Numbers on the 27th are no worse. Barely.
FROM TEXAS TRIBUNE
Omicron pushes Texas ICUs to the brink
A staffing crisis and the surge from the omicron variant have pushed the number of Texas ICU beds to a new record low. The shortage affects not just patients with the coronavirus, but every Texan seeking serious medical care.
”…The number of Texas intensive care unit beds available for adult patients is at an all-time low for the pandemic, with only 259 staffed beds open across the state as of Wednesday, as hospitals fight a historic staffing crisis and more unvaccinated people infected by the omicron variant pour into hospitals…That’s 11 fewer beds than the previous record set in September during the deadly surge of the delta variant of COVID-19…
In Dallas-Fort Worth area hospitals, most of the city’s major hospitals are all reporting ICU capacity levels over the 90% mark as of earlier this month. A little less than half of those patients have COVID-19… That proportion of COVID-19 patients in ICU matches last year’s peak in the number from last year…But while omicron is putting fewer patients into the ICU than in previous surges, there are also fewer ICU beds that are able to be staffed due to a nursing shortage, officials say — and the sheer number of omicron cases is pushing patient counts higher.
1. UPDATE: Here’s what to do if you lose your U.S. vaccination card.
2. A new poll asks: Why do some vaccinated people not get boosters?https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/01/27/world/omicron-covid-vaccine-tests/a-new-poll-asks-why-do-some-vaccinated-people-not-get-boosters
”…People 65 and older were most likely to report being boosted, the report found…The lag reflects a pervasive pandemic fatigue that emerged elsewhere in the Kaiser poll. More than three in four adults said they believed it was inevitable that most people in the United States will contract Covid. More people reported feeling worried about the impact of the Omicron variant on the economy and hospitals than on their personal health….The poll was based on a telephone survey of 1,536 adults conducted from Jan. 11 to 23. Its booster rates are higher than those reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the C.D.C.’s data, about half of fully vaccinated adults in the country have received a booster…The poll was based on a telephone survey of 1,536 adults conducted from Jan. 11 to 23. Its booster rates are higher than those reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the C.D.C.’s data, about half of fully vaccinated adults in the country have received a booster…”
1. Los Angeles braces for Super Bowl amid omicron surge
2. Next variant could be more transmissible than omicron, WHO says
”…”Omicron will not be the last variant that you will hear us talking about,” Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said Jan. 25. “The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible, because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating……What’s more important, however, is whether future variants will cause more or less disease severity, Dr. Van Kerkhove said, adding that global health officials do expect there to be more immune escape with future variants, which means vaccines may be less effective against them. She emphasized the importance of interventions, such as ramping up global vaccination coverage, to slow the current spread and prevent the emergence of new variants.”
HOPKINS SELECTIONS ON SAME SUBJECT AS “2” ABOVE:
While there is optimism among some public health experts that the rapid rise and fall of the Omicron surge in some regions could usher in an end to the pandemic, the WHO determined last week that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Other experts warn that as long as the threat of new variants exists, calls for reaching COVID-19 endemicity are misguided….COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US are down 7.7% this week over last, with a 7-day average of 19,640 new hospitalizations per day. The recent surge in current hospitalizations appears to have peaked around January 19, down 1.7% to an average of 142,194 for the week ending January 24. According to analysis from The New York Times, the overall downward trend in hospitalizations belies the reality in some regions, where the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to grow significantly.
(J. Harris: We’re still at the peak in Area G and nearby areas including LA and Dallas.)
FROM HOPKINS RE CDC REGARDING EFFICIECY OF VACCINES AGAINST OMICRON
”…[The study] was not able to directly assess the impact that vaccines had on disease severity markers or hospital stay lengths, but the authors posit that decreased admissions to the ICU and lower overall hospital stays during the Omicron surge can likely be attributed to higher vaccine coverage as well as higher levels of infection-acquired immunity. Supporting this hypothesis, high relative increases in hospital admittance were only observed in children 0- to 4-years-old who are currently not eligible for vaccination.
