CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/04/2021

HOW DO I GET COVID TESTED IN HARRISON COUNTY in DECEMBER 2021?

Jennifer Hancock

Testing is available at most primary care physician offices, urgent cares and pharmacies in our area. Testing is also available at a private company, MLife is located in Marshall and can be contacted via email covid19@mlifedx.com or phone 833-654-3339 or https://www.mlifedx.com/ which is their easy to use web site.

Texas has a web site that allows users to enter their zip code to find a testing site in the area:

 https://tdem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=1e91fb79fa44417898738e5bff31a3d8. Residents can also call 211 Texas to get information on testing as well. According to their website, 2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. Whether by phone or internet, the goal is to present accurate, well-organized and easy-to-find information from state and local health and human services programs. This is accomplished through the work of 25 Area Information Centers (AICs) across the state. 2-1-1 Texas is a free, anonymous social service hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905, and find information about resources in your local community. Whether you need help finding food or housing, childcare, crisis counseling or substance abuse treatment, one number is all you need to know.

It is my understanding that testing can’t be denied for the inability to pay, if you meet the testing criteria. Also, many of our area schools have testing available.

Each testing site, if not your primary care provider would be responsible for treatment and quarantine guidance. Over the counter test are available for purchase, but this does not come with medical advice.

At the Marshall-Harrison County Health District, we get phone calls about testing daily and try to direct people to the appropriate place. We also get calls daily from people that need to see a doctor about flu, strep, high blood pressure, COPD, diabetes, and other illnesses that don’t have a way to see a private doctor. We work hard to give them information on getting assistance through state programs as well as also federally qualified health care (FQHC) programs. Genesis Primecare is a FQHC and a great resource for those that do not have insurance.

Our office staff can be reached at 903-938-8338, we have a recorded message with updated services and hours and options to speak to our staff as well. Translation services are available in our office. More information about COVID 19 can be found at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ .

PICTURE OF OMICRON

J. Harris: I’d assume Omicron is coming or already here. Smith County numbers are up and in the NET area (we are not a member) the numbers have doubled in a week — but they are still low. Wear your masks. 

NORTHEAST TEXAS HEALTH ORGANIZATION

FROM HOPKINS FRIDAY:

1. Sending the Right Message About the Omicron Variant is Tricky (NPR) With the first case of omicron confirmed in California and more cases expected across the U.S., public health officials who know the difference between good and bad crisis communication say they can’t afford to be quiet and wait until scientists know how risky the new variant is before they speak out. “We don’t want to just be silent on the matter, because then that can cause fear and then that can allow for misinformation to creep in,” says Elya Franciscus, the epidemiology operations manager for COVID-19 in Harris County, Texas.

 2. Colleges With High Vaccination Rates Must Now Decide If They’ll Require Boosters (NPR) This week, Wesleyan University in Connecticut held its first booster vaccine clinic on campus. CJ Joseph, a first-year student still figuring out what to major in, wasted no time signing up. “I was like, ‘Heck, yes, I will be the first person to get it’ ” Joseph says, who was actually one of the first students to get the shot at Wednesday’s clinic at Beckman Hall. The convenience was a major selling point. “I have a lot of work to do,” Joseph explains. “Being able to walk like a good four minutes just to get my COVID vaccine made it so much easier for me and I didn’t have to spend money to get an Uber to go over to Walgreens or to CVS.”

FROM THE ATLANTIC (who carry great Covid articles)

1. We Know Almost Nothing About the Omicron Variant

By Katherine J. WU

”…three essential metrics: how quickly the variant spreads; if it’s capable of causing more serious disease; and whether it might be able to circumvent the immune protection left behind by past SARS-CoV-2 infections or COVID-19 vaccines, or evade immune-focused treatments such as monoclonal antibodies….What we don’t know, and what is really hard to predict, is what the combination of mutations will do together…. [Fortunately our] surveillance systems have worked exactly in the way they are designed to. It makes us know what to look out for. However, when these systems pick up a signal, we don’t immediately get the epidemiologic data we need to know all of the impacts a new variant can have. That takes time….It’s important to keep in mind that other variants of concern have emerged before, including immune-evasive variants like Beta, which was first identified in South Africa, but eventually petered out….So this was predictable. If the virus has the opportunity to spread unchecked in the population, then we’re giving it multiple ways in which to evolve and adapt…We have antivirals that are coming down the pike. We have a better understanding of how to manage and treat cases of people who do get infected. We have vaccines and incredible mRNA technology that allows us to adapt quickly to a changing virus, and we will have second-generation vaccines. It’s definitely not back to square one…

