Case incidence, hospital admissions, and in-hospital mortality all increased during the second wave of COVID-19 in South Africa, when the Beta variant (B.1.351) was predominant, researchers found in a prospective cohort study.
A pre-print uploaded to MedRxiv described a Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak involving the Delta variant at an outdoor wedding near Houston, Texas. The outbreak, which occurred in April, showed that while the available Covid-19 vaccines can offer good protection against Covid-19, the protection is not perfect. As long as the pandemic is continuing, it is better to maintain multiple layers of Covid-19 precautions when you can. [link to pre-print]
Australia and China are building facilities to house international travelers that experts say will be more effective at stopping the virus from leaking out. In early May, two people quarantined in adjacent hotel rooms in the Australian city of Adelaide opened their doors within seconds of each other to collect meals. Health authorities believe that could have been enough for the virus to spread from a man in one of the hotel rooms to a man in the other via airborne transmission.
Social-distancing rules were tightened in Bangkok, Seoul and parts of Vietnam as the more easily transmitted delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread. Tokyo entered its fourth state of emergency and Sydney had a 45% spike in daily cases. In the U.S., which still leads the world in total infections and deaths, there was another bad sign as confirmed cases soared 47% in one week, the largest such rise since April 2020.
Over the past week, states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents have reported an average Covid-19 case rate that is about a third of that in states which have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The patient came to the hospital because she was repeatedly falling down. She was breathing fine, and her blood oxygen levels were good. But tests showed that the 90-year-old Belgian woman had COVID-19 — and not just one strain, but two variants of the virus. She died at the hospital in just five days after her respiratory system rapidly deteriorated.
Global vaccinations of seafarers are going too slowly to prevent outbreaks on ships from causing more trade disruptions, endangering maritime workers and potentially slowing economies trying to pull out of pandemic slowdowns.
In the quest to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic began, one persistent mystery is an Italian woman who researchers say they can no longer find. Members of a World Health Organization-led team studying the origins of the virus want to investigate the case of a 25-year-old Milan resident who in November 2019 visited a hospital with a sore throat and skin lesions: symptoms of a disease that wouldn’t be discovered in the city of Wuhan in China for another month. She left behind a skin sample, smaller than a dime, that in two tests conducted more than six months later yielded traces of the Covid-19 virus, according to research published in January by the British Journal of Dermatology.
The FDA is requiring vaccine maker Johnson & Johnson to put a new warning label on its COVID-19 vaccine. The warning concerns an increased risk of a rare neurological disorder in the 42 days following vaccination. The single-dose vaccine has experienced production problems. It was also paused in April after a few recipients developed a rare cases of blood clots.
Many people, including me, have experienced a sense of gratitude and relief after receiving the new COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. But all of us are also wondering how long the vaccines will remain protective against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
Earlier this year, clinical trials of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines indicated that both immunizations appeared to protect for at least six months. Now, a study in the journal Nature provides some hopeful news that these mRNA vaccines may be protective even longer .
The link between the rare neurological disorder and the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine may be real, but the risk appears to be very small.
Of the 12.5 million Americans who received this vaccine, about 100 people reported having GBS in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Of these reports, 95 of them were serious and required hospitalization, and there was one reported death, an FDA official said.
After meeting with company representatives, officials said the decision would depend partly on data on infections in vaccinated people that cause serious disease or hospitalization.
An adjuvant developed with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has contributed to the success of the Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine, which roughly 25 million people have already received in India and elsewhere.
Thailand will use AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a second dose for those who received a first dose of China’s Sinovac shot after hundreds of fully vaccinated medical workers caught the disease, the country’s health minister announcedMonday, marking another country to move away from the Chinese-made shot as concerns over its efficacy continue to grow.
Russia signed a deal with the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer to boost annual production of Sputnik V coronavirus shots by 300 million doses in India, as the South Asian nation struggles with supplies.
Low testosterone levels in men with symptomatic COVID-19 were associated with a greater risk of severe illness or death, according to Italian researchers. Their case-control study found that, among men admitted to the emergency department of a Milan Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic, the lower the level of testosterone the higher the likelihood they would need intensive care, intubation, and long hospital stays.
Official Reporting for July 13, 2021
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 186,821,815
Confirmed Cases: 187,438,000
Total cases: 33,672,474 (+4,035 New Cases)
Total deaths: 604,710 (+37 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
In two recent studies, researchers using the Advanced Photon Source have identified existing drugs that may inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
They are used to far greater independence. And they may value personal time more. Bosses better be ready to adapt.
In many ways, American life is returning to normalcy: Masks are no longer required in many locations, schools and universities are slated to reopen and the days of social distancing have begun to fade as concerts and sporting events bring spectators back.
Predicted dominance of variant Delta of SARS-CoV-2 before Tokyo Olympic Games, Japan, July 2021 – Eurosurveillance
Persistent symptoms in adult patients one year after COVID-19: a prospective cohort study – Clinical Infectious Diseases
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
For a sterling example of Facebook-induced ire, I direct your attention to this recent MedPage Today essay by Dr. Vinay Prasad. In his piece, Dr. Prasad takes issue with Facebook’s selection of scientific advisors of HealthFeedback.org for fact-checking COVID-19 information.
Coping with COVID
Last week, NPR wrote about a global photo project from anthropologist Paula Zuccotti. She asked people to send her photos of the items that are helping them cope during the pandemic. Their responses offer a quick, deep dive into their lives.