CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/04/2021

HOW DO I GET COVID TESTED IN HARRISON COUNTY in DECEMBER 2021?

Jennifer Hancock

Testing is available at most primary care physician offices, urgent cares and pharmacies in our area. Testing is also available at a private company, MLife is located in Marshall and can be contacted via email covid19@mlifedx.com or phone 833-654-3339 or https://www.mlifedx.com/ which is their easy to use web site.

Texas has a web site that allows users to enter their zip code to find a testing site in the area:

 https://tdem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=1e91fb79fa44417898738e5bff31a3d8. Residents can also call 211 Texas to get information on testing as well. According to their website, 2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. Whether by phone or internet, the goal is to present accurate, well-organized and easy-to-find information from state and local health and human services programs. This is accomplished through the work of 25 Area Information Centers (AICs) across the state. 2-1-1 Texas is a free, anonymous social service hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905, and find information about resources in your local community. Whether you need help finding food or housing, childcare, crisis counseling or substance abuse treatment, one number is all you need to know.

It is my understanding that testing can’t be denied for the inability to pay, if you meet the testing criteria. Also, many of our area schools have testing available.

Each testing site, if not your primary care provider would be responsible for treatment and quarantine guidance. Over the counter test are available for purchase, but this does not come with medical advice.

At the Marshall-Harrison County Health District, we get phone calls about testing daily and try to direct people to the appropriate place. We also get calls daily from people that need to see a doctor about flu, strep, high blood pressure, COPD, diabetes, and other illnesses that don’t have a way to see a private doctor. We work hard to give them information on getting assistance through state programs as well as also federally qualified health care (FQHC) programs. Genesis Primecare is a FQHC and a great resource for those that do not have insurance.

Our office staff can be reached at 903-938-8338, we have a recorded message with updated services and hours and options to speak to our staff as well. Translation services are available in our office. More information about COVID 19 can be found at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ .

PICTURE OF OMICRON

J. Harris: I’d assume Omicron is coming or already here. Smith County numbers are up and in the NET area (we are not a member) the numbers have doubled in a week — but they are still low. Wear your masks. 

NORTHEAST TEXAS HEALTH ORGANIZATION

FROM HOPKINS FRIDAY:

1. Sending the Right Message About the Omicron Variant is Tricky (NPR) With the first case of omicron confirmed in California and more cases expected across the U.S., public health officials who know the difference between good and bad crisis communication say they can’t afford to be quiet and wait until scientists know how risky the new variant is before they speak out. “We don’t want to just be silent on the matter, because then that can cause fear and then that can allow for misinformation to creep in,” says Elya Franciscus, the epidemiology operations manager for COVID-19 in Harris County, Texas.

 2. Colleges With High Vaccination Rates Must Now Decide If They’ll Require Boosters (NPR) This week, Wesleyan University in Connecticut held its first booster vaccine clinic on campus. CJ Joseph, a first-year student still figuring out what to major in, wasted no time signing up. “I was like, ‘Heck, yes, I will be the first person to get it’ ” Joseph says, who was actually one of the first students to get the shot at Wednesday’s clinic at Beckman Hall. The convenience was a major selling point. “I have a lot of work to do,” Joseph explains. “Being able to walk like a good four minutes just to get my COVID vaccine made it so much easier for me and I didn’t have to spend money to get an Uber to go over to Walgreens or to CVS.”

FROM THE ATLANTIC (who carry great Covid articles)

1. We Know Almost Nothing About the Omicron Variant

By Katherine J. WU

”…three essential metrics: how quickly the variant spreads; if it’s capable of causing more serious disease; and whether it might be able to circumvent the immune protection left behind by past SARS-CoV-2 infections or COVID-19 vaccines, or evade immune-focused treatments such as monoclonal antibodies….What we don’t know, and what is really hard to predict, is what the combination of mutations will do together…. [Fortunately our] surveillance systems have worked exactly in the way they are designed to. It makes us know what to look out for. However, when these systems pick up a signal, we don’t immediately get the epidemiologic data we need to know all of the impacts a new variant can have. That takes time….It’s important to keep in mind that other variants of concern have emerged before, including immune-evasive variants like Beta, which was first identified in South Africa, but eventually petered out….So this was predictable. If the virus has the opportunity to spread unchecked in the population, then we’re giving it multiple ways in which to evolve and adapt…We have antivirals that are coming down the pike. We have a better understanding of how to manage and treat cases of people who do get infected. We have vaccines and incredible mRNA technology that allows us to adapt quickly to a changing virus, and we will have second-generation vaccines. It’s definitely not back to square one…

”…This variant could not have chosen a worse time to emerge. We’re in flu season. This is a time when respiratory viruses tend to spread quite efficiently. And we are in the holiday season, and there’s a lot of traveling, and a lot of people getting together with family. But it’s certainly not the time for people to let their guard down, or relax on nonpharmaceutical interventions. People have to be mindful of wearing their mask when they’re out in public, or in crowded areas with people whose vaccination status they may not know…

”…We are in a global pandemic, and we cannot address this fully if we only have regional solutions. The solutions really have to be with a global mindset. And that global mindset means that the resources we have—vaccination, testing, access to therapeutics, and also the support to carry out appropriate surveillance—need to be equally accessible and equitably distributed in all parts of the world…”