”…This variant could not have chosen a worse time to emerge. We’re in flu season. This is a time when respiratory viruses tend to spread quite efficiently. And we are in the holiday season, and there’s a lot of traveling, and a lot of people getting together with family. But it’s certainly not the time for people to let their guard down, or relax on nonpharmaceutical interventions. People have to be mindful of wearing their mask when they’re out in public, or in crowded areas with people whose vaccination status they may not know…

”…We are in a global pandemic, and we cannot address this fully if we only have regional solutions. The solutions really have to be with a global mindset. And that global mindset means that the resources we have—vaccination, testing, access to therapeutics, and also the support to carry out appropriate surveillance—need to be equally accessible and equitably distributed in all parts of the world…”

2. Omicron’s Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

By Rachel Gutman

”…Omicron’s effect on the course of the pandemic will be determined by three factors: its transmissibility; the degree to which it evades our existing immune defenses; and its virulence, or the severity of the disease that it causes….If Omicron ends up being super contagious, for example, but mild in its symptoms, that might even be a good thing—a perfect variant, just in time for Christmas….Even if every human on Earth gained a degree of immunity from vaccination or infection, the virus could retreat into its many animal hosts, only to reenter the human population in a slightly different form. “There’s no reasonable person, I think, in public health now who thinks that eradication or elimination or having zero COVID is a realistic goal,” says Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.”

”Doctors from South Africa and Israel have said that cases of Omicron seem to be less serious than Delta, so far. Zero severe cases or deaths have been reported among the nearly 60 confirmed cases in the European Union. But the data are very limited and prone to bias. Fewer than 250 cases have been reported worldwide, and the plurality of them are from South Africa, where a younger-than-average populace might be less susceptible to COVID complications in general….

”When two variants are circulating, the one that infects more people more quickly will tend to dominate…mild COVID cases may not lead the immune system to produce as many antibodies as do more serious illnesses…In the next few weeks, we’ll find out whether Omicron will have its own silver lining—or whether it’ll be catastrophically worse.”

3. The Coronavirus Could Get Worse

(J. Harris: This is an Aug, 24, 2021 written by Ms. WU. It is a long but readable article about virus, mutations, and such. )

FROM NYT:

1. SPAIN IS 80% VACCINATED AND WILL BE WATCHED FOR OMICRON PREVENTION

”…As much of Europe reels from a surge of infections, experts attribute Spain’s vaccine success, in part, to its widely trusted public health system, which spearheaded the effort. Politicians also played a big role, taking their doses with fanfare early on and avoiding politicized debate about the vaccine. Spaniards, for the most part, followed the health guidance of their leaders when it came to vaccines, masks and other precautions….”

(J. Harris: Now let’s watch and see what Omicron does there.)

2. Most Covid vaccines will work as boosters, a study suggests.

(J. Harris: Brief report regarding elegant but unreadable study reported in current LANCET.)

Viral Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Persons

”…we collected and analyzed a prospective, longitudinal set of 19,941 SARS-CoV-2 viral samples obtained from 173 participants as part of the occupational health program of the National Basketball Association between November 28, 2020, and August 11, 2021…

Breakthrough infections among vaccine recipients were characterized by a faster clearance time than that among unvaccinated participants, with a mean of 5.5 days (95% credible interval, 4.6 to 6.5) and 7.5 days (95% credible interval, 6.8 to 8.2), respectively. The shorter clearance time led to a shorter overall duration of infection among vaccine recipients …The participants in this study were predominantly healthy young men and thus were not representative of the general population. Symptoms were not systematically tracked, nor did we test for the presence of infectious virus.

LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/03/2021

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST “Third Case Omicron in US’

”…Colorado on Thursday became the third state to announce a case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in a woman who had recently traveled to southern Africa…'(‘

J. Harris: She had been vaccinated and is not very sick. There has been another cases as well.)

FROM BECKER:

The White House’s plan to combat winter COVID-19 surges: 8 things to know

(J.Harris: A quick read and helpful.)

