Tulane Outbreak Daily – June 8, 2021

Featured Headlines

Washington State allows for free marijuana joints with Covid-19 vaccine – NYT

As part of its strategy to vaccinate more of its population, Washington State will allow adults to get a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccination shot.

India states start reopening amid dip in Covid cases – BBC

Major Indian states that have been virus hotpots are easing restrictions as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

What we know about the highly infectious coronavirus delta variant – Washington Post

The coronavirus variant labeled “delta” was first recorded in India, where a slow vaccination drive and complacency about pandemic rules helped spark a record-breaking surge in cases this spring.

Haiti Is the Only Country in Western Hemisphere Without Covid Vaccines – Bloomberg

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, has earned another grim distinction: it’s the only one that hasn’t vaccinated a single resident against Covid-19.

The ‘unknown’ Covid-19 deaths in rural India – BBC Video

The second wave of Covid-19 ravaged India as hospitals and then crematoriums ran out of space. Families struggled to find beds, oxygen or even medicines to save their loved ones. While cities were first hit, the second wave soon reached rural parts of the country.

Canada’s Covid Hot Zone Is Deadlier Than Chicago or L.A. – Bloomberg

The city’s death rate has been staggering: higher than those of almost every U.S. state, higher than in greater Chicago, Los Angeles or Toronto. The place is Montreal, the business and cultural center of Quebec, where the coronavirus pandemic has struck the elderly with unusual savagery. The struggle to contain the outbreak has forced the provincial government to resort to desperate measures.

CDC: Worrisome Spike in Younger Teens’ COVID Hospitalizations – MedPageToday

Younger teens may not be as likely to have severe COVID-19 as adults, but their hospitalization rates spiked early this year and left a large proportion in critical care, according to CDC COVID-NET surveillance data.

Scientists begin to unravel the mysteries of the coronavirus and brains – Washington Post

In the coronavirus pandemic’s early weeks, in neuropathology departments around the world, scientists wrestled with a question: Should they cut open the skulls of patients who died of covid-19 and extract their brains?

The U.S. South may see a Covid surge this summer as vaccination rates lag – NYT

Experts are concerned that states across the U.S. South, where vaccination rates are lagging, could face a surge in coronavirus cases over the summer.

Brazil reports 37,156 coronavirus cases and 1,010 COVID deaths in 24 hours -ministry – Reuters

Brazil has had 37,156 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 1,010 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Monday.

American expats push for access to coronavirus vaccines, raising questions about international equity – Washington Post

Widely available Stateside, but one group of Americans feels left behind: expatriates. “We pay taxes, we vote, why shouldn’t we have a vaccine?” asked Loran Davidson, an American living in Thailand.

Working In Sweatpants May Be Over As Companies Contemplate The Great Office Return – NPR

On a walk outside his office in downtown Washington, D.C., Greg Meyer stops to peer in through the glass windows of a fast-casual lunch spot called Leon. The exposed brick interior gives it a cozy coffeehouse vibe. But the lunch crowd is nowhere to be seen. The whole place is dark.

Vaccine Headlines

Bell’s palsy and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines—an unfolding story – The Lancet

Following the documentation of a case of Bell’s palsy associated with vaccination,1
we were contacted by patients and colleagues from Canada, Australia, Europe, the UK, and United Arab Emirates. Questions raised were whether mRNA vaccine recipients are at increased risk of developing Bell’s palsy, and what to recommend to individuals with a history of Bell’s palsy.

CDC COVID-19 Study Shows mRNA Vaccines Reduce Risk of Infection by 91 Percent for Fully Vaccinated People – CDC

Vaccination Makes Illness Milder, Shorter for the Few Vaccinated People Who Do Get COVID-19

A New Type Of COVID-19 Vaccine Could Debut Soon – NPR

A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as this summer. It’s what’s known as a protein subunit vaccine. It works somewhat differently from the current crop of vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. but is based on a well-understood technology and doesn’t require special refrigeration.

The rocky road to universal COVID-19 vaccination – The Lancet

As of May 9, 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused 3 277 272 deaths and disrupted the lives of billions of people. Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is the only way to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the pandemic. That is why 1 year ago the COVAX scheme, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and WHO, was set up to try to ensure fair access to vaccines, by guaranteeing that each country would receive vaccine doses for at least 20% of its population.

Clinical Considerations

‘Black fungus’ and COVID-19: Myths and facts – MedPageToday

In India, COVID-19 has led to a surge in cases of a potentially fatal fungal infection called mucormycosis, popularly known as “black fungus.” The infection is every bit as dangerous as the media have portrayed it, but several myths are circulating on social media about potential sources of the infection and its treatment.

More Insight on Which Kids Are Most at Risk for Severe COVID-19 – MedPageToday

Certain underlying medical conditions, as well as complex chronic illnesses exacerbated the risk for severe COVID-19 in children, researchers found in a cross-sectional study. The strongest risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization included type I diabetes (adjusted risk ratio 4.60, 95% CI 3.91-5.42) and obesity (aRR 3.07, 95% CI 2.66-3.54), reported Lyudmyla Kompaniyets, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC.

How COVID-19 wreaks havoc on human lungs – Eureka Alert

New structure shows how virus envelope protein hijacks cell-junction protein and promotes viral spread; findings could speed the design of drugs to block severe effects of COVID-19

How COVID-19 Can Lead to Diabetes – NIH Director’s Blog

Along with the pneumonia, blood clots, and other serious health concerns caused by SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, some studies have also identified another troubling connection. Some people can develop diabetes after an acute COVID-19 infection. What’s going on? Two new NIH-supported studies, now available as pre-proofs in the journal Cell Metabolism [1,2], help to answer this important question, confirming that SARS-CoV-2 can target and impair the body’s insulin-producing cells.

Official Reporting for June 8, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update June 7, 2021

Confirmed Cases: 173,271,769

Deaths: 3,733,980

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 173,700,661
Deaths: 3,739,274

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 33,193,680 (+10,150 New Cases)
Total deaths: 594,802 (+225 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

SARS-CoV-2 Mutations, their attributes, and conducting surveillance studies – Thermo Fisher Scientific

Coronaviruses mutate by making copies of themselves. Because these copies leave a lineage trail, scientists can track the mutations, which is how they become identified and then labeled as a specific viral family.

The ‘Lab Leak’ Debate Matters — But Not for the Reasons You Think – MedPageToday [Op-Ed]

I want to talk about the real lesson of “lab leak,” which in my mind is the way in which the idea moved from a taboo subject — a conspiracy theory — to a perfectly acceptable topic of discussion. In fact, last week, Facebook removed its ban on posts discussing the laboratory escape of the virus as a possibility. How could this happen? What was misinformation yesterday is something that needs investigating today? Other writers have discussed how prominent social media accounts took extreme positions that dissuaded the media from fairly considering the possibility of a lab leak, and on the heels of an election, turned the lab-leak idea into a political issue.

Published Research

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Anti-Vaccine Film Targeted To Black Americans Spreads False Information – NPR

When a filmmaker asked medical historian Naomi Rogers to appear in a new documentary, the Yale professor didn’t blink. She had done these “talking head” interviews many times before. She assumed her comments would end up in a straightforward documentary that addressed some of the most pressing concerns of the pandemic, such as the legacy of racism in medicine and how that plays into current mistrust in some communities of color. The subject of vaccines was also mentioned, but the focus wasn’t clear to Rogers.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)

For those extra pandemic pounds