HARRISON COUNTY FROM NYT:
AREA COVID TRACKER FROM NYT 26 JULY:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics released new Covid-19 guidance for schools on Monday that supports in-person learning and recommends universal masking in school of everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status — a stricter position than that taken this month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in all circumstances,” …
‘One of the main interventions put forward by the AAP is that all students over the age of 2 and all school staff should wear masks at school unless they have a medical or developmental condition that prohibits this.”’
(J. Harris: I agree with this Mask use in schools until the Delta wave dissipates. There is a lot of pressure being levied onto school board members in apposition to masks — mostly by folks who’ve never watched people die even when on a respirator.)
1. BEST SIGNS TO IDENTIFY COVID: LOSS OF SMELL AND TASTE—Anosmia, Ageusia, and Other COVID-19-like Symptoms in Association with a Positive SARS-CoV-2 Test, Across Six National Digital Surveillance Platforms: an Observational Study (Lancet Digital Health) Between April 1 and July 31, 2020, 514 459 tests from over 10 million respondents were recorded in the six surveillance platform datasets. Anosmia–ageusia was the strongest, most consistent symptom associated with a positive COVID-19 test (robust aggregated rank one, meta-analysed random effects OR 16·96, 95% CI 13·13–21·92). Fever (rank two, 6·45, 4·25–9·81), shortness of breath (rank three, 4·69, 3·14–7·01), and cough (rank four, 4·29, 3·13–5·88) were also highly associated with test positivity. The strong association of anosmia–ageusia with self-reported positive SARS-CoV-2 test was consistently observed, supporting its validity as a reliable COVID-19 signal, regardless of the participatory surveillance platform, country, phase of illness, or testing policy. These findings show that associations between COVID-19 symptoms and test positivity ranked similarly in a wide range of scenarios.
2. The Lambda Variant: What You Should Know And Why Experts Say Not To Panic (NPR) The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April. According to a database for scientists tracking coronavirus variants, fewer than 700 cases of the lambda variant have been sequenced in the U.S. so far out of more than 34 million coronavirus cases reported to date. But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. cases in the last four weeks have been identified as the lambda variant, according to GISAID, a repository for genome data.
3. EXPIRING VACCINES With demand for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination largely leveling off in the US over the past 3 weeks, millions of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses are set to expire in the next few months. Several states and some global health experts are calling for the excess doses to be redistributed to other countries, but so far the US government has rejected those requests, citing legal and logistical challenges. However, states are now able to request a specific number of vaccine doses instead of having doses distributed to them based on their population. Delayed reporting, everyday wastage, and waning demand, including those who did not go back for second doses, are among the sources for a pile up of inventory. The FDA previously extended the shelf-life of the Pfizer-BioNTech and J&J-Janssen vaccines, and some hope an additional extension for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be approved. Meanwhile, the federal stockpile of vaccine doses continues to grow, with approximately 390 million of the 1.41 billion doses purchased by the US having been delivered, and another 562 million doses from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and J&J-Janssen expected to be delivered by the end of 2021. The White House has pledged to donate 80 million doses of its vaccine supply, and will purchase an additional 500 million doses for low- and lower-middle-income countries. But some experts note the doses currently sitting in states are ready to be administered, not waiting to be manufactured, and those doses could have a positive impact in other countries if states were permitted to redistribute them.
FROM THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE:
(J. Harris: An interview with audio which considers pertinent, current questions and answers from a Texas expert who is a real pro. This is worth the read.)
“…The problem is, it’s twice as transmissible as the original lineage. This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s not quite as transmissible as something like measles, but it’s getting up there in terms of its reproductive number….Maybe a third immunization is not such a bad idea. Because that third immunization for the mRNA vaccines, or a second for Johnson & Johnson, will really jack up your virus-neutralizing antibodies. And in the arms race between antibody and virus, enough antibodies will be put into your mucous membranes that they will potentially cause shedding to stop…What do we know about what’s going on with delta and kids? Does it affect them differently than the original?…I get asked that a lot. I don’t think delta is specifically targeting children, and I don’t think children are more predisposed to delta than any other unvaccinated population. I think what’s happening is, delta is so aggressive that everyone’s getting infected and kids are getting swept up along in that.
OPINION PIECE FROM MNM:
AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:
The following card was sent to me by a Baptist Decon’s wife, so I feel like it is OK to send it out. (Well, she did grow up a Catholic.)
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