Minnesota reports second U.S. omicron Covid case in a resident who traveled to New York City

”The man, who was fully vaccinated and has since recovered, [had] traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the department said in a statement.

(J. Harris: An ”Anime Convention” is an event or gathering with a primary focus on aspects of Japanese culture, and has nothing to do with biochemistry.

Omicron sounds nasty but delta is the real villain: Dr. Peter Hotez answers COVID variant questions (I have found Dr. Hoeta from Baylor Medical School to be reliable and well informed. )

”…The big issue is knowing if it’s a more severe disease — which it doesn’t yet appear to be — and whether it will go the way of the other variants…What is the level of transmissibility? Is it more than delta? Will it outcompete delta like delta outcompeted alpha? Will it have the ability to escape immunity from previous infection or vaccine immunity? Right now, it’s hard to say…..Delta is still pretty aggressive and may be around a while. We might have a twin epidemic with delta and omicron. In the past, we had the original, then alpha was dominant, then delta. This one might be a foot race between the two…One possibility I’ve been talking about based on characteristics: We might see each variant disproportionately affect different populations. Delta might continue to affect the entirely unvaccinated, while omicron might have a different advantage in escaping the antibodies. It could reinfect those who have been infected but are not yet vaccinated. Or disproportionately affect the partially vaccinated. I think the message, though, is no matter what, the course of action is the same. Get the maximum. If you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you got two doses, get the third. If you’ve been infected and recovered, but weren’t vaccinated, get vaccinated on top of that. Vaccinate your kids. If you don’t, you’re asking for trouble…Everybody is wringing their hands about omicron, but we have enough to worry about right now with delta. How you protect yourself and your family remains the same. Max out on vaccines….A: Best case is three immunizations of the existing vaccines halts omicron. Everybody with three immunizations will be good. Worst case is that doesn’t do it. Then you go to Plan B. The problem is that I’m not sure what Plan B is….I think if we’d done a better job vaccinating our country, we’d be in a better position. Right now, only half of Texans are vaccinated. There are parts of Texas that look as bad as Botswana in terms of vaccine protection, which is upsetting because the vaccine is readily available here.

Comparative Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines in U.S. Veterans

(J. Harris: Might be of interest for “mix and match” proponents.). 

CONCLUSIONS

”The 24-week risk of Covid-19 outcomes was low after vaccination with mRNA-1273[Merck] or BNT162b2[Pfizeer], although risks were lower with mRNA-1273 than with BNT162b2. This pattern was consistent across periods marked by alpha- and delta-variant predominance.”

EDITORIAL REGARDING THE ABOVE VA STUDY OF VACCINES

”…In many countries, the availability of vaccines has marked a turning point in the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the vaccines are imperfect, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people remain quite rare, even with recently emerging variants…Comparing the two available messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines is particularly problematic. Both BNT162b2, produced by Pfizer–BioNTech, and mRNA-1273, from Moderna, were remarkably efficacious in phase 3 trials. …

”The study included persons who received two doses of vaccine and follow-up data during two different periods — one marked by predominance of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 (alpha) variant and a second during which the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant had largely replaced all other circulating viruses. Vaccines are thought to be less effective against the delta variant. Since the authors considered large numbers of people, they had considerable power to detect subtle differences in vaccine effectiveness…Both vaccines are highly effective. Although when we look at hundreds of thousands of recipients, mRNA-1273 is marginally more effective than BNT162b2, the death rate among vaccinated persons remains tiny, and the difference in the risk of death between the two vaccines was only approximately 0.2 per 10,000 vaccinees during the period marked by alpha-variant predominance. How the two vaccines compare with regard to side effects is difficult to assess without a head-to-head trial…”

‘…we do not know whether either regimen would be more effective with a different mRNA dose or dosing schedule, and it seems likely that each could be improved…

”Moreover, the study by Dickerman et al. gives us no idea how the vaccines will compare after an additional booster dose. So the lesson we take away is not about differences — it’s about similarities. We are lucky to have such good options. Vaccination with any vaccine is far better than remaining unprotected. The message is that the best vaccine is the one that’s available. 

