Tulane Outbreak – August 27, 2021

Featured Headlines

Sturgis motorcycle rally linked to more than 100 coronavirus infections amid delta variant’s spread – Washington Post

More than 100 coronavirus infections have been linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual event that drew hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts to South Dakota as the virus’s ferocious delta variant spread misery nationwide.

EU to Discuss Reimposing Covid-Related Travel Curbs on U.S. – Bloomberg

The European Union will discuss on Thursday whether to reimpose curbs on visitors from the U.S. as new coronavirus cases soar. The change was recommended by Slovenia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency and is responsible for triggering an assessment of countries allowed non-essential travel there, according to two officials familiar with the plans.

Covid Cases Spike After Sturgis Motorcycle Rally—Again – Forbes

A section of rural South Dakota that hosted hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts earlier this month for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally now has one of the sharpest rises in Covid cases anywhere in the U.S.—a major sign that this year’s motorcycle rally served as a repeat of 2020’s superspreader event.

Thousands of Covid Patients Are Being Turned Away From Japan’s Hospitals – Bloomberg

Japan’s worst Covid-19 outbreak yet has thrown a spotlight on the inability of the country’s otherwise highly regarded medical system to adapt quickly to emergencies and its lack of reform to meet such needs.

Oregon adopts some of the nation’s toughest safety measures as cases rise tenfold – NYT

Facing a tenfold increase in coronavirus hospitalizations since July 9, Oregon leaders have deployed the National Guard to hospitals, dispatched crisis teams to the hardest-hit regions of the state and ordered educators and health care workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.

Why the Delta Variant Is Making Herd Immunity Harder to Reach – Bloomberg

Many countries are counting on vaccines to build sufficient immunity in their populations so that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, isn’t able to find enough people to infect, causing transmission to eventually stop. But even in countries with a high proportion of people inoculated with highly effective vaccines, it’s unclear whether it’s possible to reach the so-called herd immunity threshold anytime soon. Researchers warn that the virus is apt to be circulating among us for a long time, although it’s likely to become a less potent foe.

In Florida, the pandemic is worse now than it has ever been before – NYT

More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the Delta variant rips through the state.

Ardern Extends New Zealand Lockdown, Urges Delta Caution – Bloomberg

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a national lockdown for a further four days as a coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, but said some restrictions outside largest city Auckland will be eased next week.

Florida COVID update: 901 added deaths, largest single-day increase in pandemic history – Miami Herald

Florida on Thursday reported 21,765 more COVID-19 cases and 901 deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Miami Herald calculations of CDC data.

Facing Its Worst Virus Surge, Oregon Returns to Strict Mandates – NYT

The National Guard has been deployed. Health care workers are pleading for help. Now the state is ordering masks for everyone who gathers closely in public, even outdoors.

A new study found half of Covid patients had lingering symptoms one year later – NYT

One year after becoming ill with the coronavirus, nearly half of patients in a large new study were still experiencing at least one lingering health symptom, adding to evidence that recovery from Covid-19 can be arduous and that the multifaceted condition known as “long Covid” can last for months.

U.S. Covid Cases Reach Six-Month High Even as Vaccinations Rise – Bloomberg

New Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have rebounded to more than 100,000 a day on average, returning to the levels of the winter surge six months ago. Weekly cases on Friday passed 750,000, the most since early February, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Almost 135,000 weekly cases were reported in Florida on Friday, a record for a state that makes up about one in five U.S. cases. Louisiana said 1% of its entire population had been infected in the last two weeks as the delta variant spreads, particularly among the unvaccinated.

Vaccine Headlines

Moderna Completes Submission of Biologics License Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 Vaccine – Moderna

Moderna, Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA), a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, today announced it has completed the rolling submission process for its Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the full licensure of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. As part of the completed BLA submission, Moderna has requested Priority Review designation.

Pfizer and BioNTech Initiate Rolling Submission of Supplemental Biologics License Application to FDA for Booster Dose for 16 and older – Pfizer

Pfizer Inc. today announced the initiation of a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the approval of a booster (third) dose of COMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The companies intend to complete submission of the sBLA by the end of this week.

Russia’s Sputnik V protects against severe COVID-19 from Delta variant, study shows – Science

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is holding up well against the Delta variant, a paper posted yesterday on the preprint server medRxiv shows. The study of nearly 14,000 people showed the two-dose vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization with COVID-19 by 81% and helped prevent severe lung injury.

Japan Suspends 1.63 Million Doses Of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Over Contamination – NPR

Japan suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine Thursday after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge.

Clinical Considerations

A new study found half of Covid patients had lingering symptoms one year later – NYT

One year after becoming ill with the coronavirus, nearly half of patients in a large new study were still experiencing at least one lingering health symptom, adding to evidence that recovery from Covid-19 can be arduous and that the multifaceted condition known as “long Covid” can last for months.

Real-World Study Captures Risk of Myocarditis With Pfizer Vax – MedPageToday

The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine was found to be associated with a threefold increased risk of myocarditis, according to a real-world case-control study from Israel.

