Tulane Outbreak Daily – January 15, 2021

Featured Headlines

Coronavirus-ravaged Brazil places hopes on Chinese vaccine that works only half the time – Washington Post
Containment efforts have largely failed. The coronavirus is everywhere. And President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the hundreds of thousands of dead has been a shrug: “Life goes on.” Brazil, hit by the third-most cases in the world, has long seen a vaccine as the only way out. But while wealthier countries have galloped into their vaccination campaigns, Brazil has been stumbling. Mass vaccination still hasn’t begun. Misinformation and vaccine hesitance are rising.

Covid-19 deaths are the highest they’ve ever been — and the more infectious variants could make things much worse – STAT

As horrific as the U.S. Covid-19 outbreak looks right now, it is almost certainly about to get worse They’ve raced through South Africa, the United Kingdom, and, increasingly, elsewhere, and now, new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus have gained toeholds in the United States. If they take off here — which, with their transmission advantages, they will, unless Americans rapidly put a brake on their spread — it will detonate something of a bomb in the already deep, deep hole the country must dig out of to end the crisis.

COVID-19 Origin Study: WHO Team Arrives In Wuhan To Investigate – NPR

A team of 13 World Health Organization scientists have now arrived in Wuhan, China, where they will investigate the origins of the coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic. Nearly 2 million people have died due to COVID-19, with more than 92 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Remaining COVID-19 Journey – Scientific American

I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I breathed a sigh of relief at the much ballyhooed arrival of COVID-19 vaccines at the end of 2020. We’re in the midst of a dark and grief-stricken pandemic winter, and the sooner the vaccine gets us to herd immunity—and, pray, a semblance of normalcy—the better. But the well-worn trope that life is a journey, and not a destination, has an epidemiological application as well. As of this writing, the U.S. just suffered a record-breaking day of thousands of fatalities caused by the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 measures also suppress flu—for now – Science

Influenza forecasters are a cautious bunch. Flu cases can spike in late winter after months of low infection rates, making experts reluctant to predict a mild season too soon. But many are ready to declare that COVID-19 control measures have dramatically tamped down the flu and other respiratory viruses that would normally be ripping through the Northern Hemisphere.

COVID reinfections are unusual — but could still help the virus to spread – Nature

Large study of UK health-care workers suggests that most people are immune for months after catching COVID-19 for the first time.

Vaccine Headlines

Companies scramble to expand coronavirus vaccine supply – Washington Post

Production of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States is accelerating, even as companies with experimental vaccines nearing the end of trials struggle to meet ambitious manufacturing targets.

Moderna believes it could update its coronavirus vaccine without a big new trial – MIT Technology Review

Covid vaccines reprogrammed to aim at emerging new strains of the virus could reach the market quickly, without going through large clinical trials, according to officials at Moderna Therapeutics and the US government.

Clinical Considerations

Three-quarters attack rate of SARS-CoV-2 in the Brazilian Amazon during a largely unmitigated epidemic – Science

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) incidence peaked in Manaus, Brazil, in May 2020 with a devastating toll on the city’s inhabitants, leaving its health services shattered and cemeteries overwhelmed.

Deaths among Latinos in L.A. County from COVID-19 rising at astonishing levels – Los Angeles Times

As the coronavirus spreads relentlessly through Los Angeles County, poor neighborhoods and the region’s Latino and Black communities continue to bear the brunt of illness and death, according to data released Wednesday.

How COVID-19 Affects The Brain – NPR

Remember all those months ago when reports started to appear about coronavirus patients experiencing a loss of smell and taste? While many people were trying to make heads or tails of whether that was even a real symptom or a coincidence, neurologists worried that this suggested the SARS-CoV-2 virus was affecting the nerves responsible for relaying information from the nose to the brain.

High-Titer Plasma Beneficial in Less Severe COVID – Medical Page Today

Treatment with convalescent plasma with higher COVID-19 antibody titers was associated with a lower risk of death in hospitalized patients versus those receiving lower-antibody titers, researchers found.

Official Reporting for January 15, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update January 12, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 90 335 008

Deaths: 1 954 336


Confirmed Cases: 89 802 096

Deaths: 1 940 529

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 93,076,925
Deaths: 1,993,146

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 22,965,957 (+225,815 New Cases)
Total deaths: 383,351 (+4,096 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

None Today

Psychological and Sociological Impact

To thrive in lockdown, keep looking forward – Medical News Today

A recent study finds that focusing on good things in the future may be the most effective way to maintain emotional well-being during lockdown.

For people with OCD — and fearful of germs — the pandemic is upending years of therapy – STAT

Long before the pandemic arrived, Renée battled intense fears of getting sick from daily life. She worried she could get HIV from doorknobs or suffer brain damage from odorless carbon monoxide leaking from a faulty furnace. Danger lurked everywhere. How could she be sure her plates and mugs were safe to use, even if they’d just come out of the dishwasher? What if, through casual contact, she somehow picked up the herpes virus? Who knew what potential germs might linger on cupboard knobs?

Published Research

Epidemiology and pathobiology of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in comparison with SARS, MERS: An updated overview of current knowledge and future perspectives – Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health

Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden – NEJM

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Vaccine Hesitancy

Which US demographics are more likely to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine? – Medical News Today

A Texas A&M-led survey found that more than 31% of 5,009 Americans queried between May 28 and June 8 of last year did not intend to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why Healthcare Workers Refuse the Vaccine – Bloomberg Prognosis Podcast

Most states have prioritized health-care workers in their vaccination programs. But across the country, vaccine providers are finding that some of those workers don’t want the shot. Nurses and firefighters are among those questioning its safety after approval in record time. Elise Young reports that reluctance to get the shot that could end the pandemic goes well beyond anti-vax activists who spout unproven theories on social media.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

Yes, the Pandemic Is Ruining Your Body – The Atlantic

Quarantine is turning you into a stiff, hunched-over, itchy, sore, headachy husk.

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