Tulane Outbreak – August 20, 2021

Upcoming Online Events

COVID-19: Where are we now? – Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

When: Wednesday, September 1, 2021 – 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Register: This Link

Featured Headlines

Israel, Once the Model for Beating Covid, Faces New Surge of Infections – NYT

One of the most vaccinated societies, Israel now has one of the highest infection rates in the world, raising questions about the vaccine’s efficacy.

Israeli doctors find severe COVID-19 breakthrough cases mostly in older, sicker patients – Reuters

In Israel’s COVID-19 wards, doctors are learning which vaccinated patients are most vulnerable to severe illness, amid growing concerns about instances in which the shots provide less protection against the worst forms of the disease.

Australia records new COVID-19 highs – AP

Australia’s two most populous states on Thursday recorded new benchmark highs in COVID-19 infections. New South Wales reported a record 681 cases in the latest 24-hour period, mostly in Sydney. The previous record for the most populous state was 633 cases set on Wednesday.

Covid Isn’t Going Away. So What Now? – NYT

OPINION The 1918 influenza pandemic, the deadliest pandemic in modern history, is typically associated with a single year, but it actually lasted for more than two. The virus that caused it is thought to have emerged in the United States in January of that year, and it claimed its tens of millions of victims quickly. By the summer of 1919, the worst was over. But in some parts of the world, the pandemic dragged on into the spring of 1920, cresting in a fourth wave that killed more people in New York City than the first did.

‘Bracing for the worst’ in Florida’s COVID-19 hot zone – AP

As quickly as one COVID patient is discharged, another waits for a bed in northeast Florida, the hot zone of the state’s latest surge. But the patients at Baptist Health’s five hospitals across Jacksonville are younger and getting sick from the virus faster than people did last summer.

New SARS-CoV-2 variants have changed the pandemic. What will the virus do next? – Science

Edward Holmes does not like making predictions, but last year he hazarded a few. Again and again, people had asked Holmes, an expert on viral evolution at the University of Sydney, how he expected SARS-CoV-2 to change. In May 2020, 5 months into the pandemic, he started to include a slide with his best guesses in his talks. The virus would probably evolve to avoid at least some human immunity, he suggested. But it would likely make people less sick over time, he said, and there would be little change in its infectivity. In short, it sounded like evolution would not play a major role in the pandemic’s near future.

Those Anti-Covid Plastic Barriers Probably Don’t Help and May Make Things Worse – NYT

Clear barriers have sprung up at restaurants, nail salons and school classrooms, but most of the time, they do little to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 vaccines may trigger superimmunity in people who had SARS long ago – Science
Former SARS patients who have been vaccinated against #COVID19 appear able to fend off all variants of #SARSCoV2 in circulation, as well as ones that may soon emerge, a new study suggests.

New Zealand Lockdown Extended – Bloomberg

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a nationwide lockdown by four days after an outbreak of the delta strain of coronavirus spread outside largest city Auckland.

Japan’s Virus Cases Hit a Record as Hospitals Are Overwhelmed – Bloomberg

Japan is facing its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic, as cases spiral out of control and strain the limits of the nation’s health care system.

Alabama Hospitals Have Run Out Of ICU Beds As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Alabama hospitals have run out of ICU beds as COVID-19 cases spike there, putting a renewed strain on the state’s health care system. There were negative 29 intensive care unit beds available on Wednesday night, according to the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health. That means there were 29 more patients in need of ICU care than there were beds available.

Hong Kong Recovery Imperiled by Elderly Saying No to Vaccine – Bloomberg

Unlike the U.S. where anti-vaccine fringe groups have fueled resistance to Covid shots, Hong Kong is facing a different challenge. Most of the city’s elderly are reluctant to get inoculated, and some point to an unlikely source for the hesitancy: their doctors.

Surging Delta Cases Reverse the World’s March Back to the Office – Bloomberg

The spread of the delta variant has forced many U.S. employers that had been hoping to get staff back to their desks after Labor Day to delay those plans until at least October—or even next year.

Vaccine Headlines

Third Pfizer Vaccine Dose Shown To Be 86% Effective In Preventing Covid Among The Elderly – Forbes

“The triple dose is the solution to curbing the current infection outbreak,” says one doctor of the data from a top Israeli healthcare provider.

