Officials watch and wonder as the hottest U.S. coronavirus hot spot swells to two dozen counties.

”…Health experts say that people in the hot spot, which includes cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton, should be increasing their precautions. “These are areas where C.D.C. recommends people should wear a mask in public indoor settings due to an increasing level of severe disease and the potential for significant health care strain,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the C.D.C. director, told reporters on Tuesday….No one is quite sure why a new wave of coronavirus cases, caused by the highly contagious Omicron subvariants BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, took hold first in central New York….it broke the pattern of past surges. “It didn’t make a lot of sense…Being in the middle of the state, we see the peaks halfway through, or at the end.”


1. Fauci: US ‘out of the pandemic phase’

”….”So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are. What we hope to do, I don’t believe — and I have spoken about this widely — we’re not going to eradicate this virus. If we can keep that level very low, and intermittently vaccinate people — and I don’t know how often that would have to be…”

2. Cedars-Sinai physicians using VR to treat chronic pain

”…A Cedars-Sinai physician in Los Angeles is running a virtual reality initiative and is discovering how the new technology can be useful to those dealing with chronic pain, The New York Times reported April 26…Virtual reality is becoming a tool to treat chronic pain, an issue that affects around 50 million Americans. In November 2021, the FDA gave approval for one VR product to be marketed as a treatment for chronic pain.  


The COVID-19 Pandemic Rages on for People Who Are Immunocompromised

”…To help protect people with compromised immune systems, the US Food and Drug Administration in December authorized a combination of 2 anti–SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies, tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld), for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). But some candidates for the treatment, as well as some of their physicians, still don’t know who should get it….“In general, my recommendation is for all transplant patients to get antibody testing” after vaccination against COVID-19…”


Guide to the pandemic Track confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. and the spread around the world. U.S. vaccine distribution and delivery, tracked by state. Guides: Booster shots | Vaccines | Variants | Masks

(J. Harris: Scroll down and click on the site)


Measles cases jump 79% in 2022 after COVID hit vaccination campaigns Measles cases jumped by 79% in the first two months of this year compared to 2021, after COVID-19 and lockdowns disrupted child vaccination campaigns around the world, according to data from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).


NEWS FEATURE 26 April 2022 COVID is spreading in deer. What does that mean for the pandemic?

”…It’s not yet clear whether the virus can spread in long chains of infection among deer, or whether deer-to-human transmission could spark outbreaks. But researchers are growing increasingly concerned about the animals becoming a viral reservoir, serving as a recalcitrant source of outbreaks and potentially breeding new variants. Some researchers think that the highly infectious Omicron variant spent time in an animal reservoir before popping up in people…..Researchers have been concerned about wildlife infections since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but tracking the movements of such a promiscuous virus is tricky. To target surveillance efforts, they started by looking at ACE2, a host-cell protein that the virus typically uses to enter cells. Animals with an ACE2 receptor similar to that found in humans were considered at risk. Teams around the world then began experimentally infecting those animals to see whether they were susceptible and could pass the infection along. Among the prospects were cats, deer mice …and raccoon dogs … as well as white-tailed deer….other ungulates, such as cows, sheep and goats, are fairly resistant to infection, …..Another route might be contaminated waste water that trickles into the animals’ water sources. Although many studies have found viral RNA in sewage, they haven’t isolated infectious SARS-CoV-2. Also, it’s not just urban deer that are getting infected; some live in the middle of nowhere, say researchers….Deer-to-human transmission, if confirmed, would be concerning, as would reinfection among deer — something Kuchipudi might have observed. From sampling this past December and January, he identified a deer infected with Omicron that also had antibodies against Delta7. “If the animals are able to be reinfected, just like people, then the virus will not fade out; it will continue to circulate,” he says….”



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