2. Omicron’s Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

By Rachel Gutman

”…Omicron’s effect on the course of the pandemic will be determined by three factors: its transmissibility; the degree to which it evades our existing immune defenses; and its virulence, or the severity of the disease that it causes….If Omicron ends up being super contagious, for example, but mild in its symptoms, that might even be a good thing—a perfect variant, just in time for Christmas….Even if every human on Earth gained a degree of immunity from vaccination or infection, the virus could retreat into its many animal hosts, only to reenter the human population in a slightly different form. “There’s no reasonable person, I think, in public health now who thinks that eradication or elimination or having zero COVID is a realistic goal,” says Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.”

”Doctors from South Africa and Israel have said that cases of Omicron seem to be less serious than Delta, so far. Zero severe cases or deaths have been reported among the nearly 60 confirmed cases in the European Union. But the data are very limited and prone to bias. Fewer than 250 cases have been reported worldwide, and the plurality of them are from South Africa, where a younger-than-average populace might be less susceptible to COVID complications in general….

”When two variants are circulating, the one that infects more people more quickly will tend to dominate…mild COVID cases may not lead the immune system to produce as many antibodies as do more serious illnesses…In the next few weeks, we’ll find out whether Omicron will have its own silver lining—or whether it’ll be catastrophically worse.”

3. The Coronavirus Could Get Worse

(J. Harris: This is an Aug, 24, 2021 written by Ms. WU. It is a long but readable article about virus, mutations, and such. )

FROM NYT:

1. SPAIN IS 80% VACCINATED AND WILL BE WATCHED FOR OMICRON PREVENTION

”…As much of Europe reels from a surge of infections, experts attribute Spain’s vaccine success, in part, to its widely trusted public health system, which spearheaded the effort. Politicians also played a big role, taking their doses with fanfare early on and avoiding politicized debate about the vaccine. Spaniards, for the most part, followed the health guidance of their leaders when it came to vaccines, masks and other precautions….”

(J. Harris: Now let’s watch and see what Omicron does there.)

2. Most Covid vaccines will work as boosters, a study suggests.

(J. Harris: Brief report regarding elegant but unreadable study reported in current LANCET.)

Viral Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Persons

”…we collected and analyzed a prospective, longitudinal set of 19,941 SARS-CoV-2 viral samples obtained from 173 participants as part of the occupational health program of the National Basketball Association between November 28, 2020, and August 11, 2021…

Breakthrough infections among vaccine recipients were characterized by a faster clearance time than that among unvaccinated participants, with a mean of 5.5 days (95% credible interval, 4.6 to 6.5) and 7.5 days (95% credible interval, 6.8 to 8.2), respectively. The shorter clearance time led to a shorter overall duration of infection among vaccine recipients …The participants in this study were predominantly healthy young men and thus were not representative of the general population. Symptoms were not systematically tracked, nor did we test for the presence of infectious virus.

LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/03/2021

FROM THE WASHINGTON POST “Third Case Omicron in US’

”…Colorado on Thursday became the third state to announce a case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in a woman who had recently traveled to southern Africa…'(‘

J. Harris: She had been vaccinated and is not very sick. There has been another cases as well.)

FROM BECKER:

The White House’s plan to combat winter COVID-19 surges: 8 things to know

(J.Harris: A quick read and helpful.)

Minnesota reports second U.S. omicron Covid case in a resident who traveled to New York City

”The man, who was fully vaccinated and has since recovered, [had] traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the department said in a statement.

(J. Harris: An ”Anime Convention” is an event or gathering with a primary focus on aspects of Japanese culture, and has nothing to do with biochemistry.

Omicron sounds nasty but delta is the real villain: Dr. Peter Hotez answers COVID variant questions (I have found Dr. Hoeta from Baylor Medical School to be reliable and well informed. )

”…The big issue is knowing if it’s a more severe disease — which it doesn’t yet appear to be — and whether it will go the way of the other variants…What is the level of transmissibility? Is it more than delta? Will it outcompete delta like delta outcompeted alpha? Will it have the ability to escape immunity from previous infection or vaccine immunity? Right now, it’s hard to say…..Delta is still pretty aggressive and may be around a while. We might have a twin epidemic with delta and omicron. In the past, we had the original, then alpha was dominant, then delta. This one might be a foot race between the two…One possibility I’ve been talking about based on characteristics: We might see each variant disproportionately affect different populations. Delta might continue to affect the entirely unvaccinated, while omicron might have a different advantage in escaping the antibodies. It could reinfect those who have been infected but are not yet vaccinated. Or disproportionately affect the partially vaccinated. I think the message, though, is no matter what, the course of action is the same. Get the maximum. If you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you got two doses, get the third. If you’ve been infected and recovered, but weren’t vaccinated, get vaccinated on top of that. Vaccinate your kids. If you don’t, you’re asking for trouble…Everybody is wringing their hands about omicron, but we have enough to worry about right now with delta. How you protect yourself and your family remains the same. Max out on vaccines….A: Best case is three immunizations of the existing vaccines halts omicron. Everybody with three immunizations will be good. Worst case is that doesn’t do it. Then you go to Plan B. The problem is that I’m not sure what Plan B is….I think if we’d done a better job vaccinating our country, we’d be in a better position. Right now, only half of Texans are vaccinated. There are parts of Texas that look as bad as Botswana in terms of vaccine protection, which is upsetting because the vaccine is readily available here.

