1. PRIOR INFECTION & IMMUNE PROTECTION “As we have discussed previously, protection conferred by vaccination has been demonstrated to be better than protection conferred via natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two recent studies, however, provide further analysis of the immune response during and following SARS-CoV-2 infection, including possible protection against re-infection. A study from Japan, published in the Journal of Medical Virology, analyzed the IgG and IgM responses against 2 SARS-CoV-2 proteins (N and S1) in 231 COVID-19 patients. The researchers found that mild cases exhibited stronger immune responses (IgM and IgG) against both proteins early after symptom onset than severe or critical cases. As the disease progressed, the IgM and IgG responses increased in severe and critical cases higher and more rapidly than for mild cases. Additionally, the immune responses remained elevated for longer periods of time in patients with severe or critical disease, while they declined more rapidly for patients with mild disease. ELISA analysis demonstrated that a significantly higher proportion of severe and critical patients remained seropositive at 22 days after symptom onset than for mild patients for the S1 protein but not the N protein. The researchers note that lower immune response among mild cases could potentially signal lower levels of neutralizing antibodies and a shorter period of conferred immune protection against re-infection. Further analysis is needed to better characterize the duration and strength of protection, including the role of the innate immune response and memory B and T cells, and any association with disease severity during the initial infection.”

(J. Harris: So get a vaccination and later boosters even if you have had Covid, in my opinion.)

2. SOUTHERN US BLACK COMMUNITIES Rural communities in the US South are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely due to disparities in social determinants of health such as employment and access to healthcare. In the region’s predominantly Black communities, the pandemic has exacerbated ongoing medical and financial inequities. In a photojournalism report, titled “Distanced: Pandemic stories of Black life in the rural South,” STAT News examines the challenges these communities face and how they have found strength in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency. Although the racial gap in COVID-19-related deaths seems to have shrunk in recent months, data can obscure the nuances in disparities; for example, Black people are less likely to live into older age, when COVID-19 is most lethal. Even when controlling for individual factors such as economic status, housing, education levels, preexisting health conditions, and occupation, researchers warn that structural racism contributes to demographic disparities in COVID-19 deaths, and the recent wave of cases due to the Delta variant have worsened these imbalances. 


Covid Is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of people in urban areas

”…Rural Americans are dying of Covid at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated…Roughly 41 percent of rural America was vaccinated as of Sept. 23, compared with about 53 percent of urban America, [HARRISON COUNTY 33%]…the overload of Covid patients in hospitals has undermined a basic tenet of rural health care infrastructure: the ability to transfer patients out of rural hospitals to higher levels of specialty care at regional or urban health centers…Access to medical care has long bedeviled swaths of rural America — since 2005, 181 rural hospitals have closed. A 2020 KHN analysis found that more than half of U.S. counties, many of them largely rural, don’t have a hospital with intensive care unit beds….As travel nurse companies attract more nurses, the nurses left behind shouldering their work become more burned out — and eventually quit….”

Mask Mistakes You’re Making Now

(J. Harris: A slide show from Webb MD)

Twiter to Ban Vaccine Misinformation

A Daily Pill to Treat Covid Could Be Just Months Away, Scientists Say

”…a short-term regimen of daily pills that can fight the virus early after diagnosis and conceivably prevent symptoms from developing after exposure…Antivirals are already essential treatments for other viral infections, including hepatitis C and HIV. One of the best known is Tamiflu, the widely prescribed pill that can shorten the duration of influenza and reduce the risk of hospitalization if given quickly…They work by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate in human cells….The top contender is a medication from Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics called molnupiravir, …Two others include a candidate from Pfizer, known as PF-07321332, and AT-527, an antiviral produced by Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals.In the case of molnupiravir, the enzyme that copies the viral genetic material is forced to make so many mistakes that the virus can’t reproduce. That, in turn, reduces the patient’s viral load, shortening infection time and preventing the kind of dangerous immune response that can cause serious illness or death…Like the monoclonal antibodies, antiviral pills would be no substitute for vaccination,”



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