Tulane Outbreak – January 7, 2022

No Omicron immunity without booster, study finds – Harvard Gazette

Researchers found that traditional dosing regimens of COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. don’t produce antibodies capable of recognizing and neutralizing the Omicron variant.

The number of young children admitted to hospitals who test positive is rising fast, the C.D.C. reports – New York Times

The number of young children admitted to the hospital who test positive for the coronavirus rose precipitously last week to the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How omicron’s wave compares to previous coronavirus peaks – Washington Post

The United States continues to see a huge spike in coronavirus cases driven by the omicron variant, with numbers surging to double that of the previous January 2021 peak.

Mexico likely to surpass 300K Covid-19 deaths this week, fifth highest worldwide – NBC News

Mexico has the highest fatality rate — deaths per confirmed cases — among the 20 nations most affected by Covid-19, according to a Johns Hopkins analysis.

Omicron may be less severe in young and old, but not ‘mild’ – WHO – Reuters

The more infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta strain, but should not be categorised as “mild”, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Thursday.

Omicron’s Spread Means More Food Outages at U.S. Grocery Stores – Bloomberg

From farm to fork, every aspect of the food supply chain is under increasing pressure from the latest virus surge

Things seem grim now. But America’s COVID situation could get better in 6-8 weeks – NPR

Things might seem pretty grim on the pandemic front right now. The U.S. is only a few days into the third calendar year of the pandemic and nearly 500,000 new COVID-19 cases are being counted daily.

U.S. Is Open as Canada Shuts Down. The Difference? Their Health Care Systems – Bloomberg

As omicron sweeps through North America, the U.S. and Canadian responses couldn’t be more different. U.S. states are largely open for business, while Canada’s biggest provinces are shutting down.

UK: Study Fails to Prove Masks Work in Schools – Bloomberg

England introduced new mask rules in schools to curb the spread of Covid based on a study that didn’t provide conclusive evidence of their effectiveness, according to a report published by the Department of Education.

UK: More British troops are deployed to help besieged hospitals – New York Times

Further British Army personnel will be sent to help in hospitals this week as the country’s National Health Service struggles with a surge in coronavirus patients and the absence of tens of thousands of health workers, many of whom have contracted the virus themselves.

Ohio: Younger patients with COVID-19 filling Dayton Children’s Hospital beds – Local News

Department of Health and Human Services data reveals Ohio has one of the largest increases of COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations in the nation. Now, Dayton Children’s Hospital is sounding the alarm as they’re experiencing the highest number of children hospitalized to date.

India: India’s death toll may be six times higher than thought – New Scientist

India’s death toll from covid-19 may be six to seven times greater than that officially recorded. The country’s records say that nearly half a million people have died from coronavirus infections so far, but the latest study estimates the real figure is 3.2 million deaths up to July last year.

Mexico: Tourism hot spots see a sharp increase in coronavirus infections – Washington Post

 

Vaccine Headlines

Fourth vaccine dose could be needed in fall, Moderna CEO says – Moderna

The chief executive of vaccine-maker Moderna said Thursday that people are likely to need a second booster dose in the fall, especially front-line workers and those 50 and older, as their antibody levels wane.

Sinopharm protein-based booster stronger against Omicron than earlier shot -study – Reuters

A protein-based COVID-19 vaccine made by Sinopharm, when given as a booster after two doses of an earlier shot from the Chinese firm, elicited a stronger antibody response against the Omicron variant than a third dose of the original, a study showed.

COVID Vaccines Have Slight, Temporary Effects on Menstrual Cycles – MedPageToday

Women who were immunized against COVID-19 experienced a slight, but non-significant, change in the length of their menstrual cycle compared with those who were unvaccinated, according to a retrospective cohort analysis.

Vaccinated Women Pass COVID Antibodies to Breastfeeding Babies – University of Massachusetts

Women vaccinated against COVID-19 transfer SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to their breastfed infants, potentially giving their babies passive immunity against the coronavirus, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research. The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, measured the immune response to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in both breast milk and the stools of breastfed infants.

FDA Shortens Interval for Booster Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to Five Months – FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to shorten the time between the completion of a primary series of the vaccine and a booster dose to at least five months for individuals 18 years of age and older.