Comparative Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines in U.S. Veterans

(J. Harris: Might be of interest for “mix and match” proponents.). 

CONCLUSIONS

”The 24-week risk of Covid-19 outcomes was low after vaccination with mRNA-1273[Merck] or BNT162b2[Pfizeer], although risks were lower with mRNA-1273 than with BNT162b2. This pattern was consistent across periods marked by alpha- and delta-variant predominance.”

EDITORIAL REGARDING THE ABOVE VA STUDY OF VACCINES

”…In many countries, the availability of vaccines has marked a turning point in the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the vaccines are imperfect, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people remain quite rare, even with recently emerging variants…Comparing the two available messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines is particularly problematic. Both BNT162b2, produced by Pfizer–BioNTech, and mRNA-1273, from Moderna, were remarkably efficacious in phase 3 trials. …

”The study included persons who received two doses of vaccine and follow-up data during two different periods — one marked by predominance of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 (alpha) variant and a second during which the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant had largely replaced all other circulating viruses. Vaccines are thought to be less effective against the delta variant. Since the authors considered large numbers of people, they had considerable power to detect subtle differences in vaccine effectiveness…Both vaccines are highly effective. Although when we look at hundreds of thousands of recipients, mRNA-1273 is marginally more effective than BNT162b2, the death rate among vaccinated persons remains tiny, and the difference in the risk of death between the two vaccines was only approximately 0.2 per 10,000 vaccinees during the period marked by alpha-variant predominance. How the two vaccines compare with regard to side effects is difficult to assess without a head-to-head trial…”

‘…we do not know whether either regimen would be more effective with a different mRNA dose or dosing schedule, and it seems likely that each could be improved…

”Moreover, the study by Dickerman et al. gives us no idea how the vaccines will compare after an additional booster dose. So the lesson we take away is not about differences — it’s about similarities. We are lucky to have such good options. Vaccination with any vaccine is far better than remaining unprotected. The message is that the best vaccine is the one that’s available. 

FROM HOPKINS:

1. NIH Demands Unpublished Data on Coronavirus Experiment, but Says Research is Not Linked to the Pandemic (Washington Post) The National Institutes of Health is taking a recipient of federal research dollars to task even as it seeks to quell the latest controversy over coronavirus experiments funded by the agency and conducted in Wuhan, China, before the pandemic. NIH has demanded that the research organization EcoHealth Alliance turn over any unpublished data from an experiment conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that showed that laboratory mice became unexpectedly sicker with one of the naturally circulating strains of bat coronavirus. According to NIH, this was a significant experimental finding, and EcoHealth did not promptly report it as required by the grant.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

Definitions:

1. Paradox: Two Physicians

2. Control: A short, ugly inmate

3. Relief: What trees do in the spring

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P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/02/2021

Covid Numbers Creeping Up in Area? 

FROM THE NYT:

Most new cases in South Africa are now the Omicron variant.

”…Nearly three-quarters of the 249 positive test samples that were checked genetically in South Africa in November were found to involve the Omicron variant, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases announced…New cases are rising sharply in South Africa, after having dropped to low levels in recent months. The institute said that there were 8,651 new cases reported on Wednesday, almost twice as many as the day before; as recently as early November, the country was averaging fewer than 300 new cases a day…”

(J. Harris: Awaiting more information regarding vaccination status of victims as well as the severity of their illness.)

An Israeli doctor with Omicron met dozens of people. Just one tested positive.

Biden’s winter Covid plan includes insurance reimbursement for at-home tests.

”…Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to preview the president’s strategy, said the administration would also distribute an additional 25 million at-home tests to community health centers and rural clinics to make them more available to those who are not covered by private insurers, including Medicaid recipients….Looking forward, experts envision a world where people will test themselves as soon as they exhibit symptoms — and then, if they are positive, quarantine and seek treatment with new antiviral medicines that are in the development pipeline…”

AN EXCELLENT DAILY WAY TO FOLLOW COVID IN LOCATIONS  OF INTEREST (NYTIMES)

(J. Harris: After almost 2 years of looking, I believe the best statistic to follow locally as well as worldwide is “cases/100,000 population” I tried to use a “per 10,000” cases value but only the Texas Tribune agreed with me. NYT subscribers can make their own chart and receive it daily from the NYT. Below is mine.I get it daily.)

An F.D.A. panel endorses Merck’s Covid pill for high-risk adults.

BUT: “In the coming weeks, the F.D.A. may also authorize a similar pill from Pfizer that appears to be significantly more effective than Merck’s. Together, the arrival of the two easy-to-use treatments could provide a cushion against a resurgent virus.”

(J. Harris: Early tests concluded that the Pfizer oral treatment capsule for Covid Infections is better. Tests and early treatment are vital.)