FROM HOPKINS:

1. NIH Demands Unpublished Data on Coronavirus Experiment, but Says Research is Not Linked to the Pandemic (Washington Post) The National Institutes of Health is taking a recipient of federal research dollars to task even as it seeks to quell the latest controversy over coronavirus experiments funded by the agency and conducted in Wuhan, China, before the pandemic. NIH has demanded that the research organization EcoHealth Alliance turn over any unpublished data from an experiment conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that showed that laboratory mice became unexpectedly sicker with one of the naturally circulating strains of bat coronavirus. According to NIH, this was a significant experimental finding, and EcoHealth did not promptly report it as required by the grant.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

Definitions:

1. Paradox: Two Physicians

2. Control: A short, ugly inmate

3. Relief: What trees do in the spring

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/02/2021

Covid Numbers Creeping Up in Area? 

FROM THE NYT:

Most new cases in South Africa are now the Omicron variant.

”…Nearly three-quarters of the 249 positive test samples that were checked genetically in South Africa in November were found to involve the Omicron variant, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases announced…New cases are rising sharply in South Africa, after having dropped to low levels in recent months. The institute said that there were 8,651 new cases reported on Wednesday, almost twice as many as the day before; as recently as early November, the country was averaging fewer than 300 new cases a day…”

(J. Harris: Awaiting more information regarding vaccination status of victims as well as the severity of their illness.)

An Israeli doctor with Omicron met dozens of people. Just one tested positive.

Biden’s winter Covid plan includes insurance reimbursement for at-home tests.

”…Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to preview the president’s strategy, said the administration would also distribute an additional 25 million at-home tests to community health centers and rural clinics to make them more available to those who are not covered by private insurers, including Medicaid recipients….Looking forward, experts envision a world where people will test themselves as soon as they exhibit symptoms — and then, if they are positive, quarantine and seek treatment with new antiviral medicines that are in the development pipeline…”

AN EXCELLENT DAILY WAY TO FOLLOW COVID IN LOCATIONS  OF INTEREST (NYTIMES)

(J. Harris: After almost 2 years of looking, I believe the best statistic to follow locally as well as worldwide is “cases/100,000 population” I tried to use a “per 10,000” cases value but only the Texas Tribune agreed with me. NYT subscribers can make their own chart and receive it daily from the NYT. Below is mine.I get it daily.)

An F.D.A. panel endorses Merck’s Covid pill for high-risk adults.

BUT: “In the coming weeks, the F.D.A. may also authorize a similar pill from Pfizer that appears to be significantly more effective than Merck’s. Together, the arrival of the two easy-to-use treatments could provide a cushion against a resurgent virus.”

(J. Harris: Early tests concluded that the Pfizer oral treatment capsule for Covid Infections is better. Tests and early treatment are vital.)

Federal health officials say that they are expanding the search for Omicron in the U.S.

”…Four international airports — in New York, Atlanta, Newark and San Francisco — would enhance screening in a search for possible Omicron cases. “This program allows for increased Covid testing for specific international arrivals, increasing our capacity to identify those with Covid-19 on arrival to the United States,”…C.D.C. was working with airlines to collect information on passengers that can be used for contact tracing if a case of Omicron is discovered. [The] C.D.C. plans to toughen testing and screening of international fliers to the United States by requiring them to provide a negative result from a test taken within 24 hours of departure….The United States had already made substantial progress this year in scaling up the number of virus samples examined for possible worrisome variants,…sequencing roughly 80,000 samples each week and one in seven positive P.C.R. test samples, a volume that suggests it might not be long before scientists find the virus.

More from1 Dec. NYT REGARDING REGENERON IV ANTIBODY INJECTION FOR ACUTE COVID TREATMENT:

