1. Fear of public shaming keeps masks on, and infections low, in Japan.

”…Japan’s Covid death rate, just one-twelfth of that in the United States, is the lowest among the world’s wealthiest nations. With the world’s third-largest economy and 11th-largest populace, Japan also tops global rankings in vaccination and has consistently had one of the globe’s lowest infection rates….

Although no government authority has ever mandated masks or vaccinations or instituted lockdowns or mass surveillance, Japan’s residents have largely evaded the worst ravages of the virus. Instead, in many ways, Japan let peer pressure do a lot of the work.

2. Updated Covid shots are coming, but will they be too late?

”…Vaccine updates are becoming more urgent by the day, many scientists said. The most evasive forms of Omicron yet, known as BA.4 and BA.5, appear to be driving a fresh surge of cases across much of the United States. The same subvariants have sent hospital admissions climbing in Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium and Israel…

Covid deaths in the United States, which had been hovering for months near their lowest levels of the pandemic, are rising again. In the worst case, epidemiologists have predicted some 200,000 Covid deaths in the United States within the next year….get that booster… And help mature their immune response and help prevent another wave…”


New COVID-19 subvariants cause concern in California…

In a sign of how the new coronavirus wave continues to spread across California, two-thirds of the state’s counties are now in the high COVID-19 community level, in which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal masking in indoor public spaces.


1. Association of BNT162b2 Vaccine Third Dose Receipt With Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection, COVID-19–Related Hospitalization, and Death Among Residents of Long-term Care Facilities, August to October 2021

”…The third dose of BNT162b2 vaccine was associated with a reduced burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19–related hospitalizations, and COVID-19–related deaths in long-term care facilities[in Israel]…”

2. Analysis of COVID-19–Related Croup and SARS-CoV-2 Variant Predominance in the US

”…Recent reports have found an association between SARS-CoV-2 and croup.1-3 We aimed to investigate whether SARS-CoV-2 variants were associated with the proportion of children with croup, as well as hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and racemic epinephrine (RE) treatment…The proportion of children with COVID-19–related croup was significantly increased during Omicron (10.9%) compared with Alpha or other variant (4.1%) and Delta…Given that COVID-19 is likely to become endemic, our findings suggest that pediatric health systems should consider variation in SARS-CoV-2 phenotypes and their association with patient care…”

(J. Harris: Yes, Covid can cause Croup in children)

3. Association Between BNT162b2 Vaccination and Long COVID After Infections Not Requiring Hospitalization in Health Care Workers

”…A [PREVIOUS] study of older US veterans showed 15% reduction of long COVID after vaccination; however, study limitations included the low number of women and suboptimal vaccination schedules…”

”…[ITALIAN STUDY]We defined long COVID as reporting at least 1 SARS-CoV-2–related symptom with a duration of more than 4 weeks. Hospitalized individuals were excluded to avoid bias related to severe disease, as were individuals with a date of infection less than 28 days before the survey. We included asymptomatic infections in the acute infection group (they could not have long COVID by definition) to avoid overestimating the prevalence of long COVID. The analysis was restricted to health care workers who were tested every 1 or 2 weeks with complete demographic data and a documented positive result for SARS-CoV-2 between March 2020 and March 2022...

”Of 2560 participants, 739 individuals (29%) had COVID-19 (89 asymptomatic), of whom 229 (31.0%; 95% CI, 27.7%-34.5%) had long COVID (Table 1). The prevalence of long COVID varied across the pandemic waves, from 48.1% (95% CI, 39.9%-56.2%) in wave 1 to 35.9% (95% CI, 30.5%-41.6%) in wave 2 to 16.5% (95% CI, 12.4%-21.4%) in wave 3. The number of vaccine doses was associated with lower long COVID prevalence: 41.8% (95% CI, 37.0%-46.7%) in unvaccinated patients, 30.0% (95% CI, 6.7%-65.2%) with 1 dose, 17.4% (95% CI, 7.8%-31.4%) with 2 doses, and 16.0% (95% CI, 11.8%-21.0%) with 3 doses. Older age, higher body mass index, allergies, and obstructive lung disease were associated with long COVID….In this longitudinal observational study conducted among health care workers with SARS-CoV-2 infections not requiring hospitalization, 2 or 3 doses of vaccine, compared with no vaccination, were associated with lower long COVID prevalence. Study limitations include that symptoms and duration were self-reported, and causality cannot be inferred….”