Federal health officials say that they are expanding the search for Omicron in the U.S.

”…Four international airports — in New York, Atlanta, Newark and San Francisco — would enhance screening in a search for possible Omicron cases. “This program allows for increased Covid testing for specific international arrivals, increasing our capacity to identify those with Covid-19 on arrival to the United States,”…C.D.C. was working with airlines to collect information on passengers that can be used for contact tracing if a case of Omicron is discovered. [The] C.D.C. plans to toughen testing and screening of international fliers to the United States by requiring them to provide a negative result from a test taken within 24 hours of departure….The United States had already made substantial progress this year in scaling up the number of virus samples examined for possible worrisome variants,…sequencing roughly 80,000 samples each week and one in seven positive P.C.R. test samples, a volume that suggests it might not be long before scientists find the virus.

More from1 Dec. NYT REGARDING REGENERON IV ANTIBODY INJECTION FOR ACUTE COVID TREATMENT:

”…Regeneron said that its Covid-19 antibody treatment might be less effective against Omicron, based on laboratory analyses and computer modeling….”It’s an indication that the company’s popular and widely beneficial monoclonal antibody drugs may need to be updated in case the new variant spreads aggressively….”Regeneron said it had already been testing future antibody drug candidates, and that preliminary analyses indicated that some of those “may have the potential to retain activity against the Omicron variant.” More data is expected in the coming month.”
FROM JAMA:Measles a Growing Global Threat as COVID-19 Disrupts Childhood VaccinationsFROM NYT: OMICRON IDENTIFIED IN THESE COUNTRIES:  ROM HOPKINS:1.A Reason for Optimism on Omicron: Our Immune Systems are Not Blank Slates (STAT News) The emergence of a new Covid-19 variant with a startlingly large constellation of mutations has countries around the world sounding alarms. While the concerns are understandable, experts in immunology say people need to remember a critical fact: Two years and 8 billion vaccine doses into the pandemic, many immune systems are no longer blank slates when it comes to SARS-CoV-2.2. What the Moderna-NIH COVID Vaccine Patent Fight Means for Research (Nature) Collaborators are locked in a high-stakes dispute over which researchers should be named as inventors on a key vaccine patent application. The stakes are high. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has projected that it will make up to US$18 billion on its COVID-19 vaccine this year. Inventor status could enable the NIH to collect royalties and to license the patent as it sees fit. We look at four key questions about the patent spat and its potential ripple effects on collaborations between government and industry.3. What the Moderna-NIH COVID Vaccine Patent Fight Means for Research (Nature) Collaborators are locked in a high-stakes dispute over which researchers should be named as inventors on a key vaccine patent application. The stakes are high. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has projected that it will make up to US$18 billion on its COVID-19 vaccine this year. Inventor status could enable the NIH to collect royalties and to license the patent as it sees fit. We look at four key questions about the patent spat and its potential ripple effects on collaborations between government and industry.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

Definitions:

1. Arbitrator: A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonald’s

2. Sudafed: Brought litigation against a government official.

What To Say When Someone Tells You To Lose Weight:

“I ate the last person who said that to me.”

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75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –12/01/2021

FROM THE LANCET:

COVID-19 vaccines in the age of the delta variant

”…In 2020, early signals of high vaccine efficacy against both symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection initially suggested that COVID-19 vaccines could be used to efficiently suppress viral transmission. However, with the emergence and rapid global spread of the delta variant, it now seems likely that vaccination will not provide complete protection against acquisition and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which will continue to circulate for the foreseeable future….Consequently, the goal of population-level vaccination has shifted to protecting both adults and children from developing severe disease, thereby preventing the excess mortality and stress on health-care systems that were observed in the early phases of the pandemic. ..”

(J. Harris: This free Lancet contains several interesting articles regarding Covid.

The upshot of most of the recent articles that I have seen indicate that we will need to continue with GOOD MASKS, GOOD VENTILATION, CLEAN HANDS, SPACING, AND CROWD AVOIDANCE WHILE ACQUIRING  ALL BOOSTERS AS RECOMMENDED. I TRY TO AVOID CONTACT WITH UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS OR PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL WIDELY. 

FROM BECKER:

1. CDC expands COVID booster recommendations amid omicron concerns

2. 19 countries reporting omicron cases (as of as of Nov. 30 at 5:45 a.m. ET.)

FROM HOPKINS:

‘…The most effective individual preventive measures continue to include being fully vaccinated, wearing a well-fitting mask, frequent handwashing, avoiding crowds, and isolating if symptomatic, diagnosed with COVID-19, or exposed to someone with COVID-19. On a population level, it is imperative, now more than ever, that wealthy nations provide the support and resources necessary to help vaccinate, diagnose, and treat people in low- and middle-income nations (LMICs)….

”Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and J&J-Janssen—as well as laboratories worldwide—are working to determine how well the current vaccine formulations hold up against Omicron. Data from these experiments are expected within the next 2 weeks. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna said they could have variant-specific booster doses ready to ship in about 3 months. It will likely take several weeks before we know if current vaccine formulations are effective against Omicron, but they are expected to continue to help reduce the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. As a result, primary vaccination and booster doses are recommended for every person who is eligible to receive one…

”To date, the companies that make the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have refused to share information and technology that would enable other companies to make generic versions. South Africa-based Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is working to replicate Moderna’s vaccine formula, but that process could take 3 years. Notably, the company could begin manufacturing a replica within a year if Moderna supplied the relevant information. Until a vaccine formula is hacked or shared, only a handful of countries will continue to manufacture vaccines—including China, several European nations, India, and the US—furthering supply chain bottlenecks…”

COVID NUMBERS FROM SURROUNDING COUNTIES BACK TO MARCH 2020:

(J. Harris: Our usual post holiday bump up should be here is a week or so. These cases are most likely to be Delta. Late Dec and early-mid Jan cases will be Delta and ? Omicron. Let’s hope that Omicron doesn’t get here and that it is not as virulent as feared.

A good friend and Houston area Internist who has helped me in the past feels that “I NEED TO STRESS THE VALUE OF WEARING MASKS. In his opinion, MASKS are the most important defense that people have, and are at least as important as Vaccinations. His opinion is based on many break-through cases that he has seen in his vaccinated patients who have become ill with Covid despite ”being careful.”

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

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75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/27/2021

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/27/2021

HELLO:MORE VARIANT ACUTE INFORMATION (OMICRON)

HARRISON COUNTY IS QUIET

 A Claim of Herd Immunity Reignites Debate Over U.K. Covid Policy

”’ ….Previous projections about herd immunity have proven wrong, Professor Spector said, and the assumptions about the preconditions for it keep getting revised. In 2020, scientists said a country could achieve herd immunity if roughly 60 percent of its population were immune. More recently, scientists have revised the estimate to 85 percent, or higher — and some argue that in the United States, at least, it may never be reached…..“We act like Europe is so much worse, but we’ve just accepted a high death toll and higher infection rates for longer,…”  

MORE OMICRON VARIANT INFORMATION FROM NYT BY CARL ZIMMER 

”…As the coronavirus replicates inside people, new mutations constantly arise. Most provide the virus with no new advantage. When worrisome mutations do emerge, the World Health Organization uses Greek letters to name the variants. The first “variant of concern,” Alpha, appeared in Britain in late 2020, soon followed by Beta in South Africa….Omicron first came to light in Botswana, where researchers at the Botswana Harvard H.I.V. Reference Laboratory in Gaborone sequenced the genes of coronaviruses from positive test samples. They found some samples sharing about 50 mutations not found in such a combination before. So far, six people have tested positive for Omicron in Botswana, according to an international database of variants…(Some earlier variants, such as Beta and Mu, had evolved a strong ability to evade immune defenses. But they never became a serious threat to the world because they proved to be poor at transmitting)…The researchers found more than 30 mutations on a protein, called spike, on the surface of the coronavirus. The spike protein is the chief target of antibodies that the immune system produces to fight a Covid-19 infection. So many mutations raised concerns that Omicron’s spike might be able to evade antibodies produced by either a previous infection or a vaccine….It turned out that spike-negative samples were surging across South Africa, suggesting that Omicron had a competitive advantage over Delta, which until now had been the dominant variant in the country….Theodora Hatziioannou, a virologist at Rockefeller University in New York, said that Omicron’s distinctive mutations raise the possibility that it first evolved inside the body of someone with H.I.V., whose immune systems may have been too weak to quickly fight it off. “Your responses are just not as good….Instead of getting cleared away in a matter of days, the virus may have lingered in that person for months, spending the time gaining the ability to evade antibodies. “This virus has seen a lot of antibodies,” Dr. Hatziioannou said….Still, vaccines are expected to provide some protection against Omicron because they stimulate not only antibodies but immune cells that can attack infected cells, Dr. Hatziioannou said. Mutations to the spike protein do not blunt that immune-cell response….And booster shots could potentially broaden the range of antibodies people make, enabling them to fight against new variants like Omicron. “We will see, because these studies are only now ongoing,…Even if Omicron does prove more transmissible than other variants,…vaccines would most likely remain vital weapons against it, both by slowing down its spread and making it more likely that people who do get sick only have mild Covid-19 instead of needing to go to the hospital.

(J. Harris: Medical Magazine and websites will lag behind good newspapers and NPR with new Covid information. TV can be helpful but not complete enough. For $1.00 per week for the first year, you can subscribe to the New York Times digital editions. The Washington Post, DMN, LA, and Houston papers are not as good for COVID NEWS in my opinion. You never have to look at editorial unless you wish. NPR is free with contributions optional and is excellent but not as complete as the NYT which is, in my opinion, the absolute very best current source for  Covid information) .

Merck says its antiviral pill is less effective in a final analysis. BY REBECCA ROBBINS

”….The pharmaceutical company Merck said on Friday that in a final analysis of a clinical trial, its antiviral pill [molnupiravir]reduced the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk Covid patients by 30 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 50 percent….“The reduction in hospitalization is a little bit less, but there is still a big mortality benefit if you start early

[OTHER TYPES OF ACCOUTE COVID TREATMENT:]

Monoclonal antibody drugs, which are typically administered intravenously in the United States, have been found to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by at least 70 percent. Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which was found in a clinical trial to cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent, could become available within weeks. Fluvoxamine, a common and inexpensive antidepressant, appears to be about as effective as molnupiravir.

