Tulane Outbreak Daily – February 23, 2021

Featured Headlines

White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing – PBS Newshour
Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling the United States’ approaching milestone of half a million deaths from the coronavirus as “terribly historic” and stressed the need for continuing public health measures.

High Covid rates delay France and Germany easing – BBC

Stubbornly high infection rates are hampering French efforts to ease coronavirus restrictions, with Nice in the south a particular hotspot.

Here is how Covid-19s toll compares with other causes of death in the U.S. – NYT

The enormous scale of illness and death wrought by the coronavirus is traced in figures that have grown so far beyond the familiar yardsticks of daily life that they can sometimes be difficult to get a handle on.

‘A Loss To The Whole Society’: U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 500,000 – NPR

As the country faces another wrenching milestone, there are signs of hope that we may be beating back the virus. But a brighter future won’t bring back precious lives lost.

Merkel Targets Cautious Reopening as Germany’s Outbreak Worsens – Bloomberg

Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to develop a plan that will pave the way for a cautious reopening of Europe’s largest economy, even as infection rates tick up. Under pressure from a pandemic-weary German public, Merkel told the leadership of her Christian Democratic party on Monday that the next steps will have to be done “smartly” and with more testing, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

History’s deadliest pandemics, from ancient Rome to modern America

The novel coronavirus took just a few months to sweep the globe. More than 2.5 million people around the world have died, including 500,000 in the United States. How many more will die, how countries will recover — the answers remain elusive as the disease continues raging. But history shows that past pandemics have reshaped societies in profound ways. Hundreds of millions of people have died. Empires have fallen. Governments have cracked. Generations have been annihilated. Here is a look at how pandemics have remade the world.

Organ recipient dies after receiving COVID-19 infected lungs – Oregon Live

Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted COVID-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative

Hope Behind the Headlines: COVID-19 vaccines and variants – MedPageToday

In this installment of our Hope Behind the Headlines series, we review the worldwide progress in vaccination rates and the resulting drop in new cases in certain countries. We also review how existing vaccines fare against new variants of the coronavirus.

I was the Australian doctor on the WHO’s COVID-19 mission to China. Here’s what we found about the origins of the coronavirus – The Conversation

As part of the mission, we met the man who, on December 8, 2019, was the first confirmed COVID-19 case; he’s since recovered. We met the husband of a doctor who died of COVID-19 and left behind a young child. We met the doctors who worked in the Wuhan hospitals treating those early COVID-19 cases, and learned what happened to them and their colleagues. We witnessed the impact of COVID-19 on many individuals and communities, affected so early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about the virus, how it spreads, how to treat COVID-19, or its impacts.

Coronavirus herd immunity will take team effort, says Dr. Fauci – AMA

While COVID-19 continues to confound the nation’s best efforts to contain it, the country’s leading scientific expert on the pandemic expressed confidence that SARS-CoV-2 variants can be addressed through vaccination.

The Pandemic Will End—but Covid-19 May Be Here to Stay – Wired

For all the chaos of vaccine distribution and appointment-making, Covid-19 vaccination in the United States is going better than it initially seemed. As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker showed almost 58 million doses had been given out. Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that his administration may arrive early at its goal of giving 100 million shots in 100 days.

Vaccine Headlines

Sanofi to help second rival produce COVID-19 vaccines – ABC News

French drug maker Sanofi, battling development delays with its own vaccine candidates against COVID-19, is turning over more of its vaccine production facilities to industrial competitors, teaming up with Johnson & Johnson to produce millions of doses of its rival coronavirus vaccine.

In a virus-ravaged city, nearly 400 million vaccine doses are being made — and shipped elsewhere – Washington Post

At the eastern edge of Baltimore, Emergent BioSolutions is manufacturing almost all of the yet-to-be approved Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines for the U.S. population — an anticipated hundreds of millions of doses in the coming months. But in a sign of the complexities in a global supply chain that is struggling beneath the weight of demand, most of those doses will not go to residents of this city, or even the state of Maryland.

First real-world coronavirus vaccine data in Britain show decline in infections, hospitalizations after first dose – Washington Post

In the first study to describe the nationwide effectiveness of two vaccines, researchers in Scotland reported Monday that both the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca shots greatly reduced hospital admissions from covid-19 among the elderly — by up to 85 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

Early data offers hope on AstraZeneca’s vaccine – NYT

The first studies of Britain’s mass inoculation program showed strong evidence on Monday that the coronavirus vaccines were working as intended, offering among the clearest signs yet that the vaccines slash the rate of Covid-19 hospital admissions and may be reducing transmission of the virus.

