Tulane Outbreak Daily – July 1, 2021

Featured Headlines

The 3 Simple Rules That Underscore the Danger of Delta – The Atlantic

Vaccines are still beating the variants, but the unvaccinated world is being pummeled.Fifteen months after the novel coronavirus shut down much of the world, the pandemic is still raging. Few experts guessed that by this point, the world would have not one vaccine but many, with 3 billion doses already delivered. At the same time, the coronavirus has evolved into super-transmissible variants that spread more easily. The clash between these variables will define the coming months and seasons. Here, then, are three simple principles to understand how they interact. Each has caveats and nuances, but together, they can serve as a guide to our near-term future.

Los Angeles urges everyone to mask up because of delta variant — even the vaccinated – Washington Post

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

Upgrading PPE for staff working on COVID-19 wards cut hospital-acquired infections dramatically – University of Cambridge

The findings are reported by a team at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust. The research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but is being released early because of the urgent need to share information relating to the pandemic.

How Mutations Have Shaped the Covid-19 Pandemic – WSJ

Based on a recent government projection, the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus could become the dominant type of this coronavirus in the U.S. within a month, making it one of most aggressive variants to take hold in the country.

Covid cases up 10 percent as ‘hypertransmissible’ delta variant spreads – NBC News

The number of Covid-19 cases in the United States rose 10 percent this week as the highly contagious delta variant gained further ground, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Indonesia announces lockdown in Java and Bali as cases surge – BBC

The announcement by President Joko Widodo comes as the country battles multiple outbreaks and an alarming spike in Covid cases.

Seventh city locks down amid vaccine chaos – BBC

Seven Australian cities are now in lockdown as authorities scramble to prevent the spread of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
Officials reported a slight case rise on Wednesday, to more than 200 cases.

Do You Need to Wear a Mask Again? – Wall Street Journal

The rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant is raising new questions about mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people. Here’s what doctors say you need to know.

Vaccinated and Confused? Answers About Masks, the Delta Variant and Breakthrough Infections – NYT

Vaccines protect against the variants, but conflicting advice from health authorities about masks has bewildered a worried public.

COVID-19 Continues to Be a Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. In June 2021 – Kaiser Family Foundation

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death across all of 2020, but in December 2020 and early 2021, the illness surged and briefly became the number one leading cause of death in the U.S., far surpassing even cancer and heart disease deaths in those months.

Japan likely to extend COVID-19 curbs in Tokyo as infections rise – Retuers

Japan is likely to extend by two weeks or more coronavirus containment measures in the greater Tokyo area, four government sources said on Thursday, as infection numbers creep up less than a month before the Summer Olympics start.

Scientist Finds Early Virus Sequences That Had Been Mysteriously Deleted – NYT

By rooting through files stored on Google Cloud, a researcher says he recovered 13 early coronavirus sequences that had disappeared from a database last year.

Did a Chinese team ‘obscure’ early coronavirus sequences? – Science

In a world starved for data to clarify the origin of COVID-19, a study claiming to have unearthed early sequences of SARS-CoV-2 that were deliberately hidden was bound to ignite a sizzling debate. Last week a preprint by evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center asserted that Chinese researchers sampled viruses from some of the first COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China, posted the viral sequences to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) database, and then later had the genetic information removed to “obscure their existence.”

White House launches ‘surge response’ teams to delta variant hot spots – Washington Post

The Biden administration on Thursday announced the formation of “surge response” teams intended to combat the fast-moving delta variant of the coronavirus by deploying additional expertise and supplies to hot spots.

Vaccine Headlines

Heart inflammation after COVID-19 shots higher than expected in study of U.S. military – Reuters

Members of the U.S. military who were vaccinated against COVID-19 showed higher-than-expected rates of heart inflammation, although the condition was still extremely rare, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Scientists identify long-sought marker for COVID vaccine success – Nature

Knowing which signatures in the blood predict protection against COVID-19 could speed the development of new vaccines. Researchers developing the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have identified biomarkers that can help to predict whether someone will be protected by the jab they receive.