FIND VACCINE PROVIDERS: http://www.vaccines.gov75670      (or your zip code)

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iExposed Us 

P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/26/2021

HELLO,

FIND VACCINE PROVIDERS: http://www.vaccines.gov75670      (or your zip code)

NEW AFRICAN VARIANT

”…scientists are at work to study the new B.1.1.529 variant,…..In December last year, South Africa was the first nation to report the appearance of the Beta variant, which has now spread to nearly 70 countries. Scientists have been concerned that some clinical trials have shown that vaccines offer less protection against the Beta variant. Since then, the more virulent and aggressive Delta variant has spread all over the world…..In the past two days, scientists detected the variant after observing an increase in infections in South Africa’s economic hub surrounding Johannesburg. So far only a few dozen cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana…..This variant did surprise us — it has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected….

What scientists know about the new variant, B.1.1.529.

”…..Scientists are still unclear on how effective vaccines will be against the new variant flagged by a team in South Africa, which displays mutations that might resist neutralization. Only several dozen cases have been fully identified so far in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel……B.1.1.529, has a “very unusual constellation of mutations,” with more than 30 in the spike protein alone,….. the protein that helps to create an entry point for the coronavirus to infect human cells — the new variant has 10 mutations. In comparison, the Beta variant has three and the Delta variant two…..The new variant has largely been detected among young people, the cohort that also has the lowest vaccination rate in South Africa…..While cases of the variant are mainly concentrated in the country’s economic hub, particularly in the country’s administrative capital, Pretoria, it is “only a matter of time” before the virus spreads across the country as schools close and families prepare to travel for the holiday season,….

THE COVID FABLE

More Covid Mysteries (July 2021)

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P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/24/2021

I’m sorry for the holiday intrusion. However, this information from today’s NYT is worth the effort. Have a nice holiday. J. Harris

UPDATE AND GUIDE FOR COVID TESTS NOV.2021 KEEP

From NEW YORK TIMES

BY David Leonhardt

‘’The Covid tests that you take in a doctor’s office or testing center are usually PCR tests, [ANTIBODY] which are designed to identify whether you have any amount of the Covid virus. They can sometimes come back positive even if you had the virus weeks earlier and have not been infectious for a long time…

‘The rapid tests — also known as antigen tests — are designed to tell whether you are infectious. That’s why they are such a powerful public-health tool. They can prevent somebody with the virus from spreading it to others.

‘’The most widely available antigen test seems to be BinaxNOW, from Abbott. You should also feel comfortable using QuickVue, Ellume and Flowflex, among others. If you search for one of these tests online and a website points you to a different brand, do some research. Others can be very expensive…

‘’Both CVS and Walgreens have search engines that let you find tests for sale near you. I recommend calling the store to confirm it still has them in stock — and then immediately going to buy it. A store may limit you to buying one test pack at a time.

‘’ Take one [Antigen test] at the start of every day when you planned to spend time with people outside your household.

‘’… in Britain, pharmacies offer free packs of seven tests that people can take at home. In Germany, rapid tests are also widely available and mostly free. In this country, the situation is different, largely because the F.D.A. has been slow to approve the tests.

‘’ …[In the US] They typically cost about $25 for a pack of two. The combination of their cost and irregular availability means that Americans interested in rapid tests often must make choices about when to use them.

‘’… “It is critically important that you carefully read any instructions for the type of test you are taking, and follow them to the letter…

”You will usually get a result within 15 minutes. Keep in mind that both false negatives and false positives are possible. Antigen tests typically identify 98 percent of infectious cases…

”If you get a positive result, take it seriously, and quarantine yourself until you know more. Ideally, you would try to confirm the result with a PCR test [Antibody] or a second rapid test — from a different brand… If the second is negative and you are vaccinated, you can probably trust the negative.

‘’Because most Americans have limited access to rapid tests, they need to triage their use. The two most important times to take a test are either after you may have been exposed to the virus or before you are spending time with medically vulnerable people, like those in their 70s or older.

‘’,,, prioritizing two groups for rapid testing: people who are not fully vaccinated, like children; and those who have spent more time in settings where they might have been exposed.

‘’By Christmas and New Year, tests should be easier to find than they are this week.’’

J. Harris: For a variety of reasons, the US has not emphasized testing as much as have other countries. Maybe we are too large and too scattered to be organized easily. At any rate, the new push (other than Vaccination) with be to make available and to use TESTS.

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iExposed Us 

P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/22/2021

East Texas is quiet at present (but not SHV/Bossier). Cold weather, holidays, and crowds, unfortunately, will likely unleash more infections, which will largely be Delta Variant which is easier to catch but a little less likely to kill than the original virus. 

