Tulane Outbreak – May 6, 2022

Featured COVID Headlines

A new subvariant is spreading rapidly in the United States. – NYT

First came Omicron, then came its highly contagious subvariant, BA.2. That subvariant gave rise to its own subvariants, whose share of new coronavirus cases in the United States is growing.

Severe Covid May Cost Survivors 10 IQ Points, Study Finds – Bloomberg

Severe Covid-19 may cause long-lasting cognitive impairment, similar to how much brainpower 70-year-olds typically have lost compared to age 50, a new study found, adding to preliminary evidence that infections may inhibit survivors’ intellectual capabilities. During those terrifying early days of the pandemic, scientists offered one piece of reassuring news about the novel coronavirus: It mutated slowly. The earliest mutations did not appear to be consequential. A vaccine, if and when it was invented, might not need regular updating over time. This proved overly optimistic.

Death Toll During Pandemic Far Exceeds Totals Reported by Countries, W.H.O. Says – NYT

Nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the pandemic than would have been expected during normal times, the organization found. The previous count of virus deaths, from countries’ reporting, was six million.

The Vanishing Variants: Lessons from Gamma, Iota and Mu – New York Times

Studying the coronavirus variants that have faded away could help us prepare for what comes next, scientists say.

What COVID might look like in the U.S. once we reach the endemic phase – NPR

If it feels like everyone you know has COVID-19 right now, you’re not alone. In many parts of the U.S., case numbers are going up, and much of that increase is being driven by subvariants of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Carnival Passengers Complain of High Number of Covid-19 Cases – Bloomberg

Guests aboard a Carnival Corp. ship with an outbreak of Covid-19 say the staff was overwhelmed by the number of cases, showing the cruise industry is continuing to struggle with the illness.

Most US kids have caught the coronavirus, antibody survey finds – Nature

Roughly two in every three children aged between one and four years old in the United States have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, according to a nationwide analysis1. Infections in that age group increased more than in any other during the Omicron wave, which researchers say demonstrates the variant’s high transmissibility.

Lessons From HIV On Ending The COVID Pandemic – NPR Audio

The world has come a long way since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now vaccines, at-home tests, masks and treatments. With all of these tools available, why is COVID still here? Health policy correspondent Selena Simmons-Duffin talks to Scientist-In-Residence Regina Barber about what we can learn from the public health advocates working to end the HIV epidemic, how those lessons may translate to ending COVID and why having the scientific tools isn’t enough.

Nearly 15 million deaths related to covid-19, WHO estimates – Washington Post

That number is more than double the official toll because it includes excess deaths from other causes largely attributable to overburdened health systems. The pandemic led to nearly 15 million excess deaths worldwide, according to a new estimate by the World Health Organization, including people who died of covid-19 and others who died from other causes related to the crisis, such as health-care shortages as the virus surged and overwhelmed hospitals.

COVID-19: the next phase and beyond – The Lancet

After living for more than 2 years with COVID-19—with over 6·2 million confirmed deaths (but probably many more, with an estimated 20 million excess deaths) and over 510 million confirmed cases—the world is at a critical point. The omicron wave, with its high transmissibility and milder course than previous variants, especially for people who are fully vaccinated and without comorbidities, is abating in many countries. Restrictions are being relaxed, and people are slowly returning to pre-pandemic activities, including gatherings, office-based working, and cultural events. Mask mandates are being lifted in many countries. Testing and surveillance have decreased and travelling is recommencing widely. People are understandably exhausted and want to forget about the pandemic. This would be a grave mistake.

NYC COVID Transmission Up 32% in 10 Days as 5th Wave Settles In – NBC NYC

New York City’s COVID transmission rate is up 32% in the last 10 days, as the city and state come to grips with what looks like the start of a fifth wave of the years-long pandemic.

Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines

Four Kids Dead of Unusual Hepatitis; 228 Cases and Counting; New CRC Blood Test – MedPageToday

Indonesia reported three child deaths from the unexplained acute hepatitis popping up globally, meaning at least four children have died of the condition so far.