The F.D.A. tells companies that vaccines adapted for new variants won’t need lengthy clinical trials – NYT

The Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that vaccine developers would not need to conduct lengthy randomized controlled trials to evaluate vaccines that have been adapted to target concerning coronavirus variants.

Clinical Considerations

What to know about long COVID – Medical News Today

Long COVID is a condition wherein people continue to experience COVID-19 symptoms for longer than usual after initially contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

COVID-19 and the heart: What do we know so far? – Medical News Today

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, affects various organs and systems in the body, including the cardiovascular system. What do we currently know about its impact on the heart? This feature looks at the latest research and reveals what cardiologists have observed in the hospital setting.

Blood thinners may protect against COVID-19 complications – MedPageToday

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 2 million deaths throughout the world. The United States currently has the highest number of related mortalities, more than 499,000 at the time of publication.

When Does COVID-19 Become A Disability? ‘Long-Haulers’ Push For Answers And Benefits – NPR

When COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S., Jodee Pineau-Chaisson was working as the director of social services for a nursing home in western Massachusetts. By the middle of April, residents at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst were getting sick.

Official Reporting for February 23, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update February 22, 2020

Confirmed Cases: 111 102 016

Deaths: 2 462 911

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 111,697,446
Deaths: 2,473,085

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 27,938,085 (+55,528 New Cases)
Total deaths: 497,415 (+1,303 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

How Google search data can predict COVID-19 outbreaks – MedPageToday

While some of the behaviors that lead to SARS-CoV-2 infections are clear, new waves of COVID-19 cases do not always follow predicted patterns. Now, however, a study from researchers at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences describes a possible means of spotting infection surges before they happen through the analysis of online searches.

DARPA backs Rice sensor to detect COVID-19 virus in air – Eureka Alert

Researchers at Rice University have received funding for up to $1 million to develop a real-time sensor system able to detect minute amounts of the airborne virus that causes COVID-19 infection.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Pandemic’s mental health burden heaviest among young adults – ABC News

The pandemic has closed schools, offices, sports arenas and limited social interaction for millions of people — perhaps an even bigger struggle for young people more used to being active.

Taking it to the street: Food vending during and after COVID-19 – The Conversation

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we eat. Because outdoor dining poses less risk of infection, many cities have changed their laws to accommodate public demand. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates that closing 87 streets and allowing outdoor dining saved nearly 100,000 jobs. Chicago has offered restaurants a US$5,000 grant to weatherize outdoor dining for the winter.

Clergy On The Pandemic Front Lines: ‘How Do We Really Grieve?’ – NPR

Health care personnel are not alone on the front lines of the struggle with COVID-19. Another group is the faith leaders who minister to the sick and console those who are grieving. Four faith leaders with different missions and experiences share their thoughts and feelings about their pandemic work and the burdens they bear.

Published Research

Prolonged SARS-CoV-2 cell culture replication in respiratory samples from patients with severe COVID-19 – Clinical Microbiology

This study compares the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples from patients with mild COVID-19 with those from hospitalised patients with severe bilateral pneumonia. In severe COVID-19, we also analysed the presence of neutralising activity in paired sera.

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

False claims tying coronavirus vaccines to infertility drive doubts among women of childbearing age – Washington Post

The friend confided that she would decline the coronavirus vaccine because of something she’d seen online — that the shot could cause the immune system to attack the placenta, potentially leading to miscarriage and infertility. Sathe, who was early in her pregnancy at the time but had not told anyone, spent the next few weeks scrutinizing information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and calling trusted experts to investigate the report.

A Vaccination against the Pandemic of Misinformation – Scientific American

False beliefs, similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients, may result from a lack of science literacy. The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been fractious. Many citizens, spurred on by political leaders and even some health providers, have not heeded science-based recommendations from our nation’s infectious-disease experts to wear masks, adhere to physical distancing and shelter in place. Rather than coming together as a nation to slow the spread of SARS-CoV2, far too many Americans in positions of power have chosen to ignore, downplay or politicize these recommendations while supporting dangerous antiscience beliefs and behaviors. They have opted instead to favor individual freedoms over our collective common good. As a result, more people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 than in any other country, and our nation has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

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