Hybrid immunity – Science

Immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a vital issue for global society. Determining the quality and duration of that immunity is therefore key. But the adaptive immune system is complex, and these factors may differ between natural immunity (obtained by infection) and vaccine-generated immunity (1). Additionally, there is the question of the combination: What kind of immunity develops in people with natural immunity who are subsequently vaccinated? Such “hybrid immunity” is particularly interesting because of the notable finding that people with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection mount unusually potent immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines (2). This is exemplified in two studies in this issue on pages 1413 and 1418 by Stamatatos et al. (3) and Reynolds et al. (4), respectively, which also highlight natural and vaccine-induced immune responses to variants.

They Relied on Chinese Vaccines. Now They’re Battling Outbreaks. – NYT

More than 90 countries are using Covid shots from China. Experts say recent infections in those places should serve as a cautionary tale in the global effort to fight the disease.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant, Company Reports – NYT

The vaccine also produced long-lasting immune responses, researchers said. Booster shots seem unnecessary, at least for now.

Clinical Considerations

Pandemic tied to spike in diabetes in children – Reuters

Hospitalization rates for children with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes rose sharply during the pandemic, two hospitals reported at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, held virtually this year. At Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, children with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes accounted for 0.62% of inpatients from March through December 2020, up from 0.27% the year before.

Official Reporting for July 1, 2021

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update June 29, 2021 (latest release)

Confirmed Cases: 182,101,209

Deaths: 3,950,876

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 182,685,990
Deaths: 3,956,753

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 33,496,454 (+14,256 New Cases)
Total deaths: 602,401 (+231 New Deaths)

Science and Tech

Prostate cancer drugs hold potential for treating COVID-19 – Imperial College of London

Researchers found that the treatment, a type of testosterone-blocker, also reduced the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to infect lung cells in the lab.

SARS-CoV-2 immune evasion by the B.1.427/B.1.429 variant of concern – Science

A novel variant of concern (VOC) named CAL.20C (B.1.427/B.1.429), originally detected in California, carries spike glycoprotein mutations S13I in the signal peptide, W152C in the N-terminal domain (NTD), and L452R in the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Plasma from individuals vaccinated with a Wuhan-1 isolate-based mRNA vaccine or convalescent individuals exhibited neutralizing titers, which were reduced 2-3.5 fold against the B.1.427/B.1.429 variant relative to wildtype pseudoviruses. The L452R mutation reduced neutralizing activity of 14 out of 34 RBD-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The S13I and W152C mutations resulted in total loss of neutralization for 10 out of 10 NTD-specific mAbs since the NTD antigenic supersite was remodeled by a shift of the signal peptide cleavage site and formation of a new disulphide bond, as revealed by mass spectrometry and structural studies.

Clinical trials aim to tackle COVID-19, with nasal spray vaccine and ‘cytokine storm’ blood filtering system – Nature

Avalon GloboCare, a leading biotechnology company focusing on cell-based technology and therapeutics, is about to launch clinical trials of its novel blood filtration system to mitigate symptoms of a cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients and a mucosal intranasal spray vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.

Novel face mask developed by MIT, Harvard can detect COVID-19 infection – The Week Magazine

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a new face mask that can diagnose if the wearer is infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, within 90 minutes. The mask design, described in the journal Nature Biotechnology, has embedded tiny, disposable sensors that can be fitted into other face masks, and could also be adapted to detect other viruses.

Psychological and Sociological Impact

Health experts warn young people are at centre of impending mental health crisis following COVID – ABC

une has been a tumultuous month after a very tough year for Bridget Moore, who has just been discharged from a treatment facility for the eating disorder anorexia.

Published Research

Sales of antibiotics and hydroxychloroquine in India during the COVID-19 epidemic: An interrupted time series analysis – PLoS

Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories

Why We Need to Fight Misinformation About Vaccines – Ted Talk

than Lindenberger never got vaccinated as a kid. So one day, he went on Reddit and asked a simple question: “Where do I go to get vaccinated?” The post went viral, landing Lindenberger in the middle of a heated debate about vaccination and, ultimately, in front of a US Senate committee. Less than a year later, the high school senior reports back on his unexpected time in the spotlight and a new movement he’s leading to fight misinformation and advocate for scientific truth.

Vaccine Hesitancy

When anti-vaxxers want to come to your wedding – Washington Post

Their “Love in the Time of Covid” cards in each save-the-date envelope spelled it out clearly: This October wedding would be a vaccinated-only event. After all, the groom’s father, who is vaccinated against covid-19 but immunocompromised, needed to be sure he could safely attend.

Coping in 2020 (and probably most of 2021)