Coronaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses with large genomes and, until recently, consisted of the mild 229E, OC43, L69, and H53U1 strains, and the “novel” SARS and MERS strains. Sometime in late 2019, a third “novel” coronavirus called the “Wuhan” strain emerged. This began what we now know as the COVID-19 pandemic. With subsequent mutation, “variants of concern” soon emerged, starting with Alpha, and the most significant subsequently being Delta and then Omicron.
Even as the US grapples with its most recent wave of Covid-19, new research suggests that variants on the horizon may keep case levels high. The next influx of infections will probably come from the newer Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, two closely related viruses that were first characterized in South Africa and that landed in the United States around late March, according to the gene sequence sharing site GISAID.
As a science journalist, I’ve read dozens of research papers about COVID-19, and I’ve interviewed so many virologists, infectious disease physicians and immunologists over the past two years that I’ve lost count. But nothing prepared me for what happened after my 7-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago.
ou got sick with COVID back in January, so you figured you were done with the virus for a while. But then you began feeling a scratchy throat and a runny nose, took a home test just in case — and that second line blazed red once again.
Mallory Stanislawczyk was hesitant to make the call. She hadn’t spoken to her friend in years. But the friend, who gets around in a wheelchair, was the only person the 34-year-old nurse practitioner could think of who would understand her questions. About being ready to accept help. About using a wheelchair. And about the new identity her battle with long covid had thrust on her.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the United Kingdom released a report comparing deaths from COVID-19 to deaths from pneumonia and flu.
They found that since the COVID-19 outbreak, COVID-19 deaths have outpaced deaths from pneumonia and flu.
Experts say that these results highlight the need to continue following public safety measures such as getting vaccinated and wearing masks.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present considerable public health challenges in the United States and around the globe. One of the most puzzling is why many people who get over an initial and often relatively mild COVID illness later develop new and potentially debilitating symptoms. These symptoms run the gamut including fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, anxiety, and gastrointestinal trouble.
For more than two years, isolated North Korea claimed success in keeping out Covid and even rebuffed multiple offers of vaccines, calling them unnecessary. Last month, that changed. In a series of urgent dispatches, North Korea’s state media announced that an unspecified fever was spreading “explosively.” The nation went into lockdown. More than four million cases have been reported, with dozens of deaths.
The death rate among unvaccinated people is still far higher than that among the vaccinated even though vaccinated people now make up a significant proportion of deaths
Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines
As of 26 May, the World Health Organization had received 650 reports of probable, sudden-onset hepatitis with no known cause in children across 33 countries
Today, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said an additional 77 monkeypox cases have been confirmed across the United Kingdom, bringing the outbreak total to 302 as of yesterday. There are currently 287 confirmed cases in England, 10 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland, and 3 in Wales.
Infectious disease specialists are growing increasingly concerned by the U.S. strategy for testing for monkeypox, warning that it’s creating a bottleneck and squandering the limited time the country may have to get the outbreak under control.
The monkeypox outbreak has grown to more than 800 cases in dozens of countries. Officials say cases are going undetected because the disease looks different than what’s described in medical textbooks.
By now, you’ve probably heard that there is a monkeypox outbreak traveling around the globe. Cases have spread far and wide, including in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. It’s the largest outbreak ever recorded outside of western and central Africa, where monkeypox is common.
Karen Ocwieja delivered her twin sons last June, just weeks before Delta broke across the American Northeast. For months, she and her husband sheltered the boys, who’d been born premature, limiting their exposures to friends, family, and other kids, hoping to guard them from COVID’s worst. But all four of them still ended up catching the virus this January—the boys’ first bona fide illness. Then, in May, the twins tested positive again. Born with Ocwieja’s antibodies from pregnancy and now churning out their own, they likely will never know a world without COVID.
Vaccine providers say declining demand, large minimum orders and multidose vials make it hard to avoid waste while still offering shots to anyone who wants them.
The U.S. has more than 36,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine immediately available in the strategic national stockpile. The federal government has asked the manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, to send another 36,000 doses in the near future. Bavarian Nordic also holds 1 million U.S.-owned doses and can fill another 16.4 million shots upon request by the federal government. Jynneos is the only vaccine FDA approved to treat monkeypox. The older smallpox vaccine ACAM2000 can also be used against monkeypox. The U.S. has more than 100 million doses of ACAM2000.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasraised concerns about a possible risk of heart inflammation from Novavax Inc’s (NVAX.O)COVID-19 vaccine, even as the company’s data showed it could reduce the chances of mild-to-severe disease.
A large study of adults in the United States who survived COVID-19 during the first 2 years of the pandemic found that they had twice the risk of developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions in the year following infection.
Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) antiviral treatment Paxlovid reduces COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients 65 years and older, according to a new study in Israel conducted during the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Official Reporting for June 7, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update June 1, 2022(latest release)
New Cases: 204,539 ⬇︎
Confirmed Cases: 84,965,849
Confirmed Cases: 532,742,007
Total cases: 84,636,391 (+98,513 New Cases) ⬇︎
Total deaths: 1,003,925 (+247 New Deaths) ⬆︎
Science and Tech
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Long COVID after breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection – Nature
Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021 – CDC
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Stephanie was usually careful about her health and regular vaccinations. But then she got into sharing conspiracy-filled videos and fringe ideas. When COVID hit, misinformation put her and her husband at risk. Science correspondent and editor Geoff Brumfiel shares with Emily Kwong what he learned in reporting Stephanie’s story.
Coping with COVID