As the delta variant fuels a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert says the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, and a vaccine booster may be needed.
The Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease even as nations loosen restrictions and open their economies, according to virologists and epidemiologists.
A rapid rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations in parts of the country with lagging vaccination rates is causing alarm.
Getting COVID-19 when you’re vaccinated isn’t the same as getting COVID-19 when you’re unvaccinated. A new dichotomy has begun dogging the pandemic discourse. With the rise of the über-transmissible Delta variant, experts are saying you’re either going to get vaccinated, or going to get the coronavirus.
Here we go again. The United States is now experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19, with very rapidly rising infections. The surge in new daily cases is driven by the Delta variant, which makes up 83% of sequenced samples in the U.S. and which is estimated to be twice as transmissible as the original strain. One of the reasons that Delta spreads more easily is that a person infected with this variant has a viral load 1,000 times higher than someone infected with the original version of SARS-CoV-2.
The Biden administration is keeping foreign travel restrictions in place amid concern about rising Covid-19 case levels as the delta variant spreads, a White House official said Monday.
Employees who provide direct patient care have eight weeks to get inoculated against the coronavirus or face penalties including possible removal.
As many as 60% of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have gone unreported, and the coronavirus has infected nearly 1 in 5 Americans, according to a new model out of the University of Washington.
Those who don’t show proof of Covid-19 vaccination must get tested weekly as officials aim to slow rising coronavirus infections among the unvaccinated.
More than 50 prominent medical organizations Monday called for all health-care employers and long-term care facilities to require Covid-19 vaccinations for their entire staffs.
The weekend’s anti-lockdown protests in Sydney were “selfish and self-defeating,” Australia’s prime minister said Sunday, as governments around the world tightened restrictions again to fight the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Federal regulators have requested that vaccine companies expand their trials to test coronavirus shots in several thousand school-aged children before seeking authorization — a move intended to assess whether a rare inflammation of the heart muscle that has been seen in young adults shortly after vaccination is more common in younger age groups.
Antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech’s (SVA.O) COVID-19 vaccine decline below a key threshold from around six months after a second dose for most recipients, although a third shot could have a strong boosting effect, according to a lab study.
Most people with allergic reactions to the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine from either Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech or Moderna (MRNA.O) can safely receive the second dose, a new study shows. The rates of allergic reactions to these vaccines have been reported to be as high as 2%, with anaphylaxis, the most serious kind, occurring in up to 2.5 of every 10,000 vaccine recipients, the researchers said.
Transplant physicians have worried for months that their patients might not be getting the protection they need from COVID-19 vaccines. Studies have already shown that many organ recipients don’t produce coronavirus-fighting antibodies even after two doses of the highly effective messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines—an indication their bodies are unable to mount a strong defense against SARS-CoV-2. A study out today indicates this lack of antibodies is indeed translating to a much higher risk of “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated transplant recipients.
Official Reporting for July 27, 2021
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 194,080,019
Confirmed Cases: 194,890,998
Total cases: 34,413,532 (+11,949 New Cases)
Total deaths: 608,528 (+45 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
As the coronavirus sweeps across the globe in relentless waves, a succession of more-infectious strains has washed up. So far delta, the variant first reported in India in October, is the most worrisome. About twice as transmissible as the original virus that emerged in late 2019, delta combines a multitude of genetic features that have enabled it to pierce public-health defenses to stoke severe epidemics and trigger fresh rounds of movement restrictions or delay planned easings of them.
More than a year and a half into the pandemic, researchers are beginning to get a handle on how the coronavirus makes people sick and what to do about it. That includes some valuable lessons about what doesn’t work. Now the trick is to find drugs or therapies that do work, especially for people who aren’t sick enough to go to the hospital. Early treatment may limit transmission of the virus and keep people out of overburdened hospitals.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
The public health messaging about masks in the US wasn’t always definitive, as we noted last year. Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly switched from discouraging mask-wearing to encouraging it. It quickly became clear that masks were a key component in slowing the spread of the virus until treatments or a vaccine arrived.
As coronavirus cases surge again across the United States, many inoculated people are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who they say are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories.
Coronavirus disease and the cardiovascular system: a narrative review of the mechanisms of injury and management implications – Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
The article that appeared online on Feb. 9 began with a seemingly innocuous question about the legal definition of vaccines. Then over its next 3,400 words, it declared coronavirus vaccines were “a medical fraud” and said the injections did not prevent infections, provide immunity or stop transmission of the disease. Instead, the article claimed, the shots “alter your genetic coding, turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.” Its assertions were easily disprovable. No matter. Over the next few hours, the article was translated from English into Spanish and Polish. It appeared on dozens of blogs and was picked up by anti-vaccination activists, who repeated the false claims online. The article also made its way to Facebook, where it reached 400,000 people.
There are almost as many reasons for vaccine hesitancy and refusal as there are unvaccinated Americans. But this problem, not the variant, lies at the root of rising infection rates.
Coping with COVID
My son and I took on what seemed like a simple project: fold one origami crane every day during the pandemic. Together, we discovered over the year how making art helps people bear the unbearable.
After the president of Tajikstan’s sister died in the hospital reportedly of covid-19, her three sons attacked and beat up the country’s health minister and a senior doctor, according to local media.