”…Colorado on Thursday became the third state to announce a case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in a woman who had recently traveled to southern Africa…'(‘

J. Harris: She had been vaccinated and is not very sick. There has been another cases as well.)


The White House’s plan to combat winter COVID-19 surges: 8 things to know

(J.Harris: A quick read and helpful.)

Minnesota reports second U.S. omicron Covid case in a resident who traveled to New York City

”The man, who was fully vaccinated and has since recovered, [had] traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the department said in a statement.

(J. Harris: An ”Anime Convention” is an event or gathering with a primary focus on aspects of Japanese culture, and has nothing to do with biochemistry.

Omicron sounds nasty but delta is the real villain: Dr. Peter Hotez answers COVID variant questions (I have found Dr. Hoeta from Baylor Medical School to be reliable and well informed. )

”…The big issue is knowing if it’s a more severe disease — which it doesn’t yet appear to be — and whether it will go the way of the other variants…What is the level of transmissibility? Is it more than delta? Will it outcompete delta like delta outcompeted alpha? Will it have the ability to escape immunity from previous infection or vaccine immunity? Right now, it’s hard to say…..Delta is still pretty aggressive and may be around a while. We might have a twin epidemic with delta and omicron. In the past, we had the original, then alpha was dominant, then delta. This one might be a foot race between the two…One possibility I’ve been talking about based on characteristics: We might see each variant disproportionately affect different populations. Delta might continue to affect the entirely unvaccinated, while omicron might have a different advantage in escaping the antibodies. It could reinfect those who have been infected but are not yet vaccinated. Or disproportionately affect the partially vaccinated. I think the message, though, is no matter what, the course of action is the same. Get the maximum. If you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you got two doses, get the third. If you’ve been infected and recovered, but weren’t vaccinated, get vaccinated on top of that. Vaccinate your kids. If you don’t, you’re asking for trouble…Everybody is wringing their hands about omicron, but we have enough to worry about right now with delta. How you protect yourself and your family remains the same. Max out on vaccines….A: Best case is three immunizations of the existing vaccines halts omicron. Everybody with three immunizations will be good. Worst case is that doesn’t do it. Then you go to Plan B. The problem is that I’m not sure what Plan B is….I think if we’d done a better job vaccinating our country, we’d be in a better position. Right now, only half of Texans are vaccinated. There are parts of Texas that look as bad as Botswana in terms of vaccine protection, which is upsetting because the vaccine is readily available here.

Comparative Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines in U.S. Veterans

(J. Harris: Might be of interest for “mix and match” proponents.). 


”The 24-week risk of Covid-19 outcomes was low after vaccination with mRNA-1273[Merck] or BNT162b2[Pfizeer], although risks were lower with mRNA-1273 than with BNT162b2. This pattern was consistent across periods marked by alpha- and delta-variant predominance.”


”…In many countries, the availability of vaccines has marked a turning point in the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the vaccines are imperfect, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people remain quite rare, even with recently emerging variants…Comparing the two available messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines is particularly problematic. Both BNT162b2, produced by Pfizer–BioNTech, and mRNA-1273, from Moderna, were remarkably efficacious in phase 3 trials. …

”The study included persons who received two doses of vaccine and follow-up data during two different periods — one marked by predominance of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 (alpha) variant and a second during which the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant had largely replaced all other circulating viruses. Vaccines are thought to be less effective against the delta variant. Since the authors considered large numbers of people, they had considerable power to detect subtle differences in vaccine effectiveness…Both vaccines are highly effective. Although when we look at hundreds of thousands of recipients, mRNA-1273 is marginally more effective than BNT162b2, the death rate among vaccinated persons remains tiny, and the difference in the risk of death between the two vaccines was only approximately 0.2 per 10,000 vaccinees during the period marked by alpha-variant predominance. How the two vaccines compare with regard to side effects is difficult to assess without a head-to-head trial…”

‘…we do not know whether either regimen would be more effective with a different mRNA dose or dosing schedule, and it seems likely that each could be improved…

”Moreover, the study by Dickerman et al. gives us no idea how the vaccines will compare after an additional booster dose. So the lesson we take away is not about differences — it’s about similarities. We are lucky to have such good options. Vaccination with any vaccine is far better than remaining unprotected. The message is that the best vaccine is the one that’s available. 


1. NIH Demands Unpublished Data on Coronavirus Experiment, but Says Research is Not Linked to the Pandemic (Washington Post) The National Institutes of Health is taking a recipient of federal research dollars to task even as it seeks to quell the latest controversy over coronavirus experiments funded by the agency and conducted in Wuhan, China, before the pandemic. NIH has demanded that the research organization EcoHealth Alliance turn over any unpublished data from an experiment conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that showed that laboratory mice became unexpectedly sicker with one of the naturally circulating strains of bat coronavirus. According to NIH, this was a significant experimental finding, and EcoHealth did not promptly report it as required by the grant.



1. Paradox: Two Physicians

2. Control: A short, ugly inmate

3. Relief: What trees do in the spring


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