”…Regeneron said that its Covid-19 antibody treatment might be less effective against Omicron, based on laboratory analyses and computer modeling….”It’s an indication that the company’s popular and widely beneficial monoclonal antibody drugs may need to be updated in case the new variant spreads aggressively….”Regeneron said it had already been testing future antibody drug candidates, and that preliminary analyses indicated that some of those “may have the potential to retain activity against the Omicron variant.” More data is expected in the coming month.”
FROM JAMA:Measles a Growing Global Threat as COVID-19 Disrupts Childhood VaccinationsFROM NYT: OMICRON IDENTIFIED IN THESE COUNTRIES:  ROM HOPKINS:1.A Reason for Optimism on Omicron: Our Immune Systems are Not Blank Slates (STAT News) The emergence of a new Covid-19 variant with a startlingly large constellation of mutations has countries around the world sounding alarms. While the concerns are understandable, experts in immunology say people need to remember a critical fact: Two years and 8 billion vaccine doses into the pandemic, many immune systems are no longer blank slates when it comes to SARS-CoV-2.2. What the Moderna-NIH COVID Vaccine Patent Fight Means for Research (Nature) Collaborators are locked in a high-stakes dispute over which researchers should be named as inventors on a key vaccine patent application. The stakes are high. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has projected that it will make up to US$18 billion on its COVID-19 vaccine this year. Inventor status could enable the NIH to collect royalties and to license the patent as it sees fit. We look at four key questions about the patent spat and its potential ripple effects on collaborations between government and industry.3. What the Moderna-NIH COVID Vaccine Patent Fight Means for Research (Nature) Collaborators are locked in a high-stakes dispute over which researchers should be named as inventors on a key vaccine patent application. The stakes are high. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has projected that it will make up to US$18 billion on its COVID-19 vaccine this year. Inventor status could enable the NIH to collect royalties and to license the patent as it sees fit. We look at four key questions about the patent spat and its potential ripple effects on collaborations between government and industry.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

Definitions:

1. Arbitrator: A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonald’s

2. Sudafed: Brought litigation against a government official.

What To Say When Someone Tells You To Lose Weight:

“I ate the last person who said that to me.”

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Opinion: Butts, bed sheets and horizontal gravity

 Opinion: Butts, bed sheets and horizontal gravity

By George Smith  — December 1, 2021

Ohhhhh, sometimes the mind climbs out of the proverbial “box” on its own.

Butts, bed sheets and horizontal gravity

I’ve never claimed that a certain percentage of my thoughts are what one might call “normal.” It is (pick one) A) a blessing, or a curse to have thoughts that sometimes fall outside the realm of those shared by a vast majority of people.

Since I have them on occasion, I go with A.

An example: Have you ever been sitting up in bed, leaned against the headboard, pillows at your back, thumbing the heck out of a good novel and all of a sudden … you realize you have slid down in the bed without realizing it? Instead of being in a sitting position, you find yourself practically supine! How did that happen?

I surmise it’s a little known and totally misunderstood element of physics – horizontal gravity. As you might surmise, there’s got to be more to it than just the fact that scientists and philosophers have overlooked this phenomenon for the past several thousand years, ever since the invention of sheets with thread count over six. Not 600, but six.

I have come to the belief that there is a direct correlation between the thread count of sheets, the square inch-ary of butt surface and the theory of horizontal gravity. Check that: It is my contention that horizontal gravity is not a theory, but an existing condition that has not been properly studied.

That’s about to change.

I am writing a federal grant to study the phenomenon and, with the bringing-home-the-bacon money available from my elected officials, I expect to get started as soon as my grant can be approved, which should be as soon as this latest, silly Middle East conflict question can be resolved. Knowing members of congress like I do, I know it’s easy to stick this type of expenditure as a “tail-er” on a bigger bill about nuclear proliferation or some such.

I have already done sufficient research to warrant the grant that I value at about $49,750. (I am convinced if I keep it under $50,000, it is such a fiscal pimple as to be invisible in any General Account Office audit.)

You want proof of my initial reasoning and research? How’s this: Sheets vary widely in thread count, as well as material from which they are constructed; 300-, 600-, 800-thread count sheets are commonplace. It is easy to buy higher thread count sheets of up to 1,800 threads per square inch (900 vertical and 900 horizontal). A higher thread count than that and you have Sarah Wrap.

A portion of the study will have to do with the surface area of butts on bed sheets. I am firmly convinced that the total surface area of a butt will slide horizontally in direct proportion to thread count; the bigger the butt surface, the faster the horizontal movement.

Of course, the study will have to include the movement of bare buttocks vs. clothed; the type of covering material or lack thereof and its affect on rate of horizontal movement will have its own section in the final report.

Those of you who may scoff at my research grant proposal do not know the depth of federal grant follies. Do you know whether or not it is economically feasible to create bite-sized bales of hay for cows? It is not economically feasible according to a 1980s federal grant to the University of Michigan.

