Featured COVID Headlines
Officially, the U.S. will almost certainly reach an awful milestone in the next two weeks: its one millionth recorded Covid-19 death. In reality, this milestone was likely unofficially crossed days or weeks ago, and we’ll never know the exact toll or the identity of the pandemic’s actual millionth victim. Nor are humans well-equipped to fully grasp loss on this scale, let alone the magnitude of a global toll estimated to be as high as 14.9 million.
Nearly 1 million people in the United States have died of covid-19, and the toll is growing among vaccinated people as the virus gets harder and harder to dodge. Today on Post Reports, what we can learn from looking at vaccinated deaths.
New versions of Omicron are again causing a surge of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, and studies show that these new subvariants are so different from the original version of Omicron that immunity generated from a previous infection may not provide much protection. Dubbed BA.4 and BA.5, the new subvariants are nearly identical to each other, and both are more transmissible than the Omicron BA.2 subvariant. In South Africa, they replaced the BA.2 strain in less than a month. They are now responsible for a spike in South Africa’s COVID-19 cases, which have tripled since mid-April.
Whether you’re paying attention to the latest phase of the pandemic or not, the coronavirus is still evolving, and the subvariants are starting to add up. After two new variations of the Omicron strain were recently detected in the United States, there are now at least four Omicron subvariants circulating in the country. BA.2 is the still the most dominant and has driven the rise in cases across much of the U.S., but BA.2.12.1 appears to be even more transmissible, as do the newest strains, BA.4 and BA.5, which are expected to cause another wave of infection in South Africa. Below is a primer on everything Omicron and what impact its sublineages may have.
Some 60% of spread starts with those who have no symptoms, and that may be higher with Omicron. A cough or sneeze in the checkout line at the grocery store may elicit fear of COVID-19, but that maskless person quietly sitting next to you on the subway could pose just as much of a threat, public health experts say.
ABC News reports that 41 states and territories have reported increases of 10% or more in their daily number of covid admissions. CIDRAP reports on a study that showed patients infected with omicron shed more live virus eight days after illness onset than those with the delta variant. In other news, White House adviser Susan Rice tests positive for covid.
(11 min audio) For a few months, it looked like COVID-19 was retreating in the United States. But cases are rising across the country again. Still, public health leaders are signaling that the U.S. is turning another corner in this pandemic, and that continued COVID surges might just be part of the new normal.
Over the last two years, new Covid cases and deaths have risen and fallen alongside surges of variants and subvariants. One constant, experts say: a continual increase in long Covid cases.
China risks a “tsunami” of coronavirus infections resulting in 1.6 million deaths if the government abandons its long-held Covid Zero policy and allows the highly-infectious omicron variant to spread unchecked, according to researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
Shanghai’s lockdown has kept tens of millions of residents trapped indoors for a month and a half. Thousands of others in China’s wealthiest city have found themselves in the opposite predicament: living in the street. Victims of the same strict Covid-19 rules that are keeping most residents homebound, many of the newly homeless are migrant laborers from rural areas and smaller cities who often live hand-to-mouth while sharing an apartment with other workers.
Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines
Over the past week, a team led by scientists from the United Kingdom has refined its hypotheses, with the leading one still suggesting adenovirus as a cause but also including a COVID-19 infection cofactor. So far, histologic examinations of liver tissue haven’t shown liver inflammation due to adenovirus, she said, adding that the next focus is serologic testing to assess previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Surge in cases appears imminent because of delayed TB diagnoses and treatments during pandemic. Worldwide focus on the novel SARS-CoV-2 reversed momentum that was halting an age-old killer. Tuberculosis (TB) remains the world’s most-lethal infectious disease after COVID-19, and, according to an infectious disease expert at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, health experts had planned to end the TB epidemic by 2035.
With waning immunity and a coronavirus that seems to become more infectious with each new variant, the Biden administration predicts that up to 100 million more people could get Covid-19 in the fall and winter. That estimate makes it crucial that as many people as possible get booster shots of Covid-19 vaccine, experts say. And if you’re eligible, it’s a good time to get a second booster.
Risks of long COVID symptoms and the incidence of new onset hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease were lower among vaccinated patients with breakthrough infection versus those with COVID who were unvaccinated, a large analysis of medical records in the U.S. suggested.
A regular round-up of the latest coronavirus news, plus insight, features and interviews from New Scientist about the covid-19 pandemic
Long COVID is associated with various symptoms that continue to baffle scientists., Together with people experiencing long COVID, researchers developed a questionnaire to more clearly define the condition., The questionnaire will be combined with other data to provide physicians with a more actionable understanding of long COVID.
It’s not yet clear exactly how often it happens, but doctors are confident they’re observing relapses after 5-day courses of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) for COVID-19. Paul Sax, MD, clinical director of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said most rebound cases he’s seen have been mild, “but some, anecdotally, have been severe.”
This week’s topics include assessing long COVID, self-monitoring blood pressure in pregnancy, exercise to slow kidney function decline, and failure of non-operative management of appendicitis in children.
As much as 75% of hospital patients still not ‘fully recovered’ – MedPaGET
Official Reporting for April 29, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update May 4, 2022(latest release)
New Cases: 347,664
Confirmed Cases: 515,748,861
Confirmed Cases: 518,817,036
Total cases: 81,842,060 (+74,712 New Cases)
Total deaths: 995,371 (+323 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
In a study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, researchers showed canine olfaction—or dog sniffing—was both highly sensitive and specific when it came to identifying patients with COVID-19, even those who were asymptomatic or presymptomatic.
So, why is it that some people are so badly affected when many others have mild or asymptomatic infections? Age and other health conditions increase the risk for severe COVID-19, but a new study suggests those who escape the worst symptoms might also have the right balance of a type of macrophages (Related Link to Study)
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Smaller indoor events are more likely to spread COVID than much bigger, outdoor ones, per a new report by University of Texas researchers.
Spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals – Nature
Safety, immunogenicity, and reactogenicity of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth-dose boosters following two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 and a third dose of BNT162b2 (COV-BOOST): a multicentre, blinded, phase 2, randomised trial – The Lancet
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
n an exclusive interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown, FDA chief Dr. Robert Califf explains why he says the leading cause of death in the US is misinformation.
Coping with COVID
Are you a Top Gun fan? Is the movie EVER going to be released?
While we continue to wait, you can find out what your call sign would be here
In maps and essays, a new book from Bloomberg CityLab charts the less visible changes of a global pandemic.