1. The F.D.A. authorizes the first Covid-19 breath test

”…The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to the first Covid-19 test that can detect the coronavirus in a breath sample, within a few minutes and with a high degree of accuracy, the agency said Thursday….The InspectIR Covid-19 Breathalyzer, which is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, can produce results in less than three minutes and can be used in doctor’s offices, hospitals and mobile testing sites by trained operators. A single machine can analyze about 160 samples per day….The device was tested in a study made up of 2,409 individuals both with and without symptoms of the virus. 

…If a test comes back positive on the Breathalyzer, it should be confirmed with a molecular test, such as a P.C.R. lab test….

2. ‘Too smelly to sleep’: Thirteen days in a Shanghai isolation facility.

”…Ms. Cheng said she had once admired the government’s goal of keeping the virus out of China. It meant that for more than two years, she could live a normal life, even as cities and countries around the world had to lock down…Now, she’s not so sure…“This time I feel it is out of control and it’s not worth controlling the cases because it is not so dangerous or deadly,” she said, referring to the highly contagious Omicron variant. “It’s not worth sacrificing so many resources and our freedom.”


Locked Down in Shanghai

”…Over the past two years, Shanghai’s success in managing the pandemic was made possible by a resource-intensive hybrid approach: data-driven contact tracing combined with a human infrastructure of coordination work. Local neighborhood committees staffed with volunteer workers took care of people in their communities, especially the elderly. These mostly female workers feed, maintain, and analyze data in the back end of the health apps. It is this particular human-machine configuration that has enabled the Chinese to lead largely COVID-free lives….Shanghai expected this system to work again, even against Omicron….all changed in March. Shanghai’s hybrid approach of pairing data-driven tracking with bottom-up human care work was replaced with the sort of brute force that had been deployed in smaller cities. At this moment, Shanghai remains broadly locked down, though it has improved its ability to deliver food and essential goods to residents..But Beijing can’t win this battle entirely either. 

(J. Harris: Good luck in the boondocks.) 

How Do I Know If It’s Allergies or COVID-19?

(J. Harris: This is a nice, layman’s article that I found helpful, personally.)


New COVID-19 vaccine study challenges stereotypes of who is getting the shots

”…“Although ‘vaccine hesitancy’ dominates media coverage, in fact, language barriers, lack of regular health providers, absence of paid time off to get vaccinated and recover, and lack of trust in the health system all play a role in undermining vaccine coverage,” …Income, the team found, was also a strong predictor of vaccination coverage. A $10,000 increase in a ZIP code’s median household income was associated with higher vaccination and booster rates. From the lowest to the highest income levels, booster coverage increased from under 30 percent to over 60 percent….The upshot… is that There are going to be a lot of people in poorer, lower-education ZIP codes — regardless of racial composition — who are going to suffer in future COVID waves because of low vaccination and booster rates.”


1. The Pandemic Has Trapped Millions in Unending Grief (The Atlantic) The number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States has always been undercounted because such counts rely on often-inaccurate death certificates. But the total, as the CDC and other official sources suggest, will soon surpass 1 million. That number—the sum of a million individual tragedies—is almost too large to grasp. In just two years, COVID has become the third most common cause of death in the U.S., which means that it is also the third leading cause of grief in the U.S. Each American who has died of COVID has left an average of nine close relatives bereaved, creating a community of grievers larger than the population of all but 11 states. Deaths from COVID have been unexpected, untimely, particularly painful, and, in many cases, preventable.

2. Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Preventing Future Pandemics Act to Counter Zoonotic Disease Spread (Homeland Preparedness News) By supporting conservation in other nations, a bipartisan group of senators has proposed – through the Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2022 (S.4074) – that the risk of zoonotic disease transmission could be reduced for humans. As introduced, the bill would authorize the U.S. government to collaborate with other countries voluntarily to develop Global Health Security Zoonoses Plans. Such plans would act as outlines for tackling new zoonotic pathogens with pandemic potential, clamping down on them before spillover into human transmission could occur. Collaboration between the private sector and government and the strengthening of conservation practices would be at the core of the legislation’s efforts. In addition to dealing with zoonotic issues, the resulting plans would identify incentives and improve policies for biosecurity and hygienic standards in the wildlife trade and guarantee technical support for those involved in and affected by these decisions.


iCovid-19 Boosters — Where from Here?

”…People are now confused about what it means to be fully vaccinated. It is easy to understand how this could happen. Arguably, the most disappointing error surrounding the use of Covid-19 vaccines was the labeling of mild illnesses or asymptomatic infections after vaccination as “breakthroughs.” As is true for all mucosal vaccines, the goal is to protect against serious illness — to keep people out of the hospital, intensive care unit, and morgue. The term “breakthrough,” which implies failure, created unrealistic expectations and led to the adoption of a zero-tolerance strategy for this virus. If we are to move from pandemic to endemic, at some point we are going to have to accept that vaccination or natural infection or a combination of the two will not offer long-term protection against mild illness….It is now incumbent on the CDC to determine who most benefits from booster dosing and to educate the public about the limits of mucosal vaccines. Otherwise, a zero-tolerance strategy for mild or asymptomatic infection, which can be implemented only with frequent booster doses, will continue to mislead the public about what Covid-19 vaccines can and cannot do….)

(J. Harris: This editorial is readable and worth the short time it takes.)


Understanding of COVID-19 from infection–fatality ratio

Another important concept, the infection–fatality ratio (IFR), has been rarely mentioned. The IFR is crucial for risk perception, policy making for epidemic control, and estimation of COVID-19 burden. The IFR is calculated as COVID-19 deaths divided by the number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the denominator of which cannot be directly obtained and could be estimated with data from seroprevalence surveys….The authors explored the IFR variation from three dimensions including age, geography, and time, which all have important and specific public health implications…. For now, vaccination is the most important intervention to reduce resurgence and transmission of COVID-19 epidemics and lower the number of new fatalities… Other promising SARS-CoV-2 antivirals are extending pandemic control to pharmaceutical intervention. With more promising weapons to fight against COVID-19, whether IFR will continue to reduce after the prevaccination era needs to be answered by future studies. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, society has to be prepared for and adapt to the potential for living with SARS-CoV-2 in the coming years….”



     1. “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here” – Stephen Bishop

     2. “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

     3. “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb


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