What is the composition of 17th Century violin varnish? We know this important fact due to a federal grant.

And federal funds were used to compile the history of comic books.

Surely, a study to research the theory of horizontal gravity is just as important.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/01/2021

FROM THE LANCET:

COVID-19 vaccines in the age of the delta variant

”…In 2020, early signals of high vaccine efficacy against both symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection initially suggested that COVID-19 vaccines could be used to efficiently suppress viral transmission. However, with the emergence and rapid global spread of the delta variant, it now seems likely that vaccination will not provide complete protection against acquisition and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which will continue to circulate for the foreseeable future….Consequently, the goal of population-level vaccination has shifted to protecting both adults and children from developing severe disease, thereby preventing the excess mortality and stress on health-care systems that were observed in the early phases of the pandemic. ..”

(J. Harris: This free Lancet contains several interesting articles regarding Covid.

The upshot of most of the recent articles that I have seen indicate that we will need to continue with GOOD MASKS, GOOD VENTILATION, CLEAN HANDS, SPACING, AND CROWD AVOIDANCE WHILE ACQUIRING  ALL BOOSTERS AS RECOMMENDED. I TRY TO AVOID CONTACT WITH UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS OR PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL WIDELY. 

FROM BECKER:

1. CDC expands COVID booster recommendations amid omicron concerns

2. 19 countries reporting omicron cases (as of as of Nov. 30 at 5:45 a.m. ET.)

FROM HOPKINS:

‘…The most effective individual preventive measures continue to include being fully vaccinated, wearing a well-fitting mask, frequent handwashing, avoiding crowds, and isolating if symptomatic, diagnosed with COVID-19, or exposed to someone with COVID-19. On a population level, it is imperative, now more than ever, that wealthy nations provide the support and resources necessary to help vaccinate, diagnose, and treat people in low- and middle-income nations (LMICs)….

”Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and J&J-Janssen—as well as laboratories worldwide—are working to determine how well the current vaccine formulations hold up against Omicron. Data from these experiments are expected within the next 2 weeks. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna said they could have variant-specific booster doses ready to ship in about 3 months. It will likely take several weeks before we know if current vaccine formulations are effective against Omicron, but they are expected to continue to help reduce the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. As a result, primary vaccination and booster doses are recommended for every person who is eligible to receive one…

”To date, the companies that make the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have refused to share information and technology that would enable other companies to make generic versions. South Africa-based Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is working to replicate Moderna’s vaccine formula, but that process could take 3 years. Notably, the company could begin manufacturing a replica within a year if Moderna supplied the relevant information. Until a vaccine formula is hacked or shared, only a handful of countries will continue to manufacture vaccines—including China, several European nations, India, and the US—furthering supply chain bottlenecks…”

COVID NUMBERS FROM SURROUNDING COUNTIES BACK TO MARCH 2020:

(J. Harris: Our usual post holiday bump up should be here is a week or so. These cases are most likely to be Delta. Late Dec and early-mid Jan cases will be Delta and ? Omicron. Let’s hope that Omicron doesn’t get here and that it is not as virulent as feared.

A good friend and Houston area Internist who has helped me in the past feels that “I NEED TO STRESS THE VALUE OF WEARING MASKS. In his opinion, MASKS are the most important defense that people have, and are at least as important as Vaccinations. His opinion is based on many break-through cases that he has seen in his vaccinated patients who have become ill with Covid despite ”being careful.”

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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Feds find true cause of the February blackouts

Tomlinson: Feds find true cause of the February blackouts, Texas officials deflect blame

Houston Chronicle

Federal investigators have revealed how recklessly unprepared natural gas suppliers triggered 58 percent of the power outages during the February freeze, proving once again that Texas officials are misleading the public.

The 300-page report released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission verifies what University of Texas at Austin experts reported in July. Texans did not spend four days in the cold without electricity due to a paperwork snafu, as then-chair of the Texas Railroad Commission Christi Craddick claimed at a legislative hearing.

The real culprits were natural gas facilities that froze and failed to deliver fuel to power plants, triggering a deadly, four-day crisis. In July, I demanded that Craddick withdraw her slander against electricity companies and crack down on the natural gas industry she regulates.

