I thank him wholeheartedly.



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21 Oct 2021, 4:29 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
It seems the anti-vax propaganda has come home to roost. I feel bad for the Russian people but the Russian state deserves it.

COVID-19 disinformation backfires as Russian deaths climb, EU says
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A systematic disinformation campaign in Russian media to foster doubts and misgivings about COVID-19 vaccines in the West has backfired as the death toll in Russia rises to record daily tolls, a European Union report said on Thursday.

The EU study said Russian state broadcaster RT and other media outlets had sown mistrust about the efficacy and safety of vaccines on their European websites in a number of languages, including Russian.

"Disinformation can kill. That should be kept in mind when we see Kremlin media continue spreading lies on COVID-19 and the vaccines, even as the death tolls in Russia are surging," said the EU study, entitled "Disinformation Review".

The Kremlin denies all disinformation allegations by the EU, which produces regular reports and seeks to work with Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Twitter (TWTR.N) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) to limit the spread of fake news.

The EU has documented what it says is Russian disinformation since early on in the pandemic in January 2020, via the bloc's foreign service EEAS. It is part of what the EU says is a broader Russian effort to weaken and divide Western societies.

Citing its own database on disinformation, the EU study said it found over 250 cases by Russian outlet Geopolitica.ru that sought to ridicule COVID-19 vaccinations and other measures.

"The claim of the uselessness of the vaccine is repeated in Italian, in Spanish, in English, in Dutch, and in Russian," the study found.


kraftiekortie wrote:
APOM has gotten really good at relaying the true, objective news to us. I thank him wholeheartedly.

You are welcome.


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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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22 Oct 2021, 1:05 pm

Fear, Intimidation and Censorship never lead anywhere good.



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22 Oct 2021, 2:45 pm

The NIH has admitted to US funding gain of function research.https://www.wionews.com/world/coronavir ... lab-423010



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23 Oct 2021, 10:17 am

Brain Fog Can Persist 8 Months After COVID: Study

Clickbait title, but good info.


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25 Oct 2021, 10:21 am

Why the Russians are leery of covid vaccine.
https://thebulletin.org/2021/10/many-ru ... r_10222021


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25 Oct 2021, 11:42 am

Misslizard wrote:
Why the Russians are leery of covid vaccine.
https://thebulletin.org/2021/10/many-ru ... r_10222021


As someone in Victoria Australia, I was surprised by just how relateable that article was.



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25 Oct 2021, 2:51 pm

Well, since the government has never lied to us before, maybe we have no reason to be hesitant about the vaccine.



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26 Oct 2021, 5:47 am

Only one free read allowed before going behind paywall.
Covid Cases Are Soaring in Britain Again. Why?

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Once again Britain has one of the highest rates of Covid infection anywhere. The U.K. just reported its biggest single day Covid case increase in three months and a 16% increase in confirmed cases in the week to Oct. 18. The government has warned of a bad winter.

Even in the era of vaccines, the risks aren’t trivial.

While deaths from Covid are now mercifully low, some of those who get infected will end up hospitalized. They will suffer, and occupy beds and health service resources that are already overstretched and coping with a gargantuan backlog of cases. Families will step in; productivity will be lost. Others will end up with Long Covid, whose symptoms last for weeks or months after the virus has cleared. High levels of infection will also increase the risk of new vaccine-resistant strains of the virus.

Although some of the disparity in infection rates between Britain and other countries can be attributed to higher levels of testing (especially in schools and hospitals), testing alone doesn’t explain the gap. Rates of hospitalization and even death are several times higher in the U.K. than in comparable European countries.

Part of the answer seems obvious: Britain reopened in July without guard rails in place. Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged the public to get off the pause button and hit “play.” The response was robust. During a recent commute on the London Underground during rush hour, I entered a packed rail car where hardly anyone wore a mask. Ditto for a trip to a full cinema. In Berlin, it’s routine to wear a medical grade N95 equivalent mask. You see them only seldom in London.

Other countries with lax policies (Scandinavian ones, for example) didn’t experience such a spike in cases. Scotland kept a mask mandate in many indoor settings (including schools) and still struggled with a higher infection rate than England in September.

Francois Balloux, Director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, rattled off a half-dozen other inputs into the U.K.’s infection picture. As an early vaccinator, immunity is now waning especially for older people, he told me. (The U.K. also relied heavily on the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine, which offers lower protection from the delta variant.) Other factors such as population density or average household size can also make the U.K. more vulnerable than, say, Denmark.

Another factor too seldom discussed is access to sick pay. There is a large disparity between low rates in the U.K. and more generous levels on the Continent. That has forced many Brits infected by Covid to continue working, spreading the virus to others.

Climate may also affect how easily the virus is transmitted in Britain; other endemic viruses that contribute to the common cold are highly seasonal.

Finally, there is also the new delta variant subtype, known as AY.4.2., which began showing up around July and now accounts for about 8% of genomically sequenced cases in the U.K. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, tweeted about the need for “urgent research” into the subtype, which is not common in the U.S. at present and is considered about 10% more transmissible than delta.

Meanwhile, several factors may combine to send case levels lower in England.

The U.K. still ought to provide a warning for other countries.


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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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29 Oct 2021, 5:48 pm

Vaccination protects against coronavirus infection more strongly than previous infection, CDC study finds

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Vaccination protects people against coronavirus infection much better than previous infection, a team of researchers led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

People who had not been vaccinated and who ended up in the hospital were five times more likely to have Covid-19 than people who had been vaccinated within the past three to six months, they found.

Researchers across the country collected data on 7,000 people treated at 187 hospitals in nine states for Covid-like illnesses between January and September. All were tested for coronavirus. Those who were not vaccinated were 5.49 times as likely to test positive for coronavirus as those who had been vaccinated within the past three to six months – even if they had a recent Covid-19 infection.

The CDC noted that a recent Israeli study found just the opposite—but also noted that the Israeli study looked at people who had been vaccinated six month before or longer. “Understanding infection-induced and vaccine-induced immunity over time is important, particularly for future studies to consider,” they wrote.


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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