Tulane Outbreak Daily – May 11, 2021

Featured Headlines

A coronavirus variant first found in India is now officially a ‘variant of concern,’ the W.H.O. said – NYT

Amid a deepening crisis in India, the World Health Organization announced Monday that it had designated the B.1.617 variant, which has been growing more common in the country, as a variant of concern. Scientists still don’t know much about the variant yet, but they are worried that it may be helping to fuel the rise in the nation’s coronavirus infections, which experts say are likely undercounted.

Washington State Seeing A 4th Wave Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations – NPR

While much of the U.S. celebrates declining COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations, the opposite is true in Washington state, where the governor is extending mandates and restrictions.

DR Congo in race against time to vaccinate people – BBC

“There are some false rumours circulating, that the vaccine is fake, that it will make us sterile. There are people who think that,” she says, disbelievingly. “I tell the people to come and get vaccinated – it is protecting yourself and protecting others, your family, the entire nation.”

China will partition Mount Everest’s summit to reduce coronavirus risk – NYT

China said on Sunday that it had taken steps to prevent coronavirus cases from entering the country — over the top of the world’s tallest mountain.

New York Offers Free Subway Rides And Yankees Games For The Vaccinated – Forbes

As they grapple with a nationwide decline in demand for the coronavirus vaccine, cities and states are coming up with creative ways to persuade residents to roll up their sleeves for the jab.

First fully vaccinated flight carries passengers from Florida to New York – NBC

NBC News’ Kerry Sanders joined passengers on the very first fully vaccinated flight, which departed from Florida to New York. For many, the flight meant a long-awaited reunion with family members they haven’t seen in more than a year.

Will My Sense Of Smell Ever Return? Olfactory Insights From COVID And Beyond – NPR

About 25 years ago, after a particularly bad cold, I suddenly lost my sense of smell — I could no longer sense the difference between sweaty tennis shoes and a fragrant rose. Since then, my olfactory discernment comes and goes, and most of the time it’s just gone. I always figured there wasn’t much I could do about that, and it hasn’t been terrible. My taste buds still work, and I adore fine chocolate.

A potentially fatal fungal infection is cropping up among India’s Covid patients – NYT

Doctors in India are concerned about an increasing number of potentially fatal fungal infections affecting either people who have Covid-19 or those who have recently recovered from the disease.

Hugs with loved ones as PM confirms England’s biggest step back to normal – BBC

Boris Johnson said this was the “single biggest step” to unlocking society but that people should remain vigilant.
School Reopenings ‘Substantially’ Increased Covid-19 Spread In Texas, Economic Study Finds – Forbes

School reopenings in Texas “gradually but substantially accelerated” the spread of Covid-19 in the fall and resulted in thousands of additional cases and hundreds of deaths, new research from economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests, diverging from past studies that found school reopenings do not have a large effect on Covid-19 transmission.

Taiwan to quarantine pilots of its largest airline amid COVID-19 outbreak – Reuters

Taiwan will quarantine all pilots for its largest carrier China Airlines Ltd for 14 days as it tries to stop an outbreak of COVID-19, the health minister said on Monday, impacting a lifeline for the island’s trade-dependent economy.

Vaccine Headlines

FDA OKs Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For 12-15 Age Group – NPR

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive a key COVID-19 vaccine as the agency expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Study to determine how COVID-19 vaccine affects people with ‘Long COVID’ – Yale News

A team of Yale School of Medicine researchers is launching a study to determine the effect of vaccination on people with persistent symptoms months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, which has been termed “Long COVID.”

New Vaccine Blocks COVID-19 and Variants, Plus Other Coronaviruses – Duke News

A potential new vaccine developed by members of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute has proven effective in protecting monkeys and mice from a variety of coronavirus infections — including SARS-CoV-2 as well as the original SARS-CoV-1 and related bat coronaviruses that could potentially cause the next pandemic.

Post-vaccination Inertia Is Real – The Atlantic

On my kitchen wall hangs a very small and very adorable cat calendar, with May 23 circled in Sharpie. It’s the day my Pfizer vaccine will, at long last, blossom into “full vaccination,” as sanctioned by the CDC. I’ll be able to safely venture outdoors unmasked and skip post-exposure quarantines. I’ll be able to schmooze with other immunized people indoors—perhaps even travel across state lines to visit family members I haven’t hugged since last spring.

Clinical Considerations

The virus is an airborne threat, the C.D.C. acknowledges – NYT

Federal health officials on Friday updated public guidance about how the coronavirus spreads, emphasizing that transmission occurs by inhaling very fine respiratory droplets and aerosolized particles, as well as through contact with sprayed droplets or touching contaminated hands to one’s mouth, nose or eyes.

Official Reporting for May 11, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update May 4, 2021

Confirmed Cases: 157 973 438

Deaths: 3 288 455

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 158,616,506
Deaths: 3,299,447

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 32,543,257 (+24,080 New Cases)
Total deaths: 578,945 (+280 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

How COVID-19 transformed the future of medicine | TED Talk

The pandemic forced the world to work together like never before and, with unprecedented speed, bore a new age of health and medical innovation. Physician-scientist Daniel Kraft explains how breakthroughs and advancements like AI-infused antiviral discoveries and laboratory-level diagnostic tools accessible via smartphones are paving the way for a more democratized, connected and data-driven future of medicine and personalized care.

Bio-Rad Launches Its Reliance SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Assay Kit in Europe – The Scientist

The Reliance SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Kit is a real-time reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) test that can detect nucleic acid in SARS-CoV-2, the virus associated with COVID-19 disease. A version of the assay kit is also available in the United States under an U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA).

SARS-CoV-2 research: Second possible effective mechanism of remdesivir discovered – Science Daily

After infection, SARS-CoV-2 causes the host cell to produce new virus particles and suppresses host cell defence mechanisms. Virus protein nsP3 plays a central role in the latter process. Using structural analyses, researchers have now discovered that a decomposition product of the remdesivir binds to nsP3. This previously unknown effective mechanism may be important for the development of new drugs to combat RNA viruses.

Psychological and Sociological Impact


Published Research

Investigation of a severe SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a long-term care home early in the pandemic – CMAJ

Toward Defining an Immune Correlate of Protection Against SARS-CoV-2 – NEJM

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

California Man Arrested In Suspected Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Card Operation – NPR

A California bar owner has been arrested for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in what’s believed to be the first thwarted scheme of its kind. Undercover agents with the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control bought the bogus cards for $20 each during multiple visits to the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, a small town in San Joaquin County.

The volunteers using ‘honeypot’ groups to fight anti-vax propaganda – BBC

The banner image shows a Photoshopped picture of Bill Gates with a crazed expression holding a needle decorated with a skull and crossbones. It looks like a Facebook group promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

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