Click here to read the complete story

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/27/2021

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/27/2021

HELLO:MORE VARIANT ACUTE INFORMATION (OMICRON)

HARRISON COUNTY IS QUIET

 A Claim of Herd Immunity Reignites Debate Over U.K. Covid Policy

”’ ….Previous projections about herd immunity have proven wrong, Professor Spector said, and the assumptions about the preconditions for it keep getting revised. In 2020, scientists said a country could achieve herd immunity if roughly 60 percent of its population were immune. More recently, scientists have revised the estimate to 85 percent, or higher — and some argue that in the United States, at least, it may never be reached…..“We act like Europe is so much worse, but we’ve just accepted a high death toll and higher infection rates for longer,…”  

MORE OMICRON VARIANT INFORMATION FROM NYT BY CARL ZIMMER 

”…As the coronavirus replicates inside people, new mutations constantly arise. Most provide the virus with no new advantage. When worrisome mutations do emerge, the World Health Organization uses Greek letters to name the variants. The first “variant of concern,” Alpha, appeared in Britain in late 2020, soon followed by Beta in South Africa….Omicron first came to light in Botswana, where researchers at the Botswana Harvard H.I.V. Reference Laboratory in Gaborone sequenced the genes of coronaviruses from positive test samples. They found some samples sharing about 50 mutations not found in such a combination before. So far, six people have tested positive for Omicron in Botswana, according to an international database of variants…(Some earlier variants, such as Beta and Mu, had evolved a strong ability to evade immune defenses. But they never became a serious threat to the world because they proved to be poor at transmitting)…The researchers found more than 30 mutations on a protein, called spike, on the surface of the coronavirus. The spike protein is the chief target of antibodies that the immune system produces to fight a Covid-19 infection. So many mutations raised concerns that Omicron’s spike might be able to evade antibodies produced by either a previous infection or a vaccine….It turned out that spike-negative samples were surging across South Africa, suggesting that Omicron had a competitive advantage over Delta, which until now had been the dominant variant in the country….Theodora Hatziioannou, a virologist at Rockefeller University in New York, said that Omicron’s distinctive mutations raise the possibility that it first evolved inside the body of someone with H.I.V., whose immune systems may have been too weak to quickly fight it off. “Your responses are just not as good….Instead of getting cleared away in a matter of days, the virus may have lingered in that person for months, spending the time gaining the ability to evade antibodies. “This virus has seen a lot of antibodies,” Dr. Hatziioannou said….Still, vaccines are expected to provide some protection against Omicron because they stimulate not only antibodies but immune cells that can attack infected cells, Dr. Hatziioannou said. Mutations to the spike protein do not blunt that immune-cell response….And booster shots could potentially broaden the range of antibodies people make, enabling them to fight against new variants like Omicron. “We will see, because these studies are only now ongoing,…Even if Omicron does prove more transmissible than other variants,…vaccines would most likely remain vital weapons against it, both by slowing down its spread and making it more likely that people who do get sick only have mild Covid-19 instead of needing to go to the hospital.

(J. Harris: Medical Magazine and websites will lag behind good newspapers and NPR with new Covid information. TV can be helpful but not complete enough. For $1.00 per week for the first year, you can subscribe to the New York Times digital editions. The Washington Post, DMN, LA, and Houston papers are not as good for COVID NEWS in my opinion. You never have to look at editorial unless you wish. NPR is free with contributions optional and is excellent but not as complete as the NYT which is, in my opinion, the absolute very best current source for  Covid information) .

Merck says its antiviral pill is less effective in a final analysis. BY REBECCA ROBBINS

”….The pharmaceutical company Merck said on Friday that in a final analysis of a clinical trial, its antiviral pill [molnupiravir]reduced the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk Covid patients by 30 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 50 percent….“The reduction in hospitalization is a little bit less, but there is still a big mortality benefit if you start early

[OTHER TYPES OF ACCOUTE COVID TREATMENT:]

Monoclonal antibody drugs, which are typically administered intravenously in the United States, have been found to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by at least 70 percent. Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which was found in a clinical trial to cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent, could become available within weeks. Fluvoxamine, a common and inexpensive antidepressant, appears to be about as effective as molnupiravir.