South African Study to Compare J&J, Pfizer Covid-19 Boosters – Bloomberg

Researchers have started recruiting South African health workers to take part in a vaccine trial that will compare the use of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. Covid-19 shots as boosters.

Vaccine makers were just beginning to catch up to demand. Then omicron hit. – Washington Post

The omicron variant is scrambling the outlook for global coronavirus vaccine supply in 2022, increasing pressure on vaccine manufacturers to accelerate production to meet surging demand for booster shots and close the gap between rich and poor nations.

Clinical Considerations

Taste Dysfunction May Linger After COVID-19 – MedPageToday

Taste dysfunction may linger after acute COVID-19 infection and may not necessarily be a consequence of olfactory dysfunction, a cross-sectional study in Italy showed.

Official Reporting for January 7, 2022

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update January 6th (latest release)

New Cases: 2,618,130

Confirmed Cases: 296,496,809

Deaths: 5,462,631

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 301,988,217
Deaths: 5,477,779

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 57,898,239 (+705,264 New Cases)
Total deaths: 829,740 (+1,577 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

From delta to omicron, here’s how scientists know which coronavirus variants are circulating in the US – The Conversation

Genomic surveillance provides an early warning system for SARS-CoV-2. The same way a smoke alarm helps firefighters know where a fire is breaking out, genomic surveillance helps public health officials see which coronavirus variants are popping up where.

Why do COVID-19 PCR and antigen tests produce different results? – CBS News

COVID-19 tests are in greater demand than ever, and new data about the Omicron variant can make picking and using different types of tests confusing. Molecular tests for COVID-19, like the “RT-PCR” technology used by many laboratories — known as PCR tests — are widely considered the “gold standard” for spotting the most infections caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Inferring SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding into wastewater relative to time of infection – Cambridge University

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been interest in using wastewater monitoring as an approach for disease surveillance. A significant uncertainty that would improve interpretation of wastewater monitoring data is the intensity and timing with which individuals shed RNA from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into wastewater. By combining wastewater and case surveillance data sets from a university campus during a period of heightened surveillance, we inferred that individual shedding of RNA into wastewater peaks on average six days (50% uncertainty interval (UI): 6 – 7; 95% UI: 4 – 8) following infection, and that wastewater measurements are highly overdispersed (negative binomial dispersion parameter, k = 0.39 (95% credible interval: 0.32 – 0.48)). This limits the utility of wastewater surveillance as a leading indicator of secular trends in SARS-CoV2 transmission during an epidemic, and implies that it could be most useful as an early warning of rising transmission in areas where transmission is low or clinical testing is delayed or of limited capacity.

SARS-CoV-2 Protein Orf6 Suppresses MHC-I And Recognition By Cytotoxic T Cells – Forbes

By coding for viral proteins that block immune detection of microbial threats, SARS-CoV-2 is able to establish infection and proliferate.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Do Antidepressants Reduce Mortality in COVID-19? – Psychiatry Advisor

Fluoxetine and fluvoxamine reduced the relative risk (RR) of mortality in COVID-19 in a study recently published in JAMA Network Open. The objective of the current study was to add to the body of research exploring whether antidepressants might reduce mortality in COVID-19. Previous studies have indicated selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduce proinflammatory cytokines and inhibit the acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide system, which could impact a SARS-CoV-2 infection

Published Research

Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK : 6 January 2022 – UK National Statistics

Association Between Menstrual Cycle Length and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Comprehensive Chemosensory Psychophysical Evaluation of Self-reported Gustatory Dysfunction in Patients With Long-term COVID-19 – JAMA

Rapid Diagnostic Testing for SARS-CoV-2 – NEJM

Neutralizing Antibodies and Cytokines in Breast Milk After Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) mRNA Vaccination – Obstetrics & Gynecology

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

COVID-19 vaccines for children: How parents are influenced by misinformation, and how they can counter it – The Conversation

Since COVID-19 vaccines became available for children ages 5 to 11 in early November 2021, many families have been lining up to get their school-age kids vaccinated prior to holiday travel and gatherings.

Coping with COVID

 

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