(THANK YOU, NEW YORK TIMES)

FROM HOPKINS CITATIONS:

1. Aspirin In Patients Admitted To Hospital With Covid-19 (Recovery): A Randomised, Controlled, Open-Label, Platform Trial (The Lancet) Aspirin has been proposed as a treatment for COVID-19 on the basis of its anti-thrombotic properties. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of aspirin in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. In this randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial, several possible treatments were compared with usual care in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. The trial took place at 177 hospitals in the UK, two hospitals in Indonesia, and two hospitals in Nepal. Eligible and consenting adults were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to either usual standard of care plus 150 mg aspirin once per day until discharge or usual standard of care alone using web-based simple (unstratified) randomisation with allocation concealment. The primary outcome was 28 day mortality. All analyses were done by intention to treat. The trial is registered with ISRCTN (50189673) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04381936).

2. Astrazeneca Supplies 2 Billion Doses of Covid-19 Vaccine Within One Year Of First Approval (Homeland Preparedness News) According to updates from AstraZeneca, the company and its partners managed to provide 2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to more than 170 countries within 11 months of its first approval and a little more than 18 months after AstraZeneca partnered with Oxford University on development. “Our vaccine has played a key role in tackling the biggest public health emergency of our lifetime: an estimated million lives saved, 50 million infections prevented, two billion doses delivered,” Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, said. “The numbers are remarkable, and I’d like to thank everyone who put their lives to one side to help in this incredible endeavour. While much of the world still has to be vaccinated, and there is still much more to do, today is a proud day and testament to what can be achieved when we all work together.”

3. Europe’s Covid Death Toll Could Rise By Hundreds Of Thousands (Nature) The COVID-19 pandemic could cost an extra 300,000 lives in Europe, according to a study of the number of people in 19 countries who have been neither infected nor vaccinated1. The study’s models also predict that the pandemic could lead to roughly one million hospitalizations in Europe, some of which would contribute to the projected death toll. But the authors of the analysis point out that their estimates are maximum numbers, which assume that all anti-infection restrictions are lifted and contacts between individuals have returned to their pre-pandemic levels. The analysis was posted as a preprint on the medRxiv server and has not yet been peer reviewed. The findings suggest that the pandemic’s impending toll could be quite severe in Europe, and probably elsewhere, says Henrik Salje, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, who was not involved with the study. But the figures should be interpreted with caution, he says, because the analysis assumes that everyone in the population will become exposed — “an extreme worst-case scenario.”

FINALLY: PICTURE OF JERRY JONES’ DOG?

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P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

75688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/19/2021

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/19/2021

N.F.L. Requires Masks and Increases Coronavirus Testing for Thanksgiving

(By Ken Belson)

The N.F.L. strengthened its Covid-19 protocols as the number of positive cases rises across the country and people make plans to convene for Thanksgiving, and recommended facilitating testing for families of players and other employees….Every person, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear masks inside team facilities between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, and all players, coaches and support staff also must be tested for the coronavirus on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1, after the Thanksgiving weekend.

HOPKINS CITED:

1. UNITED STATES

The US CDC reports 47.2 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 762,994 deaths. The current daily incidence average is approximately 85,944 new cases per day and appears to be increasing. Daily mortality appears to be holding relatively steady, with the US currently averaging 1,028 deaths per day.*

 2. US HEALTHCARE WORKER EXODUS Due to the protracted nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, many US healthcare workers are facing extreme burnout and leaving their posts in droves. About 18% of healthcare workers in the US have quit since the beginning of the pandemic and another 12% have been laid off. The stressors of the current emergency have nearly doubled the risk of burnout among physicians, with up to 75% reporting symptoms of exhaustion, depression, sleep disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Healthcare workers also are reporting higher rates of “moral injury,” prolonged moral trauma caused by factors including staffing shortages, a lack of equipment necessary to treat patients, decreasing wages, or feelings of helplessness. The exodus is increasing strain on already pressured healthcare systems as they struggle to fill vacancies and ensure patients’ needs are met. Some experts—worried about how to restore and reinvigorate an essential, yet exhausted, workforce—are calling on the federal government for help to address healthcare worker shortages and urging healthcare systems to implement better preventive measures, such as creating chief wellness officer positions to oversee employees’ needs. With so many healthcare workers leaving their jobs, steps must be taken to ensure continuity in patient care and to prevent an implosion of the nation’s healthcare system.

3. PFIZER ORAL ANTIVIRAL Pfizer submitted a request for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its candidate oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment PAXLOVID—a combination of a new antiviral, PF-07321332, and ritonavir—with the US FDA on November 16. The submission is based on an interim analysis from a Phase 2/3 clinical trial showing the treatment demonstrated an 89% risk reduction in COVID-19-related hospitalization or death among high-risk adults when administered within 3 days of symptom onset. If authorized, the medication could help people with COVID-19 recover at home instead of seeking treatment at a hospital, and therefore reduce the strain on the healthcare system. Another similar COVID-19 treatment could be authorized soon, with an FDA advisory committee set to consider an EUA application from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics for their candidate antiviral drug molnupiravir on November 30. The US government plans to purchase 10 million courses of Pfizer’s treatment at a cost of $5 billion, although the deal is not yet finalized. Both Pfizer and Merck have announced voluntary license agreements with the Medicines Patent Pool to allow sub-licensed generic medicine manufacturers to produce the antivirals for 95 countries, including all low- and lower-middle income countries. However, availability will remain a challenge, as Merck expects to supply around 3 million courses of its treatment before February 2022 and Pfizer expects to supply only about 300,000 courses prior to February. For context, an average of more than 500,000 cases are confirmed daily worldwide. 