FIND VACCINE PROVIDERS: http://www.vaccines.gov75670      (or your zip code)

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75688

Opinion: My Tax Plan

 

By George Smith  — November 27, 2021

I wrote up a tax plan decades ago that went something like this (allowing for inflation):

Folks making $25,000 )

($50,000 couple) pays no federal income tax. The tax structure breaks down something like this:

Individuals:

$25,000-$50,000

10%

$50-100,000

15%

$100-$250,000

20%

$250-$500,000

25%

$500-1 million

30%

$1-20 million

32.5%

$20-100 million

35%

Over $100 million

40%

Only deductions

are for one mortgage (limited amount), college tuition (only for those making less than $100,000) and charitable contributions (maximum allowable for deductions $50,000).

Small businesses, corporations on a similar sliding scale.

Of course, the numbers are a moving target and debatable  but big corporations and the uber-rich not paying taxes is not an option.

Under this plan, based on current demographics in earning power, the government would have more than enough money to fix societal ills, balance the budget and buy every kid a pony.

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P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

The Leaves are Falling Josey’s is Calling

 

 When it comes to barrel racing the work never stops, which is why barrel racers from across the country are headed to the Josey Ranch in Marshall, Texas. Home of legendary World Champions R.E. and Martha Josey students are coming to learn from these champions right in their backyard.

Coming from nine different states, over 160 students and their families will be attending clinics at the Ranch in the next two weeks. Students will be working on barrel racing techniques, training methods, and learning how to practice perfect with R.E., Martha, and their impeccable staff in the Fall and Thanksgiving Barrel Racing Clinics November 19-21 and November 26-28.

“We love teaching students all year, but the fall and thanksgiving clinics are always a little special,” explained Martha’s nephew and Josey instructor Gary Arthur. “We have taught thousands of students in the last 54 years, and they have all become part of the Josey Family. When we get to see returning students around the holiday times it’s a special experience, not to mention meeting new students and adding to the ranch family. They love coming to beautiful East Texas!”

Along with R.E., Martha, and Gary, the Josey Ranch has a very talented staff that works through the Ranch year-round to teach the future generation of barrel racers. Many of the staff members not only live in Marshall but drive in from across Texas and Louisiana. The staff includes Ty and Lisa Mitchell, Terry Thomas, Pamella Randall, Suvoy and Cheryl Rosser, Ashley Schenck, Elaine Lambino, Whitney Bettis, Marj Dahle, Micah Sebranke, Keely Henry, Luke Cruze, and Haley Coleman.

The Josey Ranch is always open to the public to offer shopping in the Josey Western Store, lunch at the concession stand, or family-friendly fun watching the barrel racers train through the clinics.  

Photo of Martha Josey teaching a student in the main arena.

Photo of Gary Arthur teaching a student in the main arena. 

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PO Box 721

Scottsville TX 75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/26/2021

HELLO,

FIND VACCINE PROVIDERS: http://www.vaccines.gov75670      (or your zip code)

NEW AFRICAN VARIANT

”…scientists are at work to study the new B.1.1.529 variant,…..In December last year, South Africa was the first nation to report the appearance of the Beta variant, which has now spread to nearly 70 countries. Scientists have been concerned that some clinical trials have shown that vaccines offer less protection against the Beta variant. Since then, the more virulent and aggressive Delta variant has spread all over the world…..In the past two days, scientists detected the variant after observing an increase in infections in South Africa’s economic hub surrounding Johannesburg. So far only a few dozen cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana…..This variant did surprise us — it has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected….

What scientists know about the new variant, B.1.1.529.

”…..Scientists are still unclear on how effective vaccines will be against the new variant flagged by a team in South Africa, which displays mutations that might resist neutralization. Only several dozen cases have been fully identified so far in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel……B.1.1.529, has a “very unusual constellation of mutations,” with more than 30 in the spike protein alone,….. the protein that helps to create an entry point for the coronavirus to infect human cells — the new variant has 10 mutations. In comparison, the Beta variant has three and the Delta variant two…..The new variant has largely been detected among young people, the cohort that also has the lowest vaccination rate in South Africa…..While cases of the variant are mainly concentrated in the country’s economic hub, particularly in the country’s administrative capital, Pretoria, it is “only a matter of time” before the virus spreads across the country as schools close and families prepare to travel for the holiday season,….

THE COVID FABLE

More Covid Mysteries (July 2021)

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75688