(J. Harris: Helpful study performed during the worst part of the pandemic — so far.)

4. Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 1 Year in Infants of Mothers Who Tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 During Pregnancy

”Question  Is COVID-19 exposure in utero associated with increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in the first year of life?

Findings  In this cohort study of 7772 infants delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, those born to the 222 mothers with a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test during pregnancy were more likely to receive a neurodevelopmental diagnosis in the first 12 months after delivery, even after accounting for preterm delivery.

Meaning  These preliminary findings suggest that COVID-19 exposure may be associated with neurodevelopmental changes and highlight the need for prospective investigation of outcomes in children exposed to COVID-19 in utero.

 5. Epidemiology of Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA Vaccination by Vaccine Product, Schedule, and Interdose Interval Among Adolescents and Adults in Ontario, Canada

”…This population-based cohort study of 297 individuals in Ontario, Canada, with myocarditis or pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination found higher rates of myocarditis or pericarditis associated with receipt of mRNA-1273 [MODERNA] compared with BNT162b2 [PFIZER] as a second dose, particularly among male individuals aged 18 to 24 years. Higher rates were also observed with shorter interdose intervals. 

From THE WASHINGTON POST: For the Veterans

Senators kill sweeping plan to reshape sprawling VA health-care system


1. COVID-19 hospitalizations can be predicted through Google searches


1. The Secrets of Covid ‘Brain Fog’ Are Starting to Lift (Wired) Many of these hard-to-define Covid-19 symptoms can persist over time—weeks, months, years. Now, new research in the journal Cell is shedding some light on the biological mechanisms of how Covid-19 affects the brain. Led by researchers Michelle Monje and Akiko Iwasaki, of Stanford and Yale Universities respectively, scientists determined that in mice with mild Covid-19 infections, the virus disrupted the normal activity of several brain cell populations and left behind signs of inflammation. They believe that these findings may help explain some of the cognitive disruption experienced by Covid-19 survivors and provide potential pathways for therapies.

2. Bad News for Paxlovid? Coronavirus Can Find Multiple Ways to Evade COVID-19 Drug (Science) Prescriptions for Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Paxlovid have skyrocketed in recent weeks. That’s good news for many COVID-19 patients, as the pill has been proven to reduce severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 infections. But a bevy of new lab studies shows the coronavirus can mutate in ways that make it less susceptible to the drug, by far the most widely used of the two oral antiviral drugs authorized to treat COVID-19 in the United States. Researchers have found some of those mutations in variants already circulating in infected people, raising fresh concerns that physicians could soon lose one of their best therapies for fighting COVID-19.

3. New York City Will Offer Paxlovid at Mobile Testing Sites, a First in the U.S. (New York Times) New York City is creating the first mobile testing units in the United States that will allow people who test positive for the coronavirus to immediately receive for free the antiviral treatment Paxlovid. Mayor Eric Adams announced the new program on Thursday in Manhattan with Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator.

Efficacy Of Pfizer’s Paxlovid COVID Drug Less According To New NIH-Funded Study

”…The drug—the most prescribed FDA-approved oral COVID medication in the United States—has seen its efficacy rate drop in half, according to the report. The findings may validate the concerns of some researchers that predict Paxlovid’s efficacy could decrease over time, given its reliance on antiviral mode-of-action…Adjusting for limitations arising from differential access and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatment, the study found the overall risk of hospitalization was 45% lower among patients prescribed Pfizer’s Paxlovid. While still significant, the efficacy rate provided in the NIH-funded study is appreciably lower than the 89% reduction in hospitalizations indicated in Paxlovid’s high-risk clinical trial, which took place during the Delta wave.

(J. Harris: 45% ”beats the hell out of a snowball.”)


Thank you, Tom Allin


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