Tulane Outbreak Daily – May 7, 2021

Featured Headlines

How India descended into Covid-19 chaos – BBC

The chief doctor of one of the hospitals – a specialist paediatric facility – told the BBC that “our hearts were in our mouths” because of the risk of children dying. They got supplies just in time, after a local politician intervened.

New Study Estimates More Than 900,000 People Have Died Of COVID-19 In U.S. – NPR

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. Worldwide, the study’s authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million.

In COVID-hit India, a 26-year-old doctor decides who lives and who dies – Reuters

Rohan Aggarwal is 26 years old. He doesn’t even complete his medical training until next year. And yet, at one of the best hospitals in India, he is the doctor who must decide who will live and who will die when patients come to him gasping for breath, their family members begging for mercy.

How SARS-CoV-2 first adapted in humans – Science

Viruses need entry proteins to penetrate the cells where they will replicate. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) version is called the spike or S protein. The S protein, also the target of the current vaccines, is quickly adapting to its new human hosts. It took its first major step in this direction early in 2020, when its amino acid 614 (of 1297) changed from an aspartic acid (D) to a glycine (G). Viruses bearing this D614G mutation transmit among humans more rapidly and now form the majority in circulation. On page 525 of this issue, Zhang et al. (1) use careful structural analyses to reveal how D614G changed the S protein to accelerate the pandemic.

The race to avoid a possible “monster” COVID variant – Axios

Slow global COVID-19 vaccination rates are raising concerns that worse variants of the coronavirus could be percolating, ready to rip into the world before herd immunity can diminish their impact.

Authorizing Covid-19 vaccines for 12-to-15-year-olds will be key for the fall, US NIH director says – CNN

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday he’s hopeful the US Food and Drug Administration will greenlight Covid-19 vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds and it will be important to start vaccinating high school-age people well in advance of the fall.

Covid cases at Everest base camp raise fears of serious outbreak – BBC

Base camp officials said they had received reports of 17 confirmed cases from hospitals in the capital Kathmandu, where a number of climbers have been sent from the base camp and higher camps to be treated.

How Safe Are You From Covid When You Fly? – NYT

To understand how risky it may be to board a flight now, start with how air circulates in a plane.

Hepatitis C drugs may enhance remdesivir – Medical News Today

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, NY, believe that a combination of drugs already approved for use in the United States could be the key in treating COVID-19.

Study confirms high doses of vitamin D have no effect on COVID-19 – MedPageToday

A study from researchers in Brazil provides a more robust answer to at least one key question: can vitamin D help prevent COVID-19 complications in particularly ill hospitalized patients? According to the results, the answer appears to be no.

Covid reached Everest base camp. Now climbers are trying to prevent its spread amid a record season.

As India’s massive coronavirus wave spreads, neighboring Nepal is also quickly becoming overwhelmed. An average of 6,700 cases are now reported a day as of May 5, an increase from 1,100 just two weeks earlier. Even as the country faces its steepest coronavirus wave yet, it has kept its main tourist attraction, the Nepali side of Mount Everest, open to foreigners seeking to climb the world’s tallest mountain.

Why Even With Vaccines, Covid Will Always Be With Us – Washington Post

The road to eliminating Covid-19 is long and paved with uncertainty. Many countries are counting on vaccines to build sufficient immunity in their populations so that SARS-CoV-2 isn’t able to find susceptible people to infect, causing transmission of the coronavirus to slow and eventually stop. But even with the rollout of highly effective vaccines, immunization coverage may not reach that level — the so-called herd immunity threshold — anytime soon. For one thing, it’s not known what level of immunity is required. There’s also the threat of emerging coronavirus variants that may weaken the effectiveness of immunizations.

Vaccine Headlines

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers strong protection against key variants of concern, real-world data from Qatar shows – Washington Post

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine provides strong protection against two concerning variants of the virus, including the one that has most worried scientists because it can evade parts of the immune response, according to new data from Qatar.

The World Turns to China for Vaccines After India, U.S. Stumble – Bloomberg

The world is fast becoming ever more reliant on China for vaccines, with India’s raging virus outbreak stifling its ability to deliver on supply deals, even as the U.S. tries to position itself as a champion of wider access.

Giving 2 Doses Of Different COVID-19 Vaccines Could Boost Immune Response – NPR

Typically, if you get a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, you should get two of the same vaccine. Two Pfizer shots, or two Moderna shots. Not one and then the other. But in the future, that could change, either by necessity or by design.

Why the world’s most vaccinated country is seeing an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases – Washington Post

As the Seychelles began to offer free coronavirus vaccinations early this year, President Wavel Ramkalawan told reporters that the country was planning to reach herd immunity within weeks. It was an ambitious target for a small, geographically isolated island nation in the Indian Ocean. But with its economy heavily reliant on tourism, the country called in favors to attain a vaccine supply from regional allies, including India and the United Arab Emirates.

You’re Fully Vaccinated! But Do You Need A Booster Shot? – NPR

It’s been six months since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. and now almost 40% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.

What’s the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine, the French shot that’s supposed to be ‘variant proof’? – The Conversation

A COVID-19 vaccine from French company Valneva has yet to complete clinical trials. But it has caught the eye of governments in the UK, Europe and Australia.

In shock move, US backs waiving patents on COVID vaccines – Nature

The development from the Biden administration draws cheers from public-health researchers and ire from drugmakers.

Japan may approve AstraZeneca, Moderna vaccines as early as May 20 – Reuters

Japan’s government may approve the use of coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna Inc as early as May 20, the Nikkei reported on Friday. Health ministry officials plan to hold a meeting around that date to discuss approval, the financial daily reported.

Clinical Considerations

Two Pandemics Clash as Doctors Find That Covid Spurs Diabetes – Bloomberg

When Ziyad Al-Aly’s research team told him how often diabetes appeared to strike Covid-19 survivors, he thought the data must be wrong, so he asked his five colleagues to crunch the numbers again.

Official Reporting for May 7, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update May 4, 2021

Confirmed Cases: 154 815 600

Deaths: 1 170 942 729

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 155,650,258
Deaths: 3,251,960

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 32,356,034 (+41,909 New Cases)
Total deaths: 576,238 (+730 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Massive Google-funded COVID database will track variants and immunity – Nature

Open repository will give free access to more than 160 million data points with details about individual infections.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

If Your Brain Feels Foggy And You’re Tired All The Time, You’re Not Alone – NPR

Exhaustion is also one of the top complaints she hears from her patients these days. They say things like, “It’s just so hard to get out of bed” or “I’ve been misplacing things more often,” she says.

See Fewer People. Take Fewer Showers. – NYT

Some people said they started bathing less during the pandemic. As long as no one complains, they say they plan to keep the new habit.

Published Research

Effect of a Single High Dose of Vitamin D3 on Hospital Length of Stay in Patients With Moderate to Severe COVID-19 – JAMA

Asymptomatic and Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections After BNT162b2 Vaccination in a Routinely Screened Workforce – JAMA

Aerosol generating procedures: are they of relevance for transmission of SARS-CoV-2? – Lancet

The COVID-19 puzzle: deciphering pathophysiology and phenotypes of a new disease entity – Lancet

Estimation of total mortality due to COVID-19 – Healthdata.org

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Vaccine Hesitancy

False stories on vaccine are rampant in an unexpected place – CNN

Covid-19 vaccine misinformation is rampant in an unexpected place: Mommy groups on Facebook. CNN’s Elle Reeve takes a closer

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *