I Have A Dream

By Ron Munden – 2/18/2021

2021 has proved one thing – Texas is unprepared for cold weather.  I am one of the lucky ones. I have power currently.  I do not have the internet, so I have lots of time to write about the past.

I don’t dream often.  At least I do not remember my dreams very much.  When I do dream it is often the same dream.

In the dream – I am always carrying a football going for a touchdown.  I take a hit and go down just inches short of the goal line.  The outcome of the dream never changes.

My football career started on a Saturday afternoon in June 1954.  That was the day for Little League tryouts in Marshall Texas.  I have been practicing baseball with my friend Charles McIntire for weeks prior to this day.  At noon Charles’ dad drove us to sign-up for the tryouts.  He dropped us off and drove home.  All was going well until I found out that it cost $2 to register.  I had no money.  I panicked, put my baseball glove under my arm and ran home from the Little League park to 902 East Burleson.

By the time I arrived home my dad had come home from work.  He ask me why I was home.  I explained.  He seemed concerned but not mad at me.  He just said, “Get in the car.”

I assumed he was driving me back to the Little League park, but I was wrong.  Instead, he drove to Logan and Whaley Sporting Goods Store and bought a football.  The rest of the afternoon he and I passed the football in the backyard.

During one of our breaks my dad told me what my future was going to look like.  He said that he did not have the money to send me to college, but I was going to college on a football scholarship and I was going to be an engineer.  He then said that if I did not do this, I was going you spend the rest of my life working in the body shop.  Since I have been working summers in the body shop since I was 9-years old, I knew exactly what that meant, and I also knew I did not want that life.

While it might be blind luck, what dad told me happened just like he said.  However we lived in a railroad town, I had never met an engineer and I really did not know what an engineer was, I spent the next couple of years thinking I was going to spend my life driving trains.

My father telling me that I was going to play football came as a surprise.  I had never thought about playing football but that fall my dad took me to sign up for midget football.

My first year of football could not be rated as a big success.  Football is a contact sport and I hated hitting and being hit. I have always been blessed with speed, but I used that speed to run away from action, not toward it.  So that first year I played bench warmer.  I hated playing football but I hated thought of telling my father I was quitting much more.

I continued holding the well-deserved position of bench warmer through the 7th and 8th grade.  But something happened in the 8th grade.  I changed from hating contact and hitting to loving it. The high point of my 8th grade year was overhearing a 9th grade player let his friend I really hit hard.

I was an undiagnosed dyslectic throughout grade school thru graduate school.  I only found out later in life.  Now I understand why school was so difficult for me during my early years.

Though grade school and the first two years of junior high I hated school.  I dreaded going to school every day.  I was at the bottom of my class and my twin sister Carol was at the top.

Finally, in the 9th grade I found something I was good at – algebra. I had always understood all of the concepts and processes of arithmetic, but I often got the answer wrong because of transposing numbers.  In algebra it is hard to transpose an “x” or “y”. 

In football, after three years of bench warming, I made the starting lineup.

My high school football years were good but not great.  I played a lot and I did make all-district my senior year. I got to play because I was fast not because I was big.  I ended my high school senior at 6 foot 1 inch and 142 pounds. 

I never thought about where I would go to college.  I knew the school would choose me by offering me a scholarship or I would not go to college.  I quickly found that very few schools wanted to offer a football scholarship to a 142-pound halfback.  Because of my speed I did get track scholarship offers from some major schools but at that time track scholarships were only half-scholarships and that was not an option.  I also knew my father wanted me to play football.

That left the junior colleges, Kilgore and Tyler JCs were talking to me.

Fortunately, Bob Mason, a Marshall coach, took me under his wing.  No one in my family had been to college so I knew nothing about college and even how to apply.

Coach Mason was coaching at Marshall but had announced that he was leaving to take a coaching position at Austin College in Sherman.  He asks me if I would like to see Austin College.  Of course, I said yes.  He and his wife took me to AC for a weekend.  At the end of the weekend, he asked me if I would like to go to school there.  The rest is history.  He helped me complete all the paperwork and I was off to Austin College in the fall of 1961.

I arrive at Austin College in August to start two-a-day workouts.  I was probably in the best shape of my life.  I spent most of the summer building fence but quit two weeks before leaving for college.  I sent 8 to 10 hours each day working out at the old Mav stratum with other guys that were also headed off to college.

I was up to 152 pounds when I arrived at AC.  Even though I was small, I was the fastest player on the team and that earned me a starting position as defensive safety my freshman year.

Being a college athlete was a completely new experience for me.  I got to eat on the training table.  I got all the food I could eat and things that I had not eaten before. I don’t recall eating a baked potato before getting to AC but I had one every night after that first night. Between classes I would go to the gym and get high-cal chocolate drinks, I returned home to Marshall at Christmas weighing 195 pounds.  I was longer one of the small guys.

Coach Mason once told my father that he thought the more I played the better I played.  In track he registered me for the maximum number of events allowed in a track meet.  He must have passed that on to the head football coach, Coach Gass.

My sophomore year at AC, I continued to play defensive safety but also played running back on the offensive about half of the time.  I loved being on the field that much.  I reached 200 pounds that year which made me a more effective ball carrier.  Unfortunately, my ability to receive a pass did not improve.

My junior year at AC was my dream year.  It started with a bang – a bang I was not expecting.  Coach Gass always called the plays from the sideline and a player took the play to the huddle. The first game of the year, AC received the kickoff, and then I carried the ball the first 5 or 6 plays in a row, including a 45-yard run that was called back for clipping.  After the last play in the series, I was laying on the ground in the end zone and thinking “do I have enough energy left to walk off the field.”

After being on the sideline for a series or two, I was back in the game, but I never carried the ball two plays in a row for the rest of the game.  At half-time I remember sitting against the wall in the locker room sipping on coke from a cup.  The coach was discussing the game plan for the second half.  At one point he looked at me and said, “Horse can you keep running?”  When though I was so tired it felt like my arms were asleep, I said, “yes sir.”  I must not be very convincing.  I only got to carry the ball a few times the second half but still went over 100-yard rushing for the game.

Things continued going well for the season and I racked up more 100-yard plus games.  The last game of the season I did pull a groin muscle, but I just slowed me down for that one game.  All-in-all it was a good season.  I was lucky enough to be named to the Dallas Morning News All-Texas Football Team and even started getting letters from some of the pro team.  At this point I only remember the San Francisco 49s and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Even though I had increased my weight to about 210, I had a successful track season recording a series of 9.7-hundred-yard dashes.

I was honored to be selected as the athlete of the year at Austin College.

It was a very good year.

Austin College is a well-respected liberal arts school, but I went there because I could get my education paid for not because I want a liberal art degree.  Remember, I was going to be an engineer.  My plans called for me to transfer to University of Texas, Austin at the end of the year three to work on my engineering degree.  I considered my athletic career over.

In the late spring of that year, I was contacted by the Head Football Coach and he suggested I consider coming back to AC for one more semester.  He outlined some of the benefits.  Almost immediately after that my father called and said he had been talking to the Coach.  He said that he really wanted me to go back to AC for a semester and if I decided to go back, he could afford to buy me a new car.  At this point all of my cars had been cars that had been totaled in a wrench and repaired by us at the body shop.

So just like that my plans changed, and I was going back to AC for a semester and I would be driving a new car.

Maybe if I had been honest with people, they would not have pushed me to come back to AC.  I never told my coaches or my father that my groin injury had not fully gone away.  I could sprint because you don’t use the groin muscle but when I moved to the side, I could still feel it.  I just thought if I gave it enough time it would heal.

The 1st of July was when I started training for football each year.  1964 was no different but the day after my first workout was quite different.  After running several sets of sharp cuts, it was clear that the groin injury was still there.  I knew I had a problem.  I called the coaches at AC.  They said to come up to Sherman immediately and they would send me to an athletic doctor.

After the doctor did his exam and a series of x-rays, he said that part of the groin muscle had pulled loose from the bone taking a piece of bone with it. He said it could be repaired with surgery, but I would not be ready by the start of the football season.  Surgery was out. So, they started treatment with shots and physical theory.

My senior season was not a good season.  I played every game, but my numbers did not match by junior year.  I could run but not without pain.  My senior year the routine became to play the game on Saturday and run like nothing was wrong.  By Sunday morning the groin was very sore and hurt with each step.  At 1pm each Sunday I met the trainer at the field house, and we began therapy. Therapy was mainly hot water, ultrasound and an occasion shot. This continued through the week.  My workout was limited to mainly running in straight lines.  By Friday I felt fairly good.  Saturday, we started the routine over.

No one ever said anything, but I know I disappointed a lot of people that year.

After the season ended there was one more chapter.  In December.  I was called by the Head Coach.  He said a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to talk to me.  They gave me the number.  I called him.  The scout was a nice gay, and we had a series of conversations.  I kept wondering why anyone in their right mind would offer a free agent contract to anyone that had such a disastrous season.  Finally, during a conversation, he said that they were looking for a running back that was over 200 pound and had sub 10 flat speed.  So, at 210 with 9.7 speed, I got in the door.

I had a conflict.  Although the money was good, there were a lot of negatives – I would have needed surgery, I would have left college without a degree, and statistically the chances of me making the team were not good.  

My coaches did not try to influence me but my dad wanted me to sign the contract.  Finally, I told dad that I was going to engineering school and my football days were behind me.

I spent 2 ½ year at UT and 3 year at UC Berkeley and never attended a football game. During the past 50 years, I may have watched 6 games on TV.  I loved playing football but watching is just not the same.

I wonder why I keep having my dream.


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It seems we got lucky with the ice. Good!

Christus postpones weekend COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Longview

“Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center is postponing its planned vaccine hub clinic in Longview, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, because of the winter storm….According to a statement Wednesday from Christus, those with Saturday appointments to receive their second dose of the vaccine will be rescheduled to the same time slot on March 5. Those with appointments Sunday to receive their first dose of the vaccine will be rescheduled to the same time slot March 7. Individuals do not need to take any action at this time.”


1. Programs Help COVID Long Haulers Recover

(J. Harris: A general Webb, MD article easy to read, but with good references which includes #2 below which I believe we looked at in Jan. but which is extensive and worth a revisit) 

2. 6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study

“At 6 months after acute infection, COVID-19 survivors were mainly troubled with fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression. Patients who were more severely ill during their hospital stay had more severe impaired pulmonary diffusion capacities and abnormal chest imaging manifestations, and are the main target population for intervention of long-term recovery.”

Effect of a Single High Dose of Vitamin D3 on Hospital Length of Stay in Patients With Moderate to Severe COVID-19

“Findings  In this randomized clinical trial that involved 240 hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, a single dose of 200 000 IU of vitamin D3, compared with placebo, did not significantly reduce hospital length of stay (median of 7.0 vs 7.0 days; unadjusted hazard ratio for hospital discharge, 1.07).”

Air Cleaners, HVAC Filters, and Coronavirus (COVID-19)


1. Convalescent Plasma Treatment is Associated with Lower Mortality and Better Outcomes in High Risk COVID-19 Patients – Propensity Score Matched Case-control Study (International Journal of Infectious Diseases) A significantly lower mortality rate was observed in the group of patients treated with CP. Age, presence of cardiac insufficiency, active cancer, requirement of ventilator, and length of hospitalization were significantly increasing the risk of death in both groups. Our study shows, that CP brings better outcomes when administered in the earlier stage of high-risk COVID-19 disease.

2. The Coronavirus is Here to Stay — Here’s What that Means (Nature) But failure to eradicate the virus does not mean that death, illness or social isolation will continue on the scales seen so far. The future will depend heavily on the type of immunity people acquire through infection or vaccination and how the virus evolves. Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds are also endemic: but a combination of annual vaccines and acquired immunity means that societies tolerate the seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks and social distancing.

Millions of Jobs Probably Aren’t Coming Back, Even After the Pandemic Ends (Washington Post) Millions of jobs that have been shortchanged or wiped out entirely by the coronavirus pandemic are unlikely to come back, economists warn, setting up a massive need for career changes and retraining in the United States.

3. Millions of Jobs Probably Aren’t Coming Back, Even After the Pandemic Ends (Washington Post) Millions of jobs that have been shortchanged or wiped out entirely by the coronavirus pandemic are unlikely to come back, economists warn, setting up a massive need for career changes and retraining in the United States.


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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.)

Hopkins Selection:

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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What is up with Lindsey Graham?

By George Smith

There was a time when he loomed large over the main pack of GOP presidential contenders. He was a political comet, soundin like he was up-to-the-task competent, a man committed to a better America. Then, after being eviscerated by Trump’s broadsword tongue in the primaries, he embraced the liar-in-chief like a scared kindergartner holding onto his mommy at the school door.

Now, after Trump effectively divided the Republican Party into Trumpuppets and anti-Tremors,  Graham is doing his best asshat-duty routine to his fuhrer. There is no apparent reason for his pitiful mouthing.

I believe he is only concerned with … what? Not re-election (doesn’t run again til 2026), not history (his historical fate already set)…so what?

A marital indiscretion Donald is holding over his head? Financial impropriety? Photos of him and a labradoodle?

It’s head-scratching, for sure.

Come back to the light, Lindsey. If not all the way, then, at least, step out of the suffocating, Republican party-killing shadow cast by Trump..


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HELLO: If you’re busy or in a good mood, don’t read the second article today, or, maybe, ever. Happy Valentine Day. 

The COVID-19 Testing Toolkit

(J. Harris: This is worth downloading to use as a  reference. NEJM sent is out for physicians, but it’s nice and basic. 

HOW COVID MAKES YOU SICK (This material will not be included on the final exam–it’ FYI)

J.Harris: Hobart Burton sent me this article and explanation. The article itself is exceedingly complicated. Here’s how Hobart explains it:

“This article, from Oak Ridge Labs…may be one explanation of why your buddies described intubating a C19 patient was like trying to intubate a brick. The virus instigated dysregulating of the Renin-angiotensin system (RAS), as in down regulating the ACE receptors and up regulating the ACE2 receptors, which created a bradykinin storm in the lungs which caused them to fill up with a substance called hyaluronic acid, creating a hydrogel.  This stuff can absorb 1000 times its weight in water and cause a jello-like substance in the lungs, preventing oxygen intake and preventing CO2 outflow. Nasty. Of course, this also explains many other symptoms of the virus.”  Thank you, Hobart.

J. Harris: The portion of the article that follows describes the clinical aspects of the Covid cases. Most cases are without symptoms and the infected person does not even know he’s sick. This bit of the article is a description of what might happen to some patients, and some or all of the manifestations of this horrible disease: 

Clinical aspects of COVID-19

“According to the CDC, the majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mild. Those that proceed to more severe forms present with fever, a non-productive cough that may result in hemoptysis and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms are myalgia, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, anorexia, and headache (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html). Reports from blood studies include leukopenia, eosinopenia, neutrophilia, elevated liver enzymes, C-reactive protein, and ferritin (Fan et al., 2020; Huang et al., 2020; Goyal et al., 2020). Furthermore, autopsies have reported extensive hyaline membrane formation in the lungs of COVID-19 patients …. Specifically, histological analysis of the lungs of a deceased COVID-19 patient showed organizing hyaline membranes in the early stages of alveolar lesions and prominent hyaline membranes in the exudative phase of diffuse alveolar damage… In a seperate post mortem study of lung tissue from COVID-19 patients, microscopic examination found ‘numerous hyaline membranes without evidence of interstitial organization’ … Furthermore, in another autopsy study of a COVID-19 patient, histological analysis found extensive hyaline membranes, which the authors interpreted as indicative of ARDS …. Finally, a meta-analysis showed that there was a statistically significant 4.6 fold difference [increase] in lung weight of COVID-19 patients versus controls, which they conclude is consistent with the HA-hydrogel formation known to occur in ARDS….

Although much focus has been on the lung due to the need for ventilator support of end-stage disease, COVID-19 also affects the intestine, liver, kidney, heart, brain, and eyes ...Nearly one-fifth of hospitalized patients experience cardiac injury… many of whom have had no history of cardiovascular problems prior to infection. Responses include acute myocardial injury, myocarditis, and arrhythmias …. that may be due to viral infection directly, which is consistent with high expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 in cardiac tissue… An important extension of the RAS[Renin/Antiotensin System] in controlling cardiac contraction and blood pressure is the potent inotrope apelin (APLN), which acts as an NO-dependent vasodilator when its receptor (APLNR) heterodimerizes with BDKRB1 (Bai et al., 2014). APLN (98 fold), APLNR (3190 fold) and BDKRB1 (2945 fold) are all upregulated in COVID-19 BAL. As with BK and ANG derived peptides, APLN is inactivated by Neprilysin (MME), which is significantly downregulated in the BAL samples from COVID-19 individuals (−16 fold). Therefore, increased APLN-signaling can be added to the imbalanced RAS. (I don’t know what any of this italicized portion means.)

In addition to cardiac dysfunction, neurological involvement in COVID-19 was revealed after an MRI assessment of COVID-19-positive patients with encephalopathy symptoms in France identified enhancement in leptomeningeal spaces and bilateral frontotemporal hypoperfusion … which are consistent with increased vascular permeabilization in the brain. Furthermore, earlier reports from China indicate [a lot of] of dizziness, headache, as well as taste and smell impairment …The most recent reports from the United States and China indicate that 30–50% of COVID-19 patients experience adverse gastrointestinal symptoms …. Direct infection by the virus and damage to the kidney was also observed, specifically in the proximal tubules … These latter two findings are not surprising given the higher expression of ACE2 in these tissues compared to tissues overall …, which would facilitate infection by the virus. Finally, COVID-19 patients also frequently display skin rashes, including ‘covid-toe’ that appear to be related to dysfunction of the underlying vasculature.

This diagram explains it all. What a simple solution. It makes one wish to be a Virologist?


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SARS-CoV-2 variants and ending the COVID-19 pandemic

(J. Harris: This is a short, readable Lancet article that spells out the 4 things that we need to do regarding Covid now and in the future. It also helps that the CDC, NIH, and WHO are being reorganised, better led, and focused. These doctors and their associated University programs are the best Virologists in the world.)


Blood thinners as a early COVID-19 treatment could improve mortality rates, study says

The 30-day mortality rate among those who received anticoagulants early was 14 percent, compared to 19 percent among patients who did not.(J. Harris: A VA study.)

Amazon hires founders of COVID-19 testing startup

Amazon has hired several employees of Caspr Biotech, a COVID-19 testing startup, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 among Amazon workers …

Caspr Biotech’s cofounders, CEO Franco Goytia and Chief Strategy Officer Carla Gimenez, were among the employees hired by Amazon. They joined the company in December and are working on a project codenamed Artemis…Amazon said last year it had begun building a lab to test workers for COVID-19. In February, the company said it was testing about 700 workers an hour, according to Bloomberg. 

Vaccines Alone Are Not Enough to Beat COVID

Colchicine reduces the risk of COVID-19-related complications

(J. Harris: Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory drug that is most often used for the treatment of acute gout. [If a red hot swollen joint doesn’t respond to Colchicine, then the arthritis isn’t caused by Gout, or by Pseudogout which is rarer]. Colchicine is not the same as Quinine or Chloroquine, both of which are anti-malaria drugs, neither of which help in Covid treatment. They are all old, plant source medications. 

 Colchicine used to cost $0.09/tablet. However, drug companies and the FDA had deemed it to be an “Orphan Drug” and it now sells for $4.95 per tab. 

When I say something good about Federal Agencies concerned with medicine like the CDC and the NIH, I do not include the FDA, which needs to be completely reorganized and managed, in my opinion. If you have questions, read “Pharma” which is a book that taught me just how little I know about the development, manufacture, and marketing of medicines. It also totally surprised me about the extent of the almost total infestation of the pharmacological businesses with greed, larceny, and inhumanity. Also, “Pharma” taught me that corporate lawyers can structure and stack and commingle corporate entities in devious ways that allow them to commit crimes — and to cover up almost anything. This book explains the narcotic crisis that we are still involved with, how it happened, and who caused it.)


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Benefits and Safety of Nasal Saline Irrigations in a Pandemic—Washing COVID-19 Away

Good Summary: SARS-CoV-2 is a highly virulent respiratory virus with significant presence in the nasal and nasopharyngeal mucosa. Hypertonic nasal saline, which facilitates mucociliary clearance, likely decreases viral burden through physical removal. Other additives, such as povidone-iodine [Betadine], may aid in eliminating viral particles within the nasal cavity and nasopharynx prior to active infection. Given available evidence, saline irrigations with or without indicated additives may be safe to use in the presence of COVID-19. This is critical to communicate for patients who already use these therapies for rhinosinusitis management. Importantly, the lavage fluid, rinse bottle, and surrounding surfaces may become contaminated and serve as a source of infection in the future. Thus, patients should practice good hand hygiene and decontaminate the surrounding surfaces (eg, sink, counters) and plastic rinse bottle to prevent subsequent infection. Given the safety profile of these therapies, HS nasal irrigations should be encouraged for patients and health care workers especially. For our patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, continued use of steroid irrigations should be encouraged. Emerging research is expected to shed further light on saline irrigation’s protective and therapeutic effect on COVID-19.

(J. Harris: We previously looked at 0.5% Betadine nose solutions, mixed at home, which is said to work well. I’ll probably review the subject soon

Fully vaccinated people can skip Covid quarantines, CDC says


1. Germany’s Merkel Warns Coronavirus Variants Could ‘Destroy’ Gains Against Pandemic (NPR) German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government’s decision to extend a COVID-19 lockdown into March, as she issued a stark warning that new strains of the coronavirus “may destroy any success” already achieved in keeping the pandemic in check. Merkel told lawmakers that the agreement between the federal government and state leaders to extend a nationwide lockdown until March 7, with an option to gradually reopen schools, day care centers and hairdressers earlier, was a prudent measure.

2. COVID-19 Immune Signatures Reveal Stable Antiviral T Cell Function Despite Declining Humoral Responses (Cell) The role of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity, its relationship to antibodies, and pre-existing immunity against endemic coronaviruses (huCoV), which has been hypothesized to be protective, were investigated in 82 healthy donors (HDs), 204 recovered (RCs), and 92 active COVID-19 patients (ACs). ACs had high amounts of anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid and spike IgG but lymphopenia and overall reduced antiviral T cell responses due to the inflammatory milieu, expression of inhibitory molecules (PD-1, Tim-3) as well as effector caspase-3, -7, and -8 activity in T cells. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity conferred by polyfunctional, mainly interferon-γ-secreting CD4+ T cells remained stable throughout convalescence, whereas humoral responses declined.  

(J. Harris: We will foll

3. Immunogenicity and Safety of Reduced-Dose Intradermal vs Intramuscular Influenza Vaccines: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (JAMA) In this systematic review and meta-analysis including 30 studies with a total of 177 780 participants, the seroconversion rates of low doses of intradermal influenza vaccine vs the 15-µg intramuscular dose for each of the H1N1, H3N2, and B strains were not statistically significantly different. Seroprotection rates for the 9-µg and 15-µg intradermal doses were not statistically significantly different from the 15-µg intramuscular dose, except for the 15-µg intradermal dose for the H1N1 strain, which was significantly higher.

(J. Harris: A lower dose of the FLU vaccines produced adequate antibodies to the infection. The point here is that even after all these years, vaccine work for ubiquitous pathogens persists.)

Resurgence of COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil, despite high seroprevalence

(J. Harris: Uh oh? Why the recurrence. Good readable article with discussions concerning reinfection, ? lack of herd immunity development, and mutated Covid.)

The new SARS-CoV-2 lineages may drive a resurgence of cases in the places where they circulate if they have increased transmissibility compared with pre-existing circulating lineages and if they are associated with antigenic escape. For this reason, the genetic, immunological, clinical, and epidemiological characteristics of these SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be quickly investigated. Conversely, if resurgence in Manaus is due to waning of protective immunity, then similar resurgence scenarios should be expected in other locations. Sustained serological and genomic surveillance in Manaus and elsewhere is a priority, with simultaneous monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 reinfections and implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Determining the efficacy of existing COVID-19 vaccines against variants in the P.1 lineage and other lineages with potential immune escape variants is also crucial. Genotyping viruses from COVID-19 patients who were not protected by vaccination in clinical trials would help us to understand if there are lineage-specific frequencies underlying reinfection. The protocols and findings of such studies should be coordinated and rapidly shared wherever such variants emerge and spread.

Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants

(J. Harris: An immunocompromised patient provides a recycling and   mutation site, over and over and over.)


(J. Harris: Interesting read, full of confusing conditional  situations and explanations. Without computers, it would take years to get all this data localized and almost understandable–they are using a Dutch system. To me, it looks as if the Russian Vaccine works pretty well and has had few side effects so far. This was published in Lancet, a British medical journal which is well respected.)

“…Our interim analysis of the randomized, controlled, phase 3 trial of Gam-COVID-Vac in Russia has shown high efficacy, immunogenicity, and a good tolerability profile in participants aged 18 years or older… The vaccine was well tolerated,..Although the study was not designed to assess the efficacy of a single-dose regimen, our early starting point allows us to observe a possible partial protective effect of a single dose…Our interim analysis of this phase 3 trial of Gam-COVID-Vac has shown promising results( 91·6% … efficacious against COVID-19 (from day 21 after first dose, the day of receiving second dose).) …Our results also showed that the vaccine was 100%  efficacious against severe COVID-19, although this was a secondary outcome so the results are preliminary….In parallel with implementation of multiple clinical trials (in Russia, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, and India), the vaccine has already been released in Russia for use by the public, largely in at-risk populations, medical workers, and teachers, and as of Jan 23, 2021, more than 2 million doses of Gam-COVID-Vac have already been administered to the public…We are conducting

 research to investigate a single-dose regimen of the vaccine…” 


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Despite case numbers still raging and death tolls exceeding the country’s worst nightmares, Americans’ perception of their coronavirus risk is at its lowest since October, a new study finds. In related news, more states are easing their Covid-19 restrictions despite expert warnings that the US is not in the clear. Some of these relaxed restrictions also shield businesses from legal liability in case of Covid-19 transmission. That’s not the story in the UK, where the British government is considering whether to ban summer vacations until vaccinations are completed. And if you’re wondering, yes, it appears double masking really does work better. New data from the CDC shows wearing two masks can block 92.5% of potentially infectious particles.

North Dakota and South Dakota set global Covid records. How did they turn the tide?

“At least 1 in 9 South Dakotans and 1 in 7 North Dakotans have tested positive — twice as many cases per capita as in New York. … the real number is likely to be double that.”

(J. Harris: N. Dakota finally mandated masks. SD did not.)

Coronaphobia Is a New Disorder Emerging From the COVID-19 Pandemic—Here’s What You Need to Know

Rapid decline of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among infected healthcare workers

(J. Harris: This is worrisome and is the reason that I still wear a mask and avoid crowds — and will for the foreseeable future.) 


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(J. Harris: When you get your vaccination appointment, please cancel with all the other vaccine sites you have applied to. This will help other folks get vaccinated quicker.)

Safely Reopening Requires Testing, Tracing and Isolation, Not Just Vaccines

“[Like HIV] Until we can overcome these obstacles and ensure equitable delivery of vaccines and treatments once available across the globe, the fundamentals of controlling this virus remain as important as ever…Test, trace and isolate—and ultimately test, trace and treat once more treatments become available—is an efficient, sustainable way to control the virus, especially in contrast to last-resort emergency lockdown measures, which can erode the public support and trust necessary for the success of many other helpful public health measures, including vaccination and mask-wearing.

(J. Harris: This is a short article that takes me back a year when everyone was “planning” but only a few countries did everything right and are looking good right now. This is a short article that is easy to read and understand.)

Hopkins Suggestions:

1. Iran Starts COVID-19 Vaccinations with Sputnik V (Al Jazeera) Iran has launched its vaccination programme against COVID-19 with Russia’s Sputnik V. By order of President Hassan Rouhani, front-line healthcare workers are the first to receive the vaccine on Tuesday.

2. Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants

 3. Comprehensive Mapping of Mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 Receptor-binding Domain That Affect Recognition by Polyclonal Human Plasma Antibodies (Cell) The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 could impair recognition of the virus by human antibody-mediated immunity. To facilitate prospective surveillance for such evolution, we map how convalescent plasma antibodies are impacted by all mutations to the spike’s receptor-binding domain (RBD), the main target of plasma neutralizing activity. Binding by polyclonal plasma antibodies is affected by mutations in three main epitopes [: a molecular region on the surface of an antigen capable of eliciting an immune response and of combining with the specific antibody produced by such a response; an antigenic determinant] in the RBD, but longitudinal samples reveal the impact of these mutations on antibody binding varies substantially both among individuals and within the same individual over time.

(J. Harris: This is a good article. I could understand the summary and the introduction. This type of work in encouraging; we can handle the mutants.

4. Variant-proof Vaccines — Invest Now for the Next Pandemic (Nature) The rapid development and delivery of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines less than a year after the emergence of the disease is a huge success story. This was possible, in part, because of certain properties of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that favour vaccine design — in particular, the spike protein on the virus’s surface. This prompts the body to make protective neutralizing antibodies (proteins that bind to viruses and prevent them from infecting human cells). These are most likely to be responsible for the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines.


   Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1


   Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram

   Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour:



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Azithromycin in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomized, controlled, open-label, platform trial

“In patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, azithromycin did not improve survival or other prespecified clinical outcomes. Azithromycin use in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 should be restricted to patients in whom there is a clear antimicrobial indication.” (J. Harris: So, Z PAC doesn’t treat Covid.)

COVID-19 testing has become a “cash cow” for freestanding ERs in Texas, experts say. And it’s getting out of control.

Transmission of COVID-19 in 282 clusters in Catalonia, Spain: a cohort study

(A Spanish study that showed that a high viral load in an infected person caused the most spread and disease severity and onset was quicker, which is one explanation for why some individuals are so much sicker than other family members sick at the same time. The study showed infectivity occurred 5-7 days after exposure, but exposure to contacts with lower viral counts might take 12-14 days to produce infection. Most of what this study shows is about what you would expect, except  that the presence of cough was not too important nor was AGE. Toggle the article and read the summary if you are interested. Spain has much better tracking and tracing ability than does the USA.)

If You Get Covid-19, Here Are the Current Treatments Available

(J. Harris: This is a  readable article that is pretty close to being reliable. It points out that not everyone agrees with all of it; things are moving fast and some of the more reliable scientific studies take more time. Those studies are being done, however. )

Hopkins Suggestions:

1. GOOD NEWS: Vaccines are Curbing COVID: Data from Israel Show Drop in Infections (Nature) Good news from Israel. Researchers are seeing signs that COVID-19 vaccines are helping to curb infections and hospitalizations among older people, almost 6 weeks after shots were rolled out in that group. The country is the first to release data showing vaccines working in such a large group of people, following news two weeks ago that shots seemed to be reducing infections in vaccinated individuals. Close to 90% of people aged 60 and older in the country have received their first dose of Pfizer’s 2-dose vaccine so far. Now, data collected by Israel’s Ministry of Health show that there was a 41% drop in confirmed COVID-19 infections in that age group, and a 31% drop in hospitalizations from mid-January to early February.

2. Intranasal Influenza Vaccine Spurs Strong Immune Response in Phase 1 Study An experimental single-dose, intranasal influenza vaccine was safe and produced a durable immune response when tested in a Phase 1 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The investigational vaccine, called Ad4-H5-VTN, is a recombinant, replicating adenovirus vaccine designed to spur antibodies to hemagglutinin, a protein found on the surface of influenza viruses that attaches to human cells. The participants who received the vaccine intranasally or via tonsillar swab showed significantly higher H5-specific neutralizing antibody levels compared to the group receiving the vaccine capsule orally. (NIH, 2/3/2021)

(J. Harris: Next we need to find a similar vaccine for Covd, and we probably will, with time.)




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