Tulane Outbreak – March 18, 2022

Featured Headlines

Another COVID Wave Is Looming – The Atlantic

About three weeks ago, COVID case rates in the United Kingdom made an abrupt about-face, spurred on by a more transmissible Omicron subvariant called BA.2. (So far, there is no reason to believe the new subvariant causes more severe disease.) Case rates are rising, too, in Switzerland and Greece and Monaco and Italy and France. Given that BA.2 is already present in the United States, The Washington Post reports that epidemiologists and public-health leaders suspect that North America will be next. After all, the paper said, “in the past two years, a widespread outbreak like the one in Europe has been followed by a similar surge in the United States some weeks later.”

How Worried Should You Be About BA.2 or ‘Stealth Omicron’? Here’s What Boston Experts Say – NBC Boston

Three top Boston doctors said this week it remains unclear what effect the BA.2 subvariant will have on the city’s fight against COVID, though they are keeping a close eye on what is happening in other parts of the world.

Fauci Warns of Potential Rise in U.S. Covid Cases as Funding Runs Dry – Bloomberg

The U.S. could soon see Covid-19 cases rise again and vulnerable people are likely to need a fourth vaccine dose, one of President Joe Biden’s top health advisers warned as the White House calls for more money to fight the pandemic.

Why some Americans haven’t gotten COVID yet and why it’s not inevitable they ever will – ABC News

When the omicron wave hit the United States, it spread throughout the country like wildfire. Different models estimate that anywhere from 50% to 75% of Americans had been infected with the variant by the end of the surge.

What Happened to Hong Kong? – The Atlantic

The city was once lauded for controlling the coronavirus’s spread. But this month, it recorded one of the highest death rates in the world.

Isolated and vulnerable amid the covid crisis, some of Hong Kong’s elderly are taking their own lives – Washington Post

The three people who took their own lives on the same day last week in Hong Kong used different methods. One hanged herself with a cotton rope in the cubicle of a public toilet. The other two jumped to their deaths.

South Korea’s coronavirus infection rate soars to one of the world’s highest with omicron-fueled surge – Washington Post

For most of the pandemic, South Korea has been hailed as one of the success stories in managing the coronavirus, but now, the country’s omicron-fueled surge has driven its infection rate to one of the highest in the world.

Vaccine Headlines

Moderna Asks F.D.A. to Authorize a Second Booster for All Adults – NYT

Canada approves Moderna’s vaccine for children ages 6 to 11. Italy is preparing to roll back many of its vaccine requirements.

Moderna Requests FDA Okay for Fourth Covid Shot for Adults – Bloomberg

Moderna Inc. has filed for U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance of a second Covid-19 booster shot for all adults, covering significantly more people than Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s earlier request for emergency authorization for those over 65.

One-Dose J&J COVID Vaccine Quietly Effective Throughout Delta Surge – MedPageToday

Vaccine effectiveness with one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine remained remarkably stable for preventing symptomatic disease and hospitalizations, even during times when the Delta variant was predominant in the U.S., researchers found.

Clinical Considerations

Brain fog: Memory and attention after COVID-19 – Harvard Health

As a neurologist working in the COVID Survivorship Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, I find that my patients all have similar issues. It’s hard to concentrate, they say. They can’t think of a specific word they want to use, and they are uncharacteristically forgetful.

Awake Prone Positioning: Which COVID Patients Benefit? – MedPageToday

Awake prone positioning reduced need for intubation in selected patients with severe COVID-19, a meta-analysis showed. In pooled randomized controlled trials (RCTs), awake prone positioning significantly reduced the need for intubation in COVID-19 patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.72-0.97), according to Jie Li, PhD, of Rush University in Chicago, and colleagues.

Mother-to-Baby COVID-19 Transmission Likely Rare – MedPageToday

New mothers with COVID-19 had a low chance of passing the infection on to their baby, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis. In 472 studies that included over 14,000 babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection, only 1.8% (95% CI 1.2-2.5) tested positive on an RT-PCR test.

