J. Harris: Some of the numbers remain slow to be tabulated, but Texas Department of Health Services does a nice, accurate job. Sometimes I transcribe it incorrectly and I have real trouble keeping up with the date.
States ranked by COVID-19 test positivity rates: Feb. 15
1st South Africa variant reinfection case confirmed; UK variant likely deadlier, scientists say — 6 COVID-19 updates
(J. Harris: Several short, crisp Becker Hospital selections. I don’t know who does their Covid work, but they do a first rate job. Not infrequently, I pass along their selections which save me considerable time.)
1. How ‘Killer’ T Cells Could Boost COVID Immunity in Face of New Variants (Nature) Concerns about coronavirus variants that might be partially resistant to antibody defences have spurred renewed interest in other immune responses that protect against viruses. In particular, scientists are hopeful that T cells — a group of immune cells that can target and destroy virus-infected cells — could provide some immunity to COVID-19, even if antibodies become less effective at fighting the disease. Researchers are now picking apart the available data, looking for signs that T cells could help to maintain lasting immunity.
2. Researchers Propose that Humidity from Masks May Lessen Severity of COVID-19 (NIH) The study, led by researchers in the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), found that face masks substantially increase the humidity in the air that the mask-wearer breathes in. This higher level of humidity in inhaled air, the researchers suggest, could help explain why wearing masks has been linked to lower disease severity in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, because hydration of the respiratory tract is known to benefit the immune system.
3. Researchers Propose That Humidity from Masks May Lessen Severity of COVID-19 Masks help protect the people wearing them from getting or spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but now researchers from the National Institutes of Health have added evidence for yet another potential benefit for wearers: The humidity created inside the mask may help combat respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. The study, led by researchers in the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), found that face masks substantially increase the humidity in the air that the mask-wearer breathes in. This higher level of humidity in inhaled air, the researchers suggest, could help explain why wearing masks has been linked to lower disease severity in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, because hydration of the respiratory tract is known to benefit the immune system. (NIH, 2/12/2021)
A lone infection may have changed the course of the pandemic
““We can’t afford to keep giving the virus more and more chances to mutate to new, stable configurations,…keeping the current restrictions until we really get transmission down is very, very important.”
(J. Harris: Readable, seems valid, interesting.)
TOM ALLIN sent me the following WEATHER HISTORY:
on record for the ArkLaTex
By Jeff Castle | February 13, 2016 at 2:28 AM CST – Updated July 25 at 5:00 AM
A chill is coming for the weekend after seeing well above average temperatures the last couple of days. 50s on Saturday may feel chilly after we almost hit 80 on Thursday, but that’s nothing compared to what the ArkLaTex was dealing with at this time 117 years ago.
In what became known as the ‘Great Arctic Outbreak’ of February 1899, many locations in the south plummeted to levels that haven’t been seen since.
The ArkLaTex was included in the record cold. On February 12th 1899, the mercury fell to 5 below zero in Shreveport…the coldest temperature ever recorded in the city! This was part of a 5 day stretch of record cold that hasn’t been matched since.
The cold snap began in earnest on the 9th when after starting at 17 in the morning in Shreveport, the high temperature didn’t even get above freezing. What followed was multiple days of record cold for both low and high temperatures. It wasn’t until 5 days later on Valentine’s Day that we climbed back above freezing. And then in typical ArkLaTex fashion it was in the 70s just 1 week later.
The record low temperature for the entire state of Louisiana was also set during this cold snap. Minden fell to -16 degrees on the morning of the 13th.
Weather data from that far back is hard to come by, but here are a few reports of the lowest temperatures from other locations around the ArkLaTex during the record setting cold.
-6 Mansfield, LA
-14 Plain Dealing, LA
-6 Robeline, LA
-15 Ruston, LA
-8 Stamps, AR
-9 Marshall, TX
This little snippet from the February 16, 1899 edition of the Bossier Banner kind of says it all about how people in Plain Dealing were handling the cold.
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