Tulane Outbreak – October 1, 2021

Featured Headlines

Covid is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of people in urban areas – NBC News

Rural Americans are dying of Covid at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated.

U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 700,000 Despite Wide Availability of Vaccines – NYT

The latest Covid-19 deaths were concentrated in the South, and included younger people than before. Every age group under 55 saw its highest death toll of the pandemic this August.

Australia to reopen border after 18-month Covid travel ban – NBC News

The island nation will allow some international travel starting next month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday, as it moves away from the strict “zero-Covid” strategy.

OP ED: On the front lines, here’s what the seven stages of severe COVID-19 look like – Los Angeles Times

I’m a respiratory therapist. With the fourth wave of the pandemic in full swing, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, the trajectory of the patients I see, from admission to critical care, is all too familiar. When they’re vaccinated, their COVID-19 infections most likely end after Stage 1. If only that were the case for everyone. Get vaccinated. If you choose not to, here’s what to expect if you are hospitalized for a serious case of COVID-19.

U.S. Judge upholds COVID-19 vaccine requirement for those with ‘natural immunity’ – Reuters

A U.S. judge upheld the University of California’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement against a challenge by a professor who alleged he had immunity due to a prior coronavirus infection, in what appears to be the first ruling on the issue.

Messy, incomplete U.S. data hobbles pandemic response – Washington Post

The contentious and confusing debate in recent weeks over coronavirus booster shots has exposed a fundamental weakness in the United States’ ability to respond to a public health crisis: The data is a mess.

Why Are Highly Vaxxed Colleges Implementing Strict COVID Policies? – MedPageToday

Vaccinated college students at many elite schools are the subject of an ongoing experiment — a screening study, in fact. Every week, or twice a week, depending on the school, they are asked to take a test for SARS-CoV-2. If positive, they have to quarantine, and if enough kids test positive, the entire school or campus has an escalation of restrictions. This experiment is being run at several schools across the country, but notably not others. Sadly, this experiment is not technically research. It did not receive institutional review board approval, and the primary purpose is not to track whether it works. Instead it has simply been mandated by the colleges. Also regrettably, it does not have a clear control arm.

Chinese Citizen Journalist Who Documented Covid-19 in Wuhan Resurfaces After 600 Days – WSJ

Chen Qiushi, whose viral videos offered a rare view from the coronavirus epicenter, reappeared on Twitter and YouTube but offered few details of his disappearance

South America Gets Covid Break From Vaccines After Deadly Wave – Bloomberg

South America, exceptionally hard-hit by Covid-19, is seeing a sudden drop in cases and deaths, apparently from rapid and thorough vaccines on the heels of a horrific wave that provided antibodies to those it didn’t kill.

China Is Building a Chain of Giant Covid Quarantine Centers – Bloomberg

China is asking city governments to create specialized quarantine facilities that can house thousands of overseas arrivals, as the country continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to keeping out Covid-19.

Vaccine Headlines

Merck and Ridgeback’s Investigational Oral Antiviral Molnupiravir Reduced the Risk of Hospitalization or Death by Approximately 50 Percent Compared to Placebo for Patients with Mild or Moderate COVID-19 in Positive Interim Analysis of Phase 3 Study – Merck

At the Interim Analysis, 7.3 Percent of Patients Who Received Molnupiravir Were Hospitalized Through Day 29, Compared With 14.1 Percent of Placebo-Treated Patients Who were Hospitalized or Died

More U.S. parents are willing to vaccinate their children, a survey finds. – NYT

A new survey found that more parents were willing to vaccinate their children in mid-September than were willing to do so in July, a shift that coincided with schools reopening in the middle of a wave of hospitalizations and deaths caused by the highly contagious Delta.

People Are Getting Moderna ‘Boosters’ Anyway – MedPageToday

Several sources have told MedPage Today that they’ve received a “booster” shot of Moderna, even though the vaccine isn’t yet authorized for this indication. These are people who don’t fit the specific criteria for being immunocompromised that would qualify them for a third dose of the vaccine. Some of them are over 65 but didn’t get their primary series with Pfizer. The majority got their shots at a pharmacy, not in a doctor’s office.

Real-World Evidence Shows Pfizer Vax Works Against Delta in Teens – MedPageToday

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) was effective against the Delta variant among adolescents ages 12 to 15 in the month following vaccination, a real-world case-control study from Israel found.

For People Who Got The J&J Vaccine, Some Doctors Are Advising Boosters ASAP – NPR

Last week, a panel of scientists and doctors met to discuss the Pfizer booster vaccine. Specifically, the goal was to advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about who needs a third shot. The agency ultimately recommended anyone age 65 and over should get one as well as people who live in long-term care facilities or people ages 50 to 64, who have underlying health conditions.

Clinical Considerations

Vitamin A Is Being Studied In The U.K. As A Potential Treatment To Covid Smell Loss – Forbes

Research from Germany suggests vitamin A nose drops can help people recover from one of the main symptoms of Covid-19, smell loss.


Metoprolol in Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 – Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Two studies tie long COVID-19 to severe initial illness – CIDRAP

Two new studies, one in China and one in the United Kingdom, detail persistent COVID-19 symptoms months to a year after acute illness.

Official Reporting for October 1, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update September 28th (latest release)

New Cases: 354,168

Confirmed Cases: 233,503,524

Deaths: 4,777,503

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 234,023,858
Deaths: 4,788,096

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 43,289,203 (+111,086 New Cases)
Total deaths: 694,701 (+2,008 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Close cousins of SARS-CoV-2 found in a cave in Laos yield new clues about pandemic’s origins – Science

When SARS-CoV-2 was discovered in early 2020, some researchers initially suspected it might have been engineered in a laboratory and accidentally escaped, in part because a region of the viral surface protein that latches onto human cellular receptors had an uncanny fit. “It looked kind of strange, right?” says Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney. “People were saying, well, maybe that’s been selected in a lab.”

REGEN-COV lowers risk of COVID-19 hospital stay, death by 71% – CIDRAP

Regeneron’s combination of two monoclonal antibodies lowered the risk of COVID-19–associated hospitalization and death from any cause by 71% and resolved symptoms and reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral load faster than a placebo, a phase 3 clinical trial finds.

How Accurate Are At-Home Covid Tests? – NYT

When used correctly, many at-home rapid tests are good at detecting people carrying high levels of the virus.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

How Covid Is Transforming the $380 Billion Luxury Fashion Industry – Bloomberg

In the premiere episode of The Business of Fashion, we meet cutting-edge designers as they prepare for the sector’s post-pandemic reality.

Published Research

The origins of viruses: discovery takes time, international resources, and cooperation – Lancet

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Combat Misinformation With ‘Psychological Herd Immunity’ – MedPageToday

Much like with an actual vaccine, people need to be “inoculated” against healthcare misinformation and disinformation prior to exposure, according to an expert panel. While fact-checking and debunking misinformation can help lessen the damage after the fact, the most effective treatment is prevention, as in “pre-bunking,” said Sander van der Linden, PhD, of the University of Cambridge in England, at a session at virtual IDWeek, the annual joint meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, HIV Medicine Association, and Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.

Facebook groups promoting ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment continue to flourish. – NYT

Facebook has become more aggressive at enforcing its coronavirus misinformation policies in the past year. But the platform remains a popular destination for people discussing how to acquire and use ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms, even though the Food and Drug Administration has warned people against taking it to treat Covid-19.

Coping with COVID


Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga sing an ode to COVID

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