FROM HOPKINS ON MORE 4TH COVID VACCINATIONS IN OLD AND YOUNG:
ISRAEL Israel’s Ministry of Health on January 25 said its vaccine advisory panel has recommended making all adults eligible to receive a fourth dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. If the ministry approves the recommendation, it would be the first country in the world to make a fourth vaccine dose available to all adults. Israel already offers fourth doses to people aged 60 and older, healthcare workers, and people with compromised immune systems. About 600,000 Israelis have already received a fourth dose. Over the weekend, the health ministry shared preliminary data from its own researchers suggesting a fourth dose provides 3 to 5 times as much protection against severe disease in older adults when compared with those in the same age group who had received a booster dose at least 4 months prior. It is not clear when the ministry’s director-general will decide on the panel’s recommendation. Israel is in the midst of a surge in new COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.
COVID-19 and the Common Cold—Preexisting Coronavirus Antibodies May Hinder SARS-CoV-2 Immunity
”…Four seasonal coronaviruses—2 of which are betacoronaviruses, like SARS-CoV-2—cause about 30% of common colds. Instead of helping to fight off COVID-19, antibodies to these pathogens may interfere with the SARS-CoV-2 immune response, a recent study of health care workers suggests…Together, these data indicate that pre-existing betacoronavirus IgA and IgG correlate with a higher antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 following infection, but not vaccination,…According to McGargill, the finding that immunity to common cold coronaviruses is boosted early after SARS-CoV-2 infection indicates that memory B cells contribute to the initial immune response. What’s more, the researchers did not observe many IgM antibodies before IgG or IgA antibodies, which also suggests that the initial antibody response is derived from memory B cells rather than more adaptable naive B cells. All this indicates that part of the SARS-CoV-2 immune response is imprinted by past bouts of the common cold…”
What the Analysis Found
- Almost all participants had prior immunity to all 4 common cold coronaviruses but the antibody levels varied dramatically among them.
- Nearly every participant had IgG antibodies to all 4 seasonal viruses. IgM antibodies were the least prevalent.
- Preexisting seasonal betacoronavirus antibodies increased after SARS-CoV-2 infection, an immunological phenomenon known as “back-boosting.” In several participants, IgG antibodies against 1 of the seasonal betacoronaviruses increased within 5 days of infection. For more than 50% of the patients, IgA antibodies against both seasonal betacoronaviruses increased within 10 days.
- However, high levels of preexisting common cold antibodies were not associated with protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- In contrast, high levels of preexisting common cold antibodies were associated with higher antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2 after infection, which in turn were an indicator of greater disease severity. But few participants became severely ill, which limited the ability to examine whether the common cold antibody levels factored into severe COVID-19.
- Neither baseline seasonal antibody levels nor increased levels after vaccination correlated with postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels.
- In the animal model, prior immunization with common cold coronavirus proteins profoundly inhibited the mice from generating SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies.
- “Together, these data indicate that pre-existing betacoronavirus IgA and IgG correlate with a higher antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 following infection, but not vaccination,” the researchers wrote. “As increased SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after infection correlated with greater disease, these findings raise the possibility that pre-existing betacoronavirus IgG and IgA negatively impact the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, which results in greater duration of antigen and therefore more SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.”
- According to McGargill, the finding that immunity to common cold***** coronaviruses is boosted early after SARS-CoV-2 infection indicates that memory B cells contribute to the initial immune response. What’s more, the researchers did not observe many IgM antibodies before IgG or IgA antibodies, which also suggests that the initial antibody response is derived from memory B cells rather than more adaptable naive B cells. All this indicates that part of the SARS-CoV-2 immune response is imprinted by past bouts of the common cold.
- To McGargill and her team, the data collectively suggest that variations in levels of preexisting immunity to common cold coronaviruses are 1 factor that may affect outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Prior immunity to a related, yet distinct, [COLD] coronavirus could hinder immunity to a new coronavirus.
- TEARS, TEARS, AND TARES:
At a conservative conference last month in Phoenix, Ms. Palin told the crowd, “It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot.”
J. Harris: Could this ridiculous woman have been in NY to audition for “Saturday Night Live?” I wonder how much it would cost to ship a body from New York to Alaska?
II’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.
- Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow
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