FROM THE NYT recently: 

1. Chaos of War in Ukraine Could Fuel New Covid Surge, Doctors Say

(J. Harris: Covid is less important currently due to war and several cases of Polio in Ukraine)

2. COVID-19 mRNA vaccine safety during the first 6 months of roll-out in the USA

”…Reassuringly, the 6-month VAERS data suggest that although approximately one in 1000 vaccinated individuals might have an adverse event, most events are non-serious. No unusual patterns emerged in causes of death or serious adverse events among VAERS reports. Deaths predictably were most common in those older than 65 years, which includes those who were most at risk of death before vaccination;….the safety monitoring of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines stands out as the most comprehensive of any vaccine in US history. The use of these complementary monitoring systems has provided robust and reassuring data on the epidemiology of adverse events related to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that reinforce the importance of both continued surveillance and safety of COVID-19 immunisation and support continued confidence in vaccination.

3. Surge of Omicron infections prompts lockdowns in China.

”…Even as countries in the West are now loosening or abandoning mask mandates and other measures, Chinese officials are implementing some of their most stringent methods. That is in large part because China can’t afford to lift restrictions…The government has been concerned about comparatively lower rates of vaccination among China’s older adults. The country also has far fewer intensive care hospital beds compared to its population than most industrialized countries. In China’s vast rural areas, hospitals and medical facilities are often basic, and a major outbreak could quickly overwhelm hospitals…..and more..

4. China’s worst surge since 2020 (Today’s China summary)

”…China’s virus containment strategy is focused on moving quickly to lock down buildings or neighborhoods. In response to even a single case, officials may seal all the entrances to a store, an office building or even a convention center. Everyone inside must then stay there for up to several days as they are tested for the coronavirus and sent into isolation if their results are positive… But that testing program is starting to be overwhelmed….In recent days, many cases have been tied to the Omicron variant, and more than half of those infected have not had symptoms, according to data released by the government. But they are still infectious....Dr. Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease expert in Shanghai, has been one of the few prominent advocates of easing “Covid zero” precautions, but even he said in an online posting today that now was not the time…“It is very important for our country to continue to adopt the strategy of Covid zero in the society in the near future to suppress the fifth wave of the extremely fast-spreading Omicron epidemic to a completely controllable level,” he wrote. “But this does not mean that we will permanently adopt the strategy of citywide lockdown and full testing.”…”

(J.Harris: Now we’ll see whose UNVACCINATED do better — those from a “locked down area” VS a more “Covid casual” area like the American South. Vaccinations work very well in either society, especially if boostered.)


”…BA.2 has already begun to spread in the U.S., as well. It accounted for about 12 percent of newly diagnosed cases last week, according to the C.D.C. The variant may also be the reason that the amount of Covid virus detected in wastewater is rising in about one-third of American cities that track such data. Wastewater samples tend to be a leading indicator of case counts…Even if cases rise, as seems likely, there are good reasons not to panic. Vaccination tends to turn Covid into a mild illness, especially for people who have received a booster. For the unvaccinated and unboosted, BA.2 is another reason to get a shot….The bottom line: Covid isn’t going away, but vaccination and other treatments can keep future increases manageable. The biggest problem remains the millions of people who remain unvaccinated, many of them by choice. That’s the case in the U.S., in Hong Kong and across much of Europe, Africa and the rest of the world…Inducing more people to get shots — through persuasion or mandates — would probably save more lives than any other Covid policy.”


 Pfizer CEO says 2nd COVID-19 booster needed

From Hopkins:

1. China Battles Multiple COVID-19 Outbreaks, Driven by Stealth Omicron (NPR) Chinese authorities reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across dozens of mainland cities Monday as the fast-spreading variant commonly known as “stealth omicron” fuels China’s biggest outbreak in two years. The vast majority of the new cases were in far northeastern Jilin province with 895. Shenzhen reported 75 new cases as residents began the first of three rounds of mass testing. Officials on Sunday locked down the city, which has 17.5 million people and is a major tech and finance hub that neighbors Hong Kong. The surge on the Chinese mainland is infecting people in cities ranging from Shenzhen to Qingdao on the coast, to Xingtai in the north and the numbers have crept steadily higher since early March. While the numbers are small relative to numbers reported in Europe or in the U.S., or even the city of Hong Kong, which had reported 32,000 cases Sunday, they are the highest since the first big outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan in early 2020.

2. NIH Launches Clinical Trial of Three mRNA HIV Vaccines (NIH) The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating three experimental HIV vaccines based on a messenger RNA (mRNA) platform—a technology used in several approved COVID-19 vaccines. NIAID is sponsoring the study, called HVTN 302, and the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is conducting the trial.


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