The Science Supporting the U.S. Case for COVID Boosters – MedPageToday

Three MMWR studies, Mayo Clinic data, and unpublished CDC data prop up need for third dose. U.S. health officials laid out the scientific rationale for a third dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for all U.S. adults on Wednesday, relying on published and unpublished CDC data, as well as a preprint study.

U.S. officials reviewing possibility Moderna vaccine is linked to higher risk of uncommon side effect than previously thought – Washington Post

Federal health officials are investigating emerging reports that the Moderna coronavirus vaccine may be associated with a higher risk of a heart condition called myocarditis in younger adults than previously believed, according to two people familiar with the review who emphasized the side effect still probably remains uncommon.

Do I need a booster if I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? – MedPageToday

Do I need a booster if I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Probably at some point, but health officials still are collecting the data needed to decide.

Clinical Considerations

How does COVID-19 affect the brain? A troubling picture emerges. – National Geographic

Researchers find that people who only suffered mild infections can be plagued with life-altering and sometimes debilitating cognitive deficits.

Official Reporting for August 20, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update August 19, 2021 (latest release)

New Cases: 666,959

Confirmed Cases: 209,201,939

Deaths: 4,390,467

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 210,224,392
Deaths: 4,407,917

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 37,259,886 (+157,694 New Cases)
Total deaths: 623,244 (+1,054 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

How CDC data problems put the U.S. behind on the delta variant – Washington Post

Critics say the CDC’s failure to share real-time data led to overly rosy assessments of vaccine effectiveness — and complacency on the part of many Americans

AstraZeneca Antibody Drug Found to Prevent Symptomatic Covid-19 in Trial – WSJ

AstraZeneca PLC said Friday it would seek regulatory approval for an antibody drug after a study showed strong efficacy in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, offering a potential new alternative to vaccines for people who refuse shots or for whom they aren’t effective.

Meet the Scientist Couple Driving the mRNA Revolution – TED Talk Video

As COVID-19 spread, BioNTech cofounders Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci had one goal: to make a safe, effective vaccine faster than ever before. In this illuminating conversation with head of TED Chris Anderson, the immunologists (and married couple) share the fascinating story of how their decades of mRNA research powered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — and forecast what this breakthrough science could mean for the future of vaccines and other immunotherapy treatments.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

The Topic Of Masks In Schools Is Polarizing Some Parents To The Point Of Violence – NPR

During a back-to-school event this week, an angry parent ripped a mask off a teacher’s face. Others yelled at a teacher who was wearing a mask, saying they could not understand her while her face was covered. Leonard had to write a note asking people to “be kind” to educators.

Calif. Medical Board: Stop Issuing Bogus Mask Exemptions to Students – MedPageToday

Agency threatens discipline amid reports some doctors are selling back-to-school exemptions

Published Research

New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Among Adults, by Vaccination Status — New York, May 3–July 25, 2021 – CDC

Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Nursing Home Residents Before and During Widespread Circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant — National Healthcare Safety Network, March 1–August 1, 2021 – CDC

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Self-proclaimed ‘Vaccine Police’ tells Walmart pharmacists they ‘could be executed’ for administering shots – Washington Post

By the time Christopher Key and his half-dozen followers reached the Springfield, Mo., Walmart pharmacy counter on Monday evening, the metal shutters were nearly fully drawn. An Alabama-based anti-vaxxer who has gained a following online — where he spreads false information about the coronavirus pandemic, Key was on a mission to give the pharmacists inoculating shoppers a warning.

Seven Cognitive Distortions Poisoning COVID Debates – MedPageToday

COVID-19 cases are climbing and sanity is declining. Here are seven cognitive distortions I routinely see when it comes to talking about SARS-CoV-2.

Coping with COVID

Not my farm, or photo, but somehow appropriate for this week and COVID.

Way back in winter 2020 I was writing in this section about ordering flower seeds, and I wanted to grow all of the flowers because COVID had us locked up and it sucked. Well, here we are in August 2021, COVID still sucks, but look what I did with all of those flower seeds! First year flower farmer, and loving it!

This is my farm, and my photo! I cut flowers weekly, and this was my haul for the week. That’s lavender in the upper right corner. We planted over 500 lavender plants this spring, along with the flowers. We also planted a vineyard.

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