FROM BECKER:

COVID-19 + flu coinfections? 7 things to know

Dissecting the early COVID-19 cases in Wuhan (From SCIENCE, —— SEE ATTACHED PDF AT END)

By Michael Worobey

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. Email: worobey@arizona.edu

”…there was a genuine preponderance of early COVID-19 cases associated with Huanan Market…Given the high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and the high rate of asymptomatic spread, many symptomatic cases would inevitably soon lack a direct link to the location of the pandemic’s origin. And some cases counted as “unlinked” may have been only one or two transmissions away,…the earliest known cases should not necessarily be expected to be the first infected or linked to Huanan Market: They probably postdated the outbreak’s index case by a considerable period (10) because only ~7% of SARS-CoV-2 infections lead to hospitalization (11); most fly under the radar….workers who were not necessarily directly associated with wildlife sales because the outbreak spread from human to human. The index case was most likely one of the ~93% who never required hospitalization and indeed could have been any of hundreds of workers who had even brief contact with infected live mammals….”

(J. Harris: I believe I am now satisfied as to the origin of the Pandemic)

Common raccoon dog (Not to be confused with Raccoon or Coon dog.)

The are Canids:  “Any of various widely distributed carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, which includes the foxes, wolves, dogs, jackals, and coyotes.”

(J. Harris: They look more like a coon than a coon does. I’d bet they would cook up real good?)

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

How to Sell American Coons:  Gut and skin them, but leave the tail on so that your potential customers at the Washateria will know it is not a Kitty Cat. Thirty years ago they would sell for about $10. Now ?

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iExposed Us 

P.O. Box 721

Scottsville Texas

72688

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS –11/18/2021

ELLO,

FROM THE NY TIMES (which costs new subscribers $1.00 / week for several months)

(J. Harris: Harrison County is not vaccine protected from the next Covid crisis, which could already be starting since total cases of Covid are increasing again in the US and cold weather is coming. We have been running a month or two behind Western Europe and they are again in trouble with Covid, apparently still the Delta strain. Fortunately, for Thanksgiving, Covid rates in E. T. are very LOW at present. )

The Ways Biden’s social policy bill will change health care.

(J. Harris: I hope you can open and read this article about potential health care changes. They will help Marshall if they pass. As a retired physician, I welcome additional federal health care and reorganization. If it passes, I might even try hearing aides.)

C.D.C. Investigates Flu Outbreak at University of Michigan

”…Since October, there have been 528 cases of the flu on the campus in Ann Arbor, a vast majority — 77 percent — occurring in students who have not been vaccinated against the flu. The spread of the disease has accelerated over the past several weeks, according to the university…

(J. Harris: Looks like this will be a bad flu winter. Don’t forget to get your flu shot. It does not react with the Covid vaccine.)

‘COVID positive from Vegas.’ Phish concerts leave a long trail of infections, fans say

(J. Harris: Also have a Facebook group following Halloween concerts in Vegas semi supper spreader even. What’s the limit on Pfish? )

FROM HOPKINS

1. Why Healthcare Workers Are Quitting In Droves (The Atlantic) The moment that broke Cassie Alexander came nine months into the pandemic. As an intensive-care-unit nurse of 14 years, Alexander had seen plenty of “Hellraiser stuff,” she told me. But when COVID-19 hit her Bay Area hospital, she witnessed “death on a scale I had never seen before.”

2. Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance: Recommendations from the Lancet Commission on Vaccine Refusal, Acceptance, and Demand in the USA (The Lancet) Exacerbating the direct impact of the virus, a low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will prolong the social and economic repercussions of the pandemic on families and communities, especially low-income and minority ethnic groups, into 2022, or even longer. The scale and challenges of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign are unprecedented. Therefore, through a series of recommendations, we present a coordinated, evidence-based education, communication, and behavioral intervention strategy that is likely to improve the success of COVID-19 vaccine 

 across the USA.

3. European Commission Authorizes Ronapreve Cocktail for Treating Non-hospitalized Adult, Adolescent COVID-19 Patients (Homeland Preparedness News) Ronapreve, a Roche and Regeneron-developed drug cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab, gained marketing authorization from the European Commission last week for treatment of COVID-19 cases before hospitalization among adults and adolescents at least 12 years old. Ronapreve can now be used in Europe to prevent cases of COVID-19. More specifically, to be used, patients must not require supplemental oxygen and must be at increased risk of progressing to severe COVID-19. Authorization followed a single day after positive opinions from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), based on positive data from two studies: a treatment of non-hospitalized patients and a prophylaxis study of those exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

FDA Plans to Authorize Pfizer Boosters for All Adults This Week (New York Times) The Food and Drug Administration is aiming to authorize booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for all adults as early as Thursday, a move that would expand the number of Americans eligible for additional shots by tens of millions, according to people familiar with the agency’s plans.

LAST BUT NOT LEASED:

“What is that?”

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P.O. Box 721

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72688