ACC Issues Playbook for Long COVID With Cardiac Involvement – MedPage Today

People with long COVID and cardiovascular symptoms may now follow a prescribed path for evaluation and treatment recommended by the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

People with ‘medium COVID’ are caught in a gray area of recovery with little support – NPR

Waves of fatigue. The inability to smell milk that has gone bad. A racing heartbeat. These are just a few COVID-19 symptoms that can linger after an initial coronavirus infection. Though they may not always amount to the debilitating cases of long COVID-19 that can leave people bedridden or unable to perform daily functions, it’s very common to take weeks to fully recover — a condition I’ve been thinking of as “medium COVID.”

Official Reporting for March 15, 2022

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update March 15, 2022 (latest release)

New Cases: 2,096,519

Confirmed Cases: 462,758,117

Deaths: 6,056,725

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 466,221,786
Deaths: 6,067,585

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 79,486,762 (+7,282 New Cases)
Total deaths: 965,336 (+118 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Ivermectin Didn’t Reduce Covid-19 Hospitalizations in Largest Trial to Date – WSJ

Patients who got the antiparasitic drug didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo. Researchers testing repurposed drugs against Covid-19 found that ivermectin didn’t reduce hospital admissions, in the largest trial yet of the effect of the antiparasitic on the disease driving the pandemic.

A New Strategy for Staying One Step Ahead of the Virus – The Atlantic

The hunt for the next big, bad coronavirus variant is on. Scientists around the world are sampling wastewater and amassing nose swabs from the sick; they’re scouring the microbe’s genetic code for alarming aberrations. The world of outbreak surveillance “is all virus,” says Danny Douek, an immunologist at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. We’re laser-focused on getting eyes on a variant that would be well-equipped to wallop us, then alerting the globe. But that, Douek told me, is just one half of the infectious playing field where offense and defense meet.

Lifesaving COVID drugs are sitting unused on pharmacy shelves, HHS data shows – NPR

Even as this winter’s omicron surge recedes, more than 2,000 people in the U.S. still get hospitalized with COVID-19 each day. This population is largely unvaccinated, with medical conditions that increase their risks. Some of these hospitalizations could have been prevented with early COVID treatments, such as pills and monoclonal antibodies, purchased and distributed for free by the government.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

2 years into the pandemic, what have we learned? – MedPageToday

Before March 2020, many people saw pandemics as a thing of the past. Then came COVID-19. Scientists still do not know exactly where the virus that caused it — SARS-CoV-2 — came from, but it soon reached almost every country worldwide. Over 2 years, the virus has evolved, producing several variants. In this Special Feature, we look at the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and ask what lessons scientists have learned.

America Is Zooming Through the Pandemic Panic-Neglect Cycle – The Atlantic

All epidemics trigger the same Sisyphean cycle of panic and neglect. Even so, that cycle isn’t meant to spin this quickly.

Some people aren’t ready to stop masking, but it can be tough to go against the grain – NPR

Like everyone else, Devin Golden is thrilled omicron is in retreat. But he isn’t ready to let down his guard. He’s not even close. “I know a lot of people have stopped wearing their masks,” says Golden, 33, of Palm Bay, Fla. “I still wear my mask almost every time in public and especially indoors.”

Published Research

COVID-19 mortality in Italy varies by patient age, sex and pandemic wave – Nature

Awake prone positioning for non-intubated patients with COVID-19-related acute hypoxaemic respiratory failure: a systematic review and meta-analysis – The Lancet

SARS-CoV-2 positivity in offspring and timing of mother-to-child transmission: living systematic review and meta-analysis – BMJ

Neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 Variants – NEJM

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Misinformation that Omicron is ‘the last COVID-19 variant’ fuelling uptick worldwide: WHO – UN

A combination of factors, including misinformation that the pandemic is over, the lifting of mask mandates, ending physical distancing – and a more transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant – are causing an increase of COVID-19 cases globally, the World Health Organization warned.

Coping with COVID

A couple of years old, still valid!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *