Tulane Outbreak Daily – April 6, 2021

Featured Headlines

‘Double Mutant’ COVID-19 Variant Found in the Bay Area – NBC

A new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in the Bay Area and is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States. The double mutation is believed to be responsible for a recent surge in cases in India.

Troubling “Eek” variant found in most Tokyo hospital COVID cases – Reuters

Around 70% of coronavirus patients tested at a Tokyo hospital last month carried a mutation known for reducing vaccine protection, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Sunday.

India’s daily virus cases breach 100,000; mutants, behaviour blamed – Reuters

India reported a record rise in COVID-19 infections on Monday, becoming the second country after the United States to post more than 100,000 new cases in a day, as politicians stage massive election rallies raising fears of further spreading the virus.

Just How Much Was 2020 an Outlier for Deaths? – MedPageToday

No harder measure of the coronavirus pandemic’s toll exists: death from any cause rose 23% nationwide in 2020.

China reports biggest daily COVID-19 case jump in over 2 months – Reuters

China reported its biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than two months, as a city on the border with Myanmar in southwestern Yunnan province accounted for all new local cases.

Iran: ‘We have lost control of containing the Covid-19 dragon – NYT

Iran’s coronavirus infection and death rates reached what amounts to a fourth wave, health officials said Monday, a few weeks after many Iranians ignored warnings against traveling and congregating for the Nowruz new year holiday.

Japan fears COVID-19 variants are behind possible fourth wave – Reuters

Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave in the pandemic with just 109 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics.

Thailand orders bar closings in capital to stop virus spread – ABC News

Officials in Thailand’s capital on Monday ordered a two-week closure of all entertainment venues in three districts to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus from nightspots there.

Vaccine Headlines

COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe During Pregnancy And May Protect Baby, Too – NPR

Since the pandemic began, pregnant people have faced a difficult choice: to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. The risk of severe disease or even death from COVID-19 — while small — is higher during pregnancy. More than 82,000 coronavirus infections among pregnant individuals and 90 maternal deaths from the disease have been reported in the U.S. as of last month.

Johnson & Johnson To Oversee Vaccine Production At Baltimore Facility – NPR

The Biden administration has facilitated for Johnson & Johnson to assume “full responsibility” of a production plant after a mishap botched likely millions of doses-worth of COVID-19 vaccine.

How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Compare? – MedPageToday

While direct comparisons can’t be made because head-to-head trials don’t exist, people are questioning how the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. stack up.

More than 3 million people are now receiving a Covid vaccine in the U.S. each day – NYT

For the first time, more than three million people, on average, are receiving a Covid-19 vaccine each day in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And on Saturday, the country reported over four million doses in a single day for the first time.

Vaccine Rollout to Exceed 100 Countries Soon, Covax Head Says – Bloomberg

Coronavirus shots should be rolled out to over 100 countries in the next couple of weeks, from 84 at present, with a shortage of supplies the limiting factor, said one of the leaders of the World Health Organization’s vaccine initiative.

Undercover Video Of Clandestine Luxury Dinner In Paris Prompts Police Inquiry – NPR

A secret recording of an opulent clandestine pop-up restaurant in a private Paris mansion, with patrons flouting mask mandates, has sparked outrage and a police inquiry in France. The high-priced menu promises Champagne and foie gras; in the footage, a man tells a new visitor, “Once you pass through the door, there’s no more COVID.”

Clinical Considerations

None Today

Official Reporting for April 6, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update April 5, 2021

Confirmed Cases: 131 020 967

Deaths: 2 850 521

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 131,696,594
Deaths: 2,859,357

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 30,532,965 (+40,601 New Cases)
Total deaths: 554,064 (+383 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Pfizer’s Vizimpro is among 3 FDA-approved drugs that combat COVID-19 in lung cells: report – Fierce Biotech

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared over a year ago, researchers around the world have been searching for existing drugs that might be repurposed to fight the virus. A team led by the University of Pennsylvania is adding three candidates to the growing list of potential anti-COVID-19 candidates—medicines they believe are particularly promising because they appear to inhibit the virus in respiratory cells.

Covid Mutants Multiply as Scientists Race to Decode Variations – Bloomberg

When Bette Korber, a biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, spotted the first significant mutation in the Covid-19 virus last spring, some scientists were skeptical. They didn’t believe it would make the virus more contagious and said its rapid rise might just be coincidence.

The emerging plasticity of SARS-CoV-2 – Science

Viruses evolve as a result of mutation (misincorporations, insertions or deletions, and recombination) and natural selection for favorable traits such as more efficient viral replication, transmission, and evasion of host defenses. Newly selected traits may be linked in unpredictable ways and raise concern that virus spread and evolution could result in greater virulence (disease severity).

Psychological and Sociological Impact

After Covid, Should You Keep Working From Home? Here’s How to Decide. – Wall Street Journal

If you are offered the opportunity to keep working from home on a long-term basis, should you take it? Only 11% of employers in a recent Conference Board survey report that they expect to require all their workers to return to the office over the long term—although 27% of respondents said their plans were unknown—and about a third say that 40% or more of their workforce will be primarily remote.

For 36 minutes on Saturday, Broadway was open – NYT

There were just two performers — the tap dancer Savion Glover and the actor Nathan Lane, both of them Tony Award winners — on a bare Broadway stage. But together they conjured up decades of theater lore.

Climbers return to Mount Everest, with social distancing and Covid-19 insurance. – NYT

After Nepal was forced to close its mountain trails last year, dealing its economy a devastating blow, the tiny Himalayan country has reopened Mount Everest and its seven other 26,200-foot-plus peaks in the hope of a rebound.

The Rise of the Pandemic Shed – Washington Post

In an unrelenting year, these five families used DIY plans to create room for silence, storage and solace.The cozy, sturdy structure in our backyard that my husband built last year has cycled through several names, some of them even before the walls were up. At first, we called it the “learnin’ shed,” planned for our kids’ distance learning.

Do We Even Know How To Socialize Anymore? – NPR

Zoom meetings. Virtual happy hours. Facetime dates. We’ve been living in a pandemic world for over a year now, and for better or worse, many of us are used to our new social routines.

Published Research

A single intranasal dose of chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection in rhesus macaques – Cell

The deployment of a vaccine that limits transmission and disease likely will be required to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We recently described the protective activity of an intranasally administered chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine encoding a pre-fusion stabilized spike (S) protein (ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S [chimpanzee adenovirus-severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2-S]) in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of mice expressing the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. Here, we show the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of this vaccine in non-human primates. Rhesus macaques were immunized with ChAd-Control or ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S and challenged 1 month later by combined intranasal and intrabronchial routes with SARS-CoV-2. A single intranasal dose of ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S induces neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses and limits or prevents infection in the upper and lower respiratory tracts after SARS-CoV-2 challenge.

Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes in the US, March 1, 2020, to January 2, 2021 – JAMA

A study analyzing US mortality in March-July 2020 reported a 20% increase in excess deaths, only partly explained by COVID-19. Surges in excess deaths varied in timing and duration across states and were accompanied by increased mortality from non–COVID-19 causes.1 This study updates the analysis for the remainder of 2020.

Estimates and Projections of COVID-19 and Parental Death in the US – JAMA

The scale of COVID-19 mortality in the United States, including among prime-age adults, merits efforts to continuously track how many children are affected by parental death. Children who lose a parent are at elevated risk of traumatic grief, depression, poor educational outcomes, and unintentional death or suicide, and these consequences can persist into adulthood.1 Sudden parental death, such as that occurring owing to COVID-19, can be particularly traumatizing for children and leave families ill prepared to navigate its consequences. Moreover, COVID-19 losses are occurring at a time of social isolation, institutional strain, and economic hardship, potentially leaving bereaved children without the supports they need.

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Fighting COVID Vaccine Fraud – MedPageToday

Fraudsters prey on people’s fears and concerns by pretending they have a wonder drug or access to a restricted item, then offer it up for sale at a premium. The COVID-19 pandemic seemed to check all the boxes — especially vaccines, when it comes to criminals trying to take advantage of the system. A real-life miracle drug that prevents a real life pandemic, and not enough to go around.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

Also good for 2021!

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