From Hopkins Selections”

1. In Sweden, Infections and Calls for a Lockdown Are Rising (New York Times) Sweden has been an outlier in the pandemic: It eschewed lockdowns and kept restaurants, bars, schools, movie theaters and gyms mostly open. And while death rates were high compared to its Nordic neighbors, they were comparable to those of larger European countries.

2. British officials identify coronavirus mutations, but significance remains unclear

 British Officials Identify Coronavirus Mutations, But Significance Remains Unclear (The Washington Post) As vaccines are rolling out, the coronavirus is on the move as well, not merely spreading but also mutating, and possibly becoming more transmissible. There is no evidence that these changes are making the virus deadlier, but new research has provided evidence that the virus is not a static target of vaccines and will need to be watched closely to see how it responds to therapeutic interventions and the human immune system.

Buyer beware: inflated claims of sensitivity for rapid COVID-19 tests

The USA continues to face formidable challenges in making testing accessible for all because efforts to scale up COVID-19 testing have fallen short…The sensitivity and specificity of these tests have been presented by manufacturers in a way that inflates these performance characteristics… the performance of rapid antigen tests has not been evaluated for detection of asymptomatic infections or during the incubation phase. The dangers of disregarding or misunderstanding the imperfections in test sensitivity are evidenced by the outbreak that unfolded in the White House, which relied exclusively on rapid antigen screening as a sufficient measure to prevent transmission.

Don’t repeat the mistakes of past vaccine distribution efforts

(This is an excellent and understandable article concerning Covid vaccine distribution and administration. You can read it in 5 min. We are going to have some hiccups as we give and get the vaccine.Here are some high points, many of which I had never considered.) 

“I’m surprised — though perhaps I shouldn’t be — at the relative lack of attention being given to the vaccine supply chain. Much of the talk has focused on the development and testing of the new Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines and, to varying degrees, how they will be financed. Talk about how they will be delivered has been comparatively limited and vague.

“Routine vaccine delivery is one thing. Getting massive amounts of the population vaccinated as quickly as possible is completely different. Current vaccine supply chains aren’t designed to vaccinate so many people so quickly. Add in the problem that most existing supply chains don’t currently have the capability of storing and transporting vaccines at -90 degrees F and it becomes immediately apparent that current supply chains aren’t adequate for Covid-19 vaccines.

‘This is further complicated by the fact that there will likely be more than one vaccine on the market and that, in the case of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first dose of the vaccine may be different from the second one. All of this will necessitate an integrated information system that can keep track of who has received the first dose of which vaccine and when they need to be reached for a second dose of the appropriate vaccine.

 ‘One thing is for sure — plans will change. As we saw in 2009, the production schedules for the H1N1 flu vaccines changed from week to week. As a result, we had to continuously update our models to account for delays in vaccine availability.

“Vaccines don’t just jump from their containers into the arms of the recipients. A number of different accessories are needed to deliver them, including syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, rubber gloves, and other personal protective equipment to protect the personnel administering the vaccine, anything that’s needed for record-keeping, and more.

“The supply chain needs to reach those in lower-income neighborhoods, distant rural locations, and religious, cultural, or social groups that feel separate or disenfranchised….”


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