CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 02/25/2021
(J. Harris: Of course, these were gone almost immediately, most likely.)
MORE SCHOOL/COVID CONSIDERATIONS CITED BY HOPKINS:
SCHOOL-BASED TRANSMISSION A study conducted by the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Health, published in JAMA, investigated the impact of student quarantine and testing protocols at K-12 schools in Alachua County, Florida. Data indicate that the COVID-19 incubation period in children is 6 to 7 days, shorter than the 4 to 5 days in adults. The county implemented 14-day self-quarantine for students exposed to known COVID-19 cases, and students were allowed to return to school early if they received a negative RT-PCR diagnostic test on Day 9 or later. The rationale for this program was that SARS-CoV-2 infection should be detectable by Day 9 and that students who tested negative could safely return to school the next day. Out of 799 students who received a negative test under this program, only 1 developed symptomatic disease after returning to school, and genomic data indicate that the student was actually infected through a different exposure than the one that prompted quarantine. The program to enable students to end their quarantine period early reduced the total number of missed school days by more than 30% without resulting in any additional transmission. This study provides evidence that schools can implement testing protocols to promote in-person learning while effectively mitigating transmission risk.
A study conducted by the US CDC COVID-19 Response Team and school and public health officials in Georgia, published in the CDC’s MMWR, found that half of school-associated cases initiated from teacher-to-teacher transmission and then spread from teachers to students. The researchers evaluated data from 24 days of in-person learning at elementary schools in a single school district, which included approximately 2,600 students and 700 staff. In total 9 clusters of cases were identified, involving 13 teachers, 32 students, and 18 additional instances of household transmission. Of the 31 school-associated cases, 15 were students who are believed to have been infected following transmission between teachers. Notably, all 9 of the school clusters “involved less than ideal physical distancing, and five involved inadequate mask use by students.” The “central” role of teachers in school-based transmission provides support for vaccinating teachers in order to mitigate transmission risk during in-person classes. Current US CDC guidance indicates that teachers need not be vaccinated before schools can reopen, but many teachers unions are calling for changes to existing guidance and policies that would prioritize teachers as essential workers in order to provide protection before resuming in-person learning.
“We see that under sustained risk of case migration from abroad, isolated cases were confirmed throughout Europe beginning in late January 2020 but did not immediately cause large outbreaks. Shortly after the first evidence of sustained within-region transmission in Italy, outbreaks in the rest of Europe also took hold. …we only observe sustained outbreaks in other European regions after the onset of sustained within-region transmission in Italy. Finally, before the first border closures in Europe, we estimate the risk of new cases arising from within-region transmission to be within or exceeding the estimated range for the risk of new migration cases.”
(J. Harris: I think they mean that by the time they closed European borders, Covid was already in their countries and spread there as rapidly as it would have had they left the borders open. Long and complex article.)
CURRENT BECKER CITATIONS:
1.Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is safe and prevented both hospitalizations and deaths in a large clinical trial, according to an FDA review. The vaccine was more than 85 percent effective at preventing severe illness and 66 percent effective at preventing moderate and severe disease four weeks after the shot. An external committee is set to meet Feb. 26 to recommend whether the FDA should grant the vaccine emergency authorization, reports The Washington Post.
2. A coronavirus variant found in California in December is more contagious than previously circulating forms of the virus, according to early research cited by The New York Times. The two cited studies have not been peer-reviewed, and researchers said they are unsure how this variant, known as B.1.427/B.1.429, compares to others circulating in the state in terms of their threat to public health.
J. Harris: My Norweigan housekeeper sent me a warning from a “Brand X” magazine that some recipients of vaccines had later noticed lymph node swelling, presumably under the same arm that received the vaccine. The nodes subsided in a few days. I mention it now so that she continues to keep the table full at meal time. I’m reluctant to “waist away.”
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