The location of early coronavirus infections in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, suggests the virus probably spread to humans from a market where wild and domestically farmed animals were sold and butchered, according to a peer-reviewed article published Thursday in the journal Science that is the latest salvo in the debate over how the pandemic began. [Related article in Science]
Almost two years after Covid-19 touched off the worst pandemic in more than a century, scientists have yet to determine its origins. The closest related viruses to SARS-CoV-2 were found in bats some 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease erupted in late 2019. Initially, cases were tied to a fresh food market and possibly the wildlife sold there. An investigation in early 2021 highlighted the possibility that certain mammals acted as a vector, transferring the virus from bats to humans. More politically charged theories allege the virus accidentally escaped from a nearby research laboratory, or entered China from another country via imported frozen food. Amid all the posturing, governments and scientists agree that deciphering the creation story is key to reducing the risk of future pandemics.
On Wednesday, the country reported a record 522 coronavirus patients hospitalized with moderate to serious symptoms requiring intensive care, intubation or oxygen to help with breathing. It tallied 3,187 new infections the same day, the second-highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
“What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted.” As cases of Covid-19 rise throughout the U.S., health officials warn that an increasing number of fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized or going to the emergency room. The concern about waning immunity against severe Covid infection comes as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster shot for all adults 18 and older.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,254 virus deaths, up 1,251 on Thursday and 1,247 on Wednesday. The task force also reported 37,156 new confirmed cases. The daily new infections in recent weeks appear to have taken a downward trend but still remain higher than during previous surges of the virus.
Chicago is facing a surge of Covid-19 cases ahead of the holiday season, Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said Thursday.
German lawmakers approved tighter Covid restrictions on Thursday, a day after the head of the national agency responsible for monitoring the pandemic warned of a “really bad Christmas” and said that the coronavirus had again become a countrywide emergency.
The secretary of the Army has issued a memo warning the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in its National Guard that if they decline to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, they may not be renewed in the guard.
Winter has a way of bringing out the worst of the coronavirus. Last year, the season saw a record surge that left nearly 250,000 Americans dead and hospitals overwhelmed around the country. This year, we are much better prepared, with effective vaccines—and, soon, powerful antivirals—that defang the coronavirus, but cases seem to be on the rise again, prompting fears of another big surge.
One of the most frightening aspects of COVID-19 now seems to be the potential that symptoms could linger after an infection. What is my risk of having long COVID-19 if I become infected? And does being vaccinated change that?
Austria on Friday became the first country in Europe to say it would mandate that its whole population be vaccinated against coronavirus as it reimposed a nationwide lockdown to battle a surge in cases.
In the spring of 2020, the CEO of Enochian BioSciences and professor at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine told The Hill that the following fall could see another wave, and it would likely be “more virulent.” He’s also spoken out about the need to equally distribute resources when it comes to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for a globally “coordinated response.”
The FDA on Thursday granted emergency use authorization for a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which had already been available to people 65 and older and to anyone 18 years and older who is at elevated risk of contracting COVID-19.
As many as 1.6 million people in the U.S. may have chronic olfactory dysfunction because of SARS-CoV-2, a new analysis suggested. Based on new daily cases of COVID-19, acute incidence of COVID olfactory problems, and rates of recovery, more than 700,000 people — and possibly up to 1.6 million — may have chronic olfactory dysfunction lasting 6 months or longer, reported Jay Piccirillo, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and co-authors.
Official Reporting for November 19, 2021
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update November 16th (latest release)
New Cases: 555,946
Confirmed Cases: 254,847,065
Confirmed Cases: 256,279,320
Total cases: 47,352,367 (+107,933 New Cases)
Total deaths: 764,473 (+1,301 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
About 70,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with COVID-19 each and every day. It’s clear that these new cases are being driven by the more-infectious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But why does the Delta variant spread more easily than other viral variants from one person to the next?
A team led by Rommie Amaro of the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), has used the Summit supercomputer at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to model an aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 viral particle for the first time.
Some testers gently swab the front of your nostril and send you on your way. Others dig deep, bringing the pain. What’s the gold standard?
Lung autopsy and plasma samples from people who died of COVID-19 have provided a clearer picture of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads and damages lung tissue. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health and their collaborators say the information, published in Science Translational Medicine, could help predict severe and prolonged COVID-19 cases, particularly among high-risk people, and inform effective treatments.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Traveling has always come with complications, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it more challenging than ever. Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see your question answered?
Dissecting the early COVID-19 cases in Wuhan – Science
Lung epithelial and endothelial damage, loss of tissue repair, inhibition of fibrinolysis, and cellular senescence in fatal COVID-19 – Science
COVID-19 targets human adrenal glands – The Lancet
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
The claim: Children are 50 times more likely to die from the COVID-19 vaccine than the virus.
After months of waiting for Food and Drug Administration authorization, children are next in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines. But some on social media claim they may be better off unvaccinated.
Coping with COVID