Tulane Outbreak Daily – February 17, 2021

Featured Headlines

Plummeting Cases in U.S. Show Pathway to Crushing Covid-19 – Bloomberg

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are dropping dramatically across the U.S., suggesting that measures to interrupt transmission are working, at least for now.

Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants – NPR

Back in the spring of last year, a 45-year-old man went to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston because of a coronavirus infection. Doctors treated him with steroids and discharged him five days later.

‘Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start to feel better.’ – Washington Post

I caught this virus before anyone had even died in Illinois. That was like a century ago, right? Now we’re talking about Year Two, vaccines, new variants, a new administration, but for me it’s still exactly the same. I’m always in this bed. I’m always in this room. I’ve been sick for the last 330 days. I force myself to keep track because otherwise time doesn’t move. I feel like I’m in jail and putting tally marks on the wall.

Covid-19 Variants Outpace Europe’s Slow Vaccine Rollout – Wall Street Journal

The spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants is accelerating in Europe, outpacing an already-slow vaccine rollout and forcing governments to extend and possibly tighten restrictions on civil society and businesses to prevent a new surge in infections before the end of the region’s winter.

Virologist: WHO Team Found No ‘Credible Link’ Between Wuhan Labs, COVID-19

New Zealand City Goes Back Into Lockdown After New Coronavirus Cases Detected – NPR

After three members of a family in New Zealand’s largest city tested positive for the coronavirus, the city of Auckland has gone into lockdown — and the entire country is on high alert.

Two variants have merged into heavily mutated coronavirus

Two variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes covid-19 have combined their genomes to form a heavily mutated hybrid version of the virus. The “recombination” event was discovered in a virus sample in California, provoking warnings that we may be poised to enter a new phase of the pandemic. The recombinant was discovered by Bette Korber at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who told a meeting organised by the New York Academy of Sciences on 2 February that she had seen “pretty clear” evidence of it in her database of US viral genomes.

Opera Singers Help Covid-19 Patients Learn to Breathe Again – NY Times

A six-week program developed by the English National Opera and a London hospital offers customized vocal lessons to aid coronavirus recovery.

Vaccine Headlines

WHO Recommends AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Against South Africa Strain – Wall Street Journal

The World Health Organization said governments should continue rolling out AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine, including in countries battling a new strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in South Africa.

The Intensifying Race Between Coronavirus Variants And Vaccines – NPR

There’s evidence of at least seven U.S. variants of the coronavirus, while another that emerged from the U.K. is poised to become the dominant strain here by the end of March. One adviser from the Food and Drug Administration tells NPR there’s a tipping point to watch for: when a fully vaccinated person winds up hospitalized with a coronavirus variant.

Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Via Drone – Bloomberg

Wingcopter has raised $22 million to grow its medical-based drone deliveries. Here’s how they plan to get #Covid19 vaccines to some of the most remote places on Earth

How soon will COVID-19 vaccines return life to normal? – Science

Twenty days into the new year, cars were entering a parking lot bumper-to-bumper in the shadow of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball team. Arms waving, attendants directed the cars into three lines, which split into four more, and yelled as though the first pitch had already been thrown. “I’m going to load you up, I’m sending you 10, you can stack them!” one attendant hollered to another.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Don’t Miss 2nd Dose Because Of Scheduling Glitches – NPR

COVID-19 vaccines are akin to liquid gold these days. As more people become eligible, the demand continues to outstrip current supply. And while states aim to manage their weekly allotments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to ensure there are enough shots for second doses, there are scattered reports of snafus and postponed appointments.

North Korea tried to hack Pfizer for COVID vaccine information, South’s spy agency said to have reported – CBS News

North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a search for information on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment technology, South Korea’s spy agency said Tuesday, according to a South Korean lawmaker.

How Merck, a Vaccine Titan, Lost the Covid Race – NYT

After ending its own Covid-19 vaccine trials, the company said that it was actively discussing with governments how to help its competitors make their shots.

Clinical Considerations

Covid-19’s Effects May Linger in Your Body, Even After Asymptomatic Cases – Wall Street Journal

Researchers have found abnormalities even in people who didn’t show symptoms, raising questions about possible risks later in life

What We Know About the Impact of Covid-19 on Children – Bloomberg

Young children typically are “superspreaders” of respiratory germs, so it’s puzzling that they don’t seem to be major transmitters of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. They’re also relatively absent among hospitalized patients. Initially, that was thought to be because they’re less likely to become seriously ill if infected. Later studies indicate that those of primary school age, at least, may be less likely to catch the virus in the first place. Still, they’re not immune to an array of indirect Covid-19 harms, including physical abuse, learning gaps, anxiety and depression stemming from school closures, social isolation and other stress-inducing consequences of the pandemic. That’s informing considerations for how to safely keep kids in school.

Covid-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe – NYT

The condition, which usually emerges several weeks after infection, is still rare, but can be dangerous. “A higher percentage of them are really critically ill,” one doctor said.

Official Reporting for February 16, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update February 16, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 108 822 960

Deaths: 2 403 641

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 109,487,418
Deaths: 2,418,416

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 27,542,421 (+1,217 New Cases)
Total deaths: 470,110 (+3,645 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

None Today

Psychological and Sociological Impact

The new dining reality: Shorter menus, quicker meals — and ugly-delicious dishes – Washington Post

Let’s walk down memory lane and inhale the joys of Pasjoli, the Santa Monica restaurant introduced by chef Dave Beran in 2019. The stars of the show included a whole pressed duck, delivered atop a teak trolley, and a chocolate souffle graced with fresh vanilla bean ice cream.

We’ve been cooped up with our families for almost a year. This is the result. – Washington Post

At the height of the pandemic, most working Americans spent at least a few weekdays at home. Some were laid off, some were working remotely, but most had one thing in common: They were suddenly spending long hours inside a single house or apartment with the same few family members.

New Coronavirus Variants Postpone Recovery Of Leisure Travel – NPR

The spread of new coronavirus variants is postponing the recovery of leisure travel. Now the global airline industry says any solution must include digital vaccine passports.

Remote Workers Flee to $70,000-a-Month Resorts While Awaiting Vaccines – Bloomberg

Many see no reason to leave their warm-weather bunkers—not without promise of a shot back home.

Published Research

None Today

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

On social media, vaccine misinformation mixes with extreme faith – Washington Post

Even with renewed efforts by tech companies, religious-themed misinformation is among the hardest to police

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras during the pandemic, in photos – Washington Post

The city’s beloved celebrations don’t look the same, but house floats and king cakes keep the spirit alive.

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