Blood Clot Risk Much Higher From Covid-19 Than With Vaccines – Bloomberg

Covid-19 patients face a much higher risk of developing blood clots than those vaccinated with AstraZeneca Plc or Pfizer Inc.’s shots, according to a large U.K. study.

How Long Exactly Is Long COVID? – MedPageToday

Almost half of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 early in the pandemic had at least one lingering symptom a year after symptom onset, researchers in Wuhan, China found.

Official Reporting for August 27, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update August 24, 2021 (latest release)

New Cases: 655,952

Confirmed Cases: 213,752,662

Deaths: 4,459,381

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 214,718,823
Deaths: 4,476,525

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 38,341,339 (+164,952 New Cases)
Total deaths: 631,440 (+1,229 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

This Florida Monoclonal Antibody Clinic Is Maxed Out – MedPageToday

Gerald Pierone, MD, gets regular phone calls from COVID-19 patients and their family members, asking for a spot at his monoclonal antibody clinic in Vero Beach, Florida.

Another Monoclonal Antibody Combo Cuts Risk of Severe COVID Outcomes – MedPageToday

A combination monoclonal antibody therapy significantly reduced hospitalization and death versus placebo in COVID-19 patients at high risk of progressing to severe disease, according to interim data from the phase III ACTIV-2 platform trial, which was shared by manufacturer Brii Biosciences on Tuesday.

The animal origin of SARS-CoV-2 – Science

Although first detected in December 2019, COVID-19 was inferred to be present in Hubei province, China, for about a month before (1). Where did this new human disease come from? To understand the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to go back to 2002. At that time a novel respiratory coronavirus appeared in Foshan, Guangdong province, China, and spread to 29 countries (2). Altogether ∼8000 people were infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) before public health measures controlled its spread in 2003. The zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV was subsequently linked to live animals available at markets. Further sporadic spill-over events of SARS-CoV from animals took place in Guangzhou, Guangdong, and some researchers working with cultured virus were infected in laboratory accidents (3), but ultimately SARS-CoV was removed from the human population. Trading of susceptible host animals is an important common theme in the emergence of SARS and COVID-19.

How an oral antiviral drug confuses the replication machinery of SARS-CoV-2 – ASBMB Today

The researchers demonstrated the underlying mechanism of action by which the antiviral drug molnupiravir changes the viral genome, a process known as excessive mutagenesis or error catastrophe.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

More companies are weighing penalties for unvaccinated workers – Washington Post

More companies are considering imposing financial penalties on workers who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine — from added health-care costs to withholding gym access — potentially adding a financial cost in addition to the severe health risks facing the unvaccinated.

Published Research

Durability of mRNA-1273 vaccine–induced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 variants – Science

SARS-CoV-2 mutations may diminish vaccine-induced protective immune responses, particularly as antibody titers wane over time. Here, we assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.429 (Epsilon), B.1.526 (Iota), and B.1.617.2 (Delta) on binding, neutralizing, and ACE2-competing antibodies elicited by the vaccine mRNA-1273 over seven months. Cross-reactive neutralizing responses were rare after a single dose. At the peak of response to the second vaccine dose, all individuals had responses to all variants. Binding and functional antibodies against variants persisted in most subjects, albeit at low levels, for 6-months after the primary series of the mRNA-1273 vaccine. Across all assays, B.1.351 had the lowest antibody recognition. These data complement ongoing studies to inform the potential need for additional boost vaccinations.

Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Setting – NEJM

Pre-approval trials showed that messenger RNA (mRNA)–based vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) had a good safety profile, yet these trials were subject to size and patient-mix limitations. An evaluation of the safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine with respect to a broad range of potential adverse events is needed.

1-year outcomes in hospital survivors with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study – The Lancet

The full range of long-term health consequences of COVID-19 in patients who are discharged from hospital is largely unclear. The aim of our study was to comprehensively compare consequences between 6 months and 12 months after symptom onset among hospital survivors with COVID-19.

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Vaccine conspiracy theorists become even more desperate after full FDA authorization – Washington Post

The claim is that the FDA somehow didn’t really fully authorize the Pfizer vaccine. It’s built on nonsense, experts say. For many months, vaccine skeptics and critics of vaccination mandates have pointed to the fact that the coronavirus vaccines were available only under emergency-use authorizations. So when the Food and Drug Administration this week fully authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, these folks had some accounting to do.

Coping with COVID

In Honor Of National Dog Day, Please Enjoy These Adorable Pups – NPR

Especially during the pandemic our pets have valiantly served as our work-from-home supervisors, jogging buddies, occasional zoom guest stars and all-around best friends.

Yes, these are my pups. My husband calls them “a pack of twits.” Squid is the cranky old man, Ivan is middle aged, and wakes up everyday hoping to see my son (who lives in Germany.) Lisi is anxious, and afraid of everything (she scraped the paint off our front door with her teeth,) Henri is the life of the party.

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