5 Deaths, 109 Cases of Kids’ Mystery Hepatitis Under Investigation – MedPageToday

Over 100 cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown cause are under investigation in 25 states, and five children in the U.S. have died in the past seven months from the condition, CDC researchers said on Friday. The agency is retrospectively reviewing 109 cases of this unusual hepatitis in children, dating back to October 2021 when the first cases were reported in Alabama, said Jay Butler, MD, CDC’s Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, at a press briefing.

Prion Disease on the Rise in the U.S. – MedPageToday

The incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the spongiform brain malady, rose by more than half in the U.S. from 2000 to 2014, according to a new study reported here, although the reasons for the increase remain unclear.

Vaccine Headlines

Vaccines Effective Against New Omicron Subvariants, WHO Chief Says – Bloomberg

Vaccines are effective against new omicron sub-variants driving a surge in Covid-19 cases in South Africa, the head of the World Health Organization said. “It’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other omicron sub-variants, but early data suggest vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a media briefing in Geneva Wednesday.

FDA Severely Limits Use of J&J COVID Shot – Med News Today

Due to an updated analysis of the rare cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which typically occur 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination, use of the J&J vaccine should be restricted to those for whom mRNA vaccines are “not accessible or clinically appropriate,” or who would not get vaccinated if not for the J&J vaccine, the agency said.

COVID Boosters Blunted Omicron’s Effect on Nursing Homes – MedPageToday

An additional booster dose of COVID vaccine helped substantially reduce the rate of infection in nursing home residents during the Omicron wave compared with a primary series alone, researchers found.

Clinical Considerations

For Covid Long Haulers, Hope in Rehab – Bloomberg

Before the pandemic, patients came to Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez to address traumatic brain injuries. But now, Verduzco-Gutierrez, who is the chair of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, says she’s seeing a different type of patient: Covid long haulers.

Post-COVID Brain Fog Tied to CSF Markers – MedPageToday

eople with persistent cognitive changes after mild COVID-19 had elevated levels of immune activation and immunovascular markers in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 10 months after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a late-breaking abstract presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting.

FDA rebukes Pfizer CEO’s suggestion to take more Paxlovid if COVID-19 symptoms return – Fierce Pharma

The FDA rebuked Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s proposed solution to reports that some patients experienced a relapse of COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with the company’s antiviral Paxlovid.

Children get long Covid, too, and it can show up in unexpected ways – CNN

November 10 is a day Kim Ford remembers too well. It was the day last year when her 9-year-old son, Jack, was scheduled to get his Covid-19 vaccine at the school clinic. They were excited that he’d finally have some protection, but on November 9, he had the sniffles.

Official Reporting for April 29, 2022

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update May 4, 2022(latest release)

New Cases: 519,522

Confirmed Cases: 513,955,910

Deaths: 6,249,700

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 516,407,197
Deaths: 6,248,670

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 81,492,170 (+64,780 New Cases)
Total deaths: 994,187 (+334 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

If you’ve had omicron before, are you safe from infection by the new variants? – NPR

When it comes to omicron, one thing seems certain to bioinformatician Shishi Luo: Another surge will occur. That’s because new versions of omicron are emerging — here in the United States and in other parts of the world as well, like South Africa.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Covid-19 has been a leading cause of maternal deaths in Latin America, a W.H.O. official says – NYT

Covid-19 was a leading cause of maternal deaths in parts of Latin America last year, a regional official of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. “Pregnant women have a higher risk to develop severe cases of Covid-19,” said the official, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa. “For this reason, they should be vaccinated.”

Published Research

Multivariate profile and acute-phase correlates of cognitive deficits in a COVID-19 hospitalised cohort – The Lancet

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Routine Childhood Vaccination Rates Fell as Misinformation About the COVID-19 Shot Rose – Time

Anti-vaccine sentiments have been simmering in the U.S. since at least 1998, when the Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, published—and later retracted—a fraudulent paper falsely linking childhood vaccines to autism. They’ve grown even stronger in the past two years, thanks to disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Though the development of the COVID-19 vaccines happened at an unprecedented pace, they’ve been rigorously tested, and have proven both safe